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Library spending reductions

Spending reductions for collections

Most of the Libraries' collections budget is tied up in expensive journal packages called “big deals," in which a few journals receive heavy use but the institution is required to pay for a considerable amount of little-used content. These bundled subscription packages have also been subject to inflation significantly above the national Consumer Price Index (CPI), at about 7% as the average annual rate.

While the University of Maryland has realized considerable cost avoidance from consortial licensing with the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) and other partners, several of the Libraries' major licenses are for these types of "big deals." The State of Maryland’s fiscal situation has also caused flat collections budgets over the past several years and the financial impact of the pandemic resulted in a permanent budget reduction in Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 21), with the anticipation of other pandemic-related reductions to come.

For all of these reasons, the Libraries' spending power for collections declines year by year, even if actual budget cuts do not occur. This greatly restricts the information that the Libraries can provide to the University of Maryland community. Even the best-funded library can only acquire a tiny fraction of the knowledge that is available for students, faculty, and other researchers.

Fiscal Year Institutional Base Allocation Funding from Student Fees Gift Funds One-Time Funding Total Funding Spending Reductions to Stay within Budget
FY2015 $9,476,048 $1,716,500 $585,292 N/A $11,777,840 $0
FY2016 $9,476,048 $1,760,025 $160,554 N/A $11,396,627 $321,003
FY2017 $9,476,048 $1,716,500 $181,913 N/A $11,374,461 $230,417
FY2018 $9,476,048 $1,734,500 $170,460 N/A $11,381,008 $667,983
FY2019 $9,476,048 $1,723,668 $205,127 N/A $11,404,843 $190,727
FY2020 $9,476,048 $1,723,668 $126,006 N/A $11,325,722 $0

Resource cancellation update - FY21 and beyond

A majority of the Libraries' collection budget comes through the institutional base allocation (state allocation), with additional funds received through student tech fee allocations, gift funds, and departmental support. In Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21), the Libraries avoided a large-scale systemic cancellation of resources, by using the Libraries' reserves and other one-time funding to absorb reductions internally. In FY22, the Libraries will make every effort to avoid a large-scale cancellation of resources, even as we continue to promote changes to what is increasingly an unsustainable, inequitable scholarly communication ecosystem.

Planning ahead for the continued impact of journal-package inflation in FY22 and beyond, library subject specialists continue to evaluate current subscriptions and licensed resources to identify items for possible cancellation. Over 3,500 resources in all subject areas are under review, crossing all disciplinary areas and formats.

In alignment with our guiding principles, the Libraries’ collections will focus on directly supporting UMD’s teaching curriculum and research priorities. As future cancellations become necessary, subject librarians will work with academic departments to identify alternatives to offset the impact of canceled resources. 

Guiding principles

The Libraries prioritize resources that support the current and future priorities of the curriculum and research enterprise of the University of Maryland. Collections budget-reduction decisions will focus on access vs. ownership, "just in time" vs. "just in case" purchasing, and digital content when possible. Examples of actions to meet this goal include the following, which we will implement in combination as required to address specific budgetary needs:

  • Prioritize funding for Course Reserves and Interlibrary Loan (ILL) faculty requests in support of the University’s core educational and research mission.
  • Minimize duplication of content across formats and platforms as much as possible. This strategy reflects a concern for maximizing both the collections budget and the Libraries’ limited shelf space.
  • Prefer digital vs. print and other analog formats whenever possible
  • Fund new models of evidence-based collection development and demand-driven acquisition.
  • Support transformative publishing models that will help develop an economically sustainable system of scholarly communication.
  • Make budget decisions that leverage Open Access (OA) resources, including journals, monographs, datasets and other OA content, as well as OA resources such as preprint services.
  • Leverage consortia-based, cost-effective licenses for journal and e-book packages as much as possible and review all resources to ensure that they continue to serve the needs of UMD faculty and students.

Next steps

The Libraries will regularly update this page as we finalize cancellation decisions. Subject specialist librarians will notify academic units and faculty of decisions and work with them to identify alternatives. Please check back soon for more information.

Timeline for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 spending reductions

Coming soon.

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