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Health Sciences Library Budget Update: Data-Driven Approach to Inform 20% Journal Cut

This year, the campus is facing the task of reducing our journal costs by $1.2 million for FY2021, which amounts to a 20% reduction.  To stay within our budget, we will need to cancel our “big deals” with Elsevier, Wiley, Springer Nature, Oxford and Sage publishers.   

We are taking a data-driven approach to these painful cuts, focusing on maintaining access to as many as possible of the 800+ health sciences journals you viewed at least 100 times in 2019.  Journals which cost over $1500 will be subject to additional scrutiny.   

In order to maintain access to as many of the heavily used titles as possible, we will need to rely on pay-per-view and interlibrary loan access to articles in lieu of subscriptions for high cost and low use journals.  Delivery times will vary from 1 hour to a couple of days.

This process is further complicated by several factors:  

  • The sheer number of the titles owned by these publishers, many with impact factors in the top quartile for their discipline
  • Subscription cuts at the UM System level this year; our campus stands to lose access to about 900 journals unless we can make room for them in our budget
  • The lack of pricing transparency from some of these publishers 

These measures will continue to be necessary as long as runaway price increases continue.   These unsustainable price increases have been going on for years.You may recall that we lost 20% of our health sciences journal budget in 2017, which further hampers our ability to absorb this most recent round of cuts.   

Join us at an upcoming forum to learn about some steps you can take to bring prices under control.   



Taira Meadowcroft

Taira Meadowcroft is the Public Health and Community Engagement Librarian at the Health Sciences Library at the University of Missouri.