Collections Review – August 2016 Update

University Libraries – FY17 Collections Budget — August 2016 Update




Recent communications to Department/Program Chairs:


Key facts & assumptions:

  1. To meet our expected collection expenditures without cuts in FY17, the MU Libraries collections budget would need to be $7.2 million. Our expected revenue (or budget for collections) will be approximately $6 million.  To accommodate the shortfall, we will need to reduce our expenditures by 1.2 million or approximately 17% in FY17. 
  2. The collections deficit is a result of both increasing costs for existing materials and the 5% budget cut.
    • The total for the Libraries 5% budget cut is $877,000.00.  The Libraries will address 70% of that budget cut by further reducing our operational (i.e. staffing) expenditures.  The other 30%, approximately $250,000, will be cut from the collections budget. 
    • Most of the deficit represents the increased cost of books and journals over several years.  In other words, it costs more each year to purchase the same amount of material and we are no longer able to come up with ways to cover these increases even with one-time funding.
  3. The Libraries will continue offering efficient, cost-effective Interlibrary Loan services.
  4. When new sources of funding are identified, the Libraries will work with the campus community to re-build the collections.


Things to know about the budget:

  1. Approximately 80% of the collections budget is spent on continuing purchases (primarily journal subscriptions, but also databases and standing orders.)
  2. Approximately 20% of the collections budget is spent on one-time purchases (primarily books, print +  electronic)


Principles for Reducing Expenditures

  1. No disciplines or collections types can be exempt.
  2. Usage will be one factor, but not the only factor when considering cancellations.
  3. Access will be prioritized over ownership.
  4. ILL will remain an effective, efficient means of acquiring materials not held by the Libraries.
  5. Transparency will be a priority.


Do any other budgets impact access to collections for the MU Campus?

  1. The Libraries have received generous support from IT to help support collections.  Therefore IT budget cuts can impact the Libraries.  For FY17, the collections funding from IT will be lower by $38,898.00, or approximately 7%.
  2. The MU Libraries manage a shared four-campus collections budget of over $2 million.   We participate in an annual process to cut resources funded from this budget due to price increases. In many cases, individual campus libraries have had to begin paying for resources cut from this budget, creating additional pressure on the campus-level library budgets.
  3. Thank you to the following academic units for helping to support campus access to high quality materials in their fields by partnering with the Libraries to share costs or by providing gift funds to support purchases. 
  • College of Veterinary Medicine
  • College of Engineering
  • Law Library
  • Department of Mathematics
  • School of Journalism
  • School of Medicine


What has been done so far?

  1. In FY16, librarians at all four UM campuses have participated in a process to address the $100,000.00 MERLIN budget deficit for FY17 by not renewing subscriptions to the databases listed below. A flat budget combined with escalating database costs, makes this the latest in a series of electronic resource cuts dating back over 10 years and amounting to over $1,000,000. For MU to keep access to any of these we will have to make further reductions elsewhere. The Law Library will continue to provide Congressional for Law for the Law School.
  • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals – saved with one-time funding for one year while we assess how to fund a subscription.
  • BioOne (167 life sciences journals)
  • Ovid Users – reduce number of users by 10 to 23 concurrent users.
  • PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service) International
  • ATLA (American Theological Library Association) Religion Database – saved with one-time funding for one year while we assess how to fund a subscription.
  • Table of Contents
  • Gut (academic journal)
  • Proquest Congressional for Law – The Law Library will continue to provide this for the Law School.
  • Proquest Congressional – Basic Subscription


  1. In March – April 2016, the Libraries worked with the Campus Library Committee to share a list of lesser used titles in our Elsevier and Wiley journal packages to the campus community with a request for feedback on their value to research and teaching. Over 900 community members responded. Our Head of Collection Development will use the information gathered to negotiate new contracts with Elsevier (current spending is over 1 million) and Wiley (current spending is over $750,000) in Fall 2016. The negotiations are extremely important because the two publisher journal packages represent approximately 30% of our collections budget. Knowing the final numbers on the cost of these two packages could have a significant impact on the extent of other cuts that the library will need to make for FY17. We have compiled the feedback and done some initial analysis that will be of use in our contract negotiations. Thank you to all faculty, students, and staff who participated in the survey.
  2. In June – July 2016, the Libraries shared the titles lists of our Oxford, Sage, and Springer journal packages with the campus community. Over 600 members of our campus community reviewed the list, with 299 providing feedback, including over 300 comments on specific titles. As with the Elsevier/Wiley results, our Head of Collection Development will use this information to negotiate new contracts for accessing material from these publishers.


