Libraries play a crucial role in the scholarly communication research cycle by purchasing academic journals (and books) researched and written by scholars here at the University of New Mexico and around the world. As UNM scholars complete their work, they consult our library collections and use our research data services throughout the research process. In some cases, the library supports the dissemination of research by publishing open access journals or open education resources.
Academic publishing, however, is breaking down as a system. The publishers who distribute journals by soliciting research, managing peer review, laying out the articles (and books), and publishing them have increased their subscription prices 4 to 7% annually for the last 10 years while our budgets have basically remained stagnant. The data below demonstrate how our budget has fallen and indicates that our budget fares poorly in comparison to our peers. We have done our best to reduce the impact on our researchers, but we anticipate that the latest cuts will hurt somewhat this year and will hurt a lot more next year.
The pandemic and the drop in oil prices resulted in a $1,145,450 budget reduction for our college. We have taken the majority of the reductions from our salary lines, but will still need to cut an additional $214,295 from this year’s collection budget. With cuts made prior to the beginning of the fiscal year, we have had to deal with a combined total reduction to the collection budget of $592,726 for FY21.
University Libraries has carefully stewarded our collections as prices increased. Our strategies have included cancelling databases and journals and reducing our budget allocations to books. We have also entered into multi-year “big deal” arrangements with academic publishers that bundle all of their publications into one package. The big deals reduce inflationary costs and make the cost of each individual journal much cheaper and provide increased access to the number of journals. However, analysis shows that while the mean cost per journal has fallen, the value per journal as measured by citations has also fallen. Essentially, the libraries have subscribed to more journals of less value. Some academic publishers have been helpful this year by keeping inflationary costs to zero during the pandemic, but we will still need to make difficult decisions. See tab on left for more information about big deals.
We are committed to preserving our distinctive collections that feature New Mexico and the Southwest, Native America, and Latin America. However, the current budget cuts will necessitate cancelling many critical journals and databases and severely limiting the number of monographs we can add to our collections in other disciplines. In preparation for next year, we will likely have to unbundle or even cancel one or more of our big deals. We will analyze data and work with faculty across campus as we make decisions on what we can cancel. Please reach out to your subject librarian or directly to me, Mark Emmons, if you have any concerns or questions.
The UNM Libraries Collections budget has not kept pace with the inflation rates of journal and database subscriptions. We have therefore had to make yearly cancellations to all content areas: books, journals and databases.
Also, as a Research 1 institution, the UNM Libraries collection budget is significantly lower than most of our peers.
UNM Libraries Collection Budget over time.
Blue = actual; Gray = funding needed to retain all content provided in 2017
UNM Libraries collection budget compared to selected UNM Peer Institutions library collection budget in 2018.
Data Source: IPEDS