Health Sciences Library Collections Cuts

You probably have already heard about the cut to the MU Libraries Collections underway this year. Here’s how these cuts have affected the Health Sciences Library:

Our collections allocation for the Health Sciences Library was reduced about $150,000 compared to last year – a 20% reduction.

Meeting this target was achieved by:

These cuts were made based on a combination of factors, including:

  • Usage and cost per use.
  • An extra layer of scrutiny for journals with subscription price increases far higher than normal inflation Some examples
  • To the extent possible, we tried to maintain subscriptions to the journals you publish in, cite, or have identified as core to your work.

This cut was further complicated by the fact that about ¼ of that amount, over $150,000, is tied up in 4 of our most expensive and heavily used resources, all of which saw price increases in the past year between 6-16%.
In addition to these direct hits, Health Sciences Library users will also feel the impact of $588,000 in cuts to the University Libraries centrally-administered journal subscription packages from Elsevier, Wiley, Sage, and Springer in a variety of ways:

Delayed access

As a result of these cuts, instant article access will not be available for over $300,000 in health sciences journals from Wiley, Springer and Sage. While we will retain online access to back issues for the cancelled titles, articles from 2017 forward will need to be requested via Interlibrary loan. Most articles arrive within two business days.

Pay more, keep less

Instant access will be maintained to all of the Elsevier titles. However, in order to balance the budget, 90 titles are being converted from purchase to rental access. Seven of these titles are health sciences journals.

Despite the loss of permanent archival access to articles in these 90 journals from 2017 forward, the total cost of the Elsevier package is still over $1 million dollars a year, and will continue to increase by $50,000+ per year for each of the next 3 years under the terms of the new contract.

Alternate online access

Despite being removed from their respective packages, we will maintain complete online access to current issues for the following titles through alternate routes:

Clinical Rehabilitation (Sage)

The Neurohospitalist (Sage)

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics (Wiley)

We also rely on the 4-campus MERLIN library consortium to provide access to over $323,000 in subscriptions to online journals and databases in the health sciences. In the past year, the MERLIN consortium had to cut an additional $100,000 to balance their $2.5M budget in the face of price increases many times the amount of normal inflation.

  • These cuts affect many disciplines, including the health sciences.
  • Among this year’s consortial cancellations was the subscription to the journal Gut, a high impact gastroenterology journal, designated as one of the top 119 core clinical journals by the National Library of Medicine. We are making use of $1500 in one-time gift funds to maintain MU’s access to this title while we seek a more permanent funding solution to support the ongoing subscription costs.

These combined cuts are especially difficult for us in the Health Sciences realm, since prior to the 20% reduction:

  • Our collections spending lagged a half of a million dollars below our peer health sciences libraries, and was only about one half the amount our aspirational peer health sciences libraries have available to spend on their collections.
  • Almost half of the most requested journals on interlibrary loan for our entire campus are medical journals.
    • That amounted to over 200 different medical journals in 2015.
    • The estimated annual cost above & beyond our 2016 budget required to add subscriptions to those 200 journals: $250,000.
  • Gut is just the latest cancellation to the 4- campus MERLIN consortium budget, which has been flat for over 10 years.
    • Between 2007-2016, the MERLIN consortium cut over $1,000,000 to balance their budget in the face of unending subscription increases. In some cases these resources had to be purchased by the campus library, at a higher cost.
    • $142,000 of the 4-campus MERLIN cuts since 2007 were health sciences resources, most of which were shifted to our campus library budget. Since we have not been able to cancel enough to shift any of the following Nature Publishing Group titles to our campus budget, we have lost access to these journals from 2016 forward:
      • Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology
      • Nature Reviews Endocrinology
      • Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology
      • Nature Reviews Nephrology
      • Nature Reviews Neurology
      • Nature Reviews Rheumatology
      • Nature Reviews Urology

Please let us know if you have questions and concerns.