Health Sciences Library Collections Cuts

You probably have already heard about the cut to the MU Libraries Collections planned for the coming year. Here’s what we know as of now about what it will mean for the Health Sciences Library:

Our collections allocation will be reduced about $150,000 compared to last year – a 20% reduction.

Meeting this target will require us to:

  • Drastically reduce our book spending to only $21,000 in new purchases in FY2017, a reduction of almost $50,000 compared to last year.
  • Cancel $100,000 in Health Sciences Library journal subscriptions. These cuts will be made based on a combination of factors, including:
    • Usage and cost per use.
    • Journals with subscription prices which far outstrip normal inflation are getting special scrutiny. Some examples
    • To the extent possible, we will try to maintain subscriptions to the journals you publish in, cite, or have identified as core to your work.
  • This $100,000 cut must be taken from the $577,000 in subscriptions under the direct financial control of the health sciences library.
  • This is 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%.

This $150,000 cut to the Health Sciences Library collections budget is in addition to cuts that the University Libraries centrally-administered journal subscription packages from Elsevier, Wiley, Sage, Oxford and Springer. Any cuts to journals in those packages will be in addition to, not in the place of the $100,00 journal cut facing the Health Sciences Library.

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.

Please let us know if you have questions and concerns.