What is happening now:

Our Head of Collection Development has begun or will soon begin negotiation for new contracts for all of our major journal packages.

Our subject librarians have been working together and with faculty in their programs to determine how to make a 20% cut to the subject assigned budgets. These cuts may come from book purchasing or continuing subscriptions such as journals and databases. In some cases this is involving the need to gather significant usage data. If you have questions, please contact the subject librarian for your area.

The Collections Steering Committee approved a decision to end approval (automatic or blanket) book purchases, as well as demand driven book purchasing from the MERLIN Catalog. Book purchasing will continue on a more limited basis by subject librarians who can request the purchase of specific titles. If these modes of collecting are unfamiliar to you, please check in with your subject librarian to understand what this might mean for your program.

We are preparing a list of continuing subscriptions that will be canceled to be posted on this web site. This will be a continually updated list until we reach our budget reduction goal.


Why now?

Over the past decade, the Libraries have mitigated rising costs by:

  1. Working with campus administration to increase funding. We have had several small increases to address budget pressures, but we have also had to cut in other areas.
  2. Asking campus partners for one-time funding to meet the needs of a specific year. Most recently, the Department of Information Technology has generously provided one-time funding to assist with our current fiscal year shortfall.
  3. Gradually reducing or eliminating costs in areas such as staffing (including reductions in positions and the elimination of merit raises), operations, and one-time collection costs for materials such as books.
  4. Cutting subscriptions in consultation with specific departments, usually in exchange for adding another desired title.
  5. Last year we asked our students to vote on a library fee. Despite significant support, the fee did not pass.
  6. The Libraries’ collection budget was not spared the 2% give back that is required of all but a couple of campus units. The Libraries’ budget is not spared the 5% budget cut that all campus units are expected to accommodate in FY17.

Budgets have been tight at Mizzou for many years. With limited sources of new funding, the university administration is finding it harder than ever to provide the Libraries with increased funding or one-time support to meet critical needs.


Some things to remember:

  1. The Libraries will continue to dedicate staffing and resources to maintaining a robust and rapid Interlibrary Loan service.
  2. Your subject librarian is available for consultation on any questions you may have about library services or collections.
  3. Other institutions are facing similar challenges. See below for some additional information about collections challenges faced by academic libraries.
  4. Innovations in scholarly communications, such as open access, are being explored by faculty in some disciplines. It is too early in the process for these to remedy our immediate situation, but the Libraries encourage you to learn about these innovations at:
  5. The Libraries will continue to maintain faculty request lists. If funding improves, we will work with faculty to identify priorities for re-instating subscriptions.


What else can faculty do?

  1. We appreciate the work of the Campus Library Committee in articulating faculty concerns! 
  2. You can always ask your subject librarian questions about what is happening in the Libraries.
  3. Join the Friends of the Library or the Library Society.
  4. Include funds for library resources in grant applications.
  5. Consider costs of library support when developing new programs or positions.
  6. Coordinate development efforts.
  7. Become informed on Open Access and resist the commercialization of scholarly publication.
  8. See
  9. When you publish, negotiate to retain your author rights.  The Libraries encourage you to retain your copyright whenever you publish.


Selected readings:

Bergstrom, T. C, Courant, P. N, McAfee, R. P., Williams, M. A. (2014) Evaluating Big Deal Journal Bundles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Bosch, S. and Henderson, K. (2015) Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On: Periodicals Price Survey 2015. Library Journal.

Five Year Journal Price Increase History (2011-2015). EBSCO.

Harvard University says it can't afford journal publishers' prices.  The Guardian.  April 24, 2012.

Jurski, D. and Lamb, B. (2015) Study of Subscription Prices for Scholarly Society Journals: 2015 Update. Allen Press, Inc.

Larivière, V., Haustein, S., and Mongeon, P. (2015) The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era. PLoS One.

Tafuri, N. (2015) Prices of U.S. and Foreign Published Materials.