Alicia Marksberry
KU Libraries

KU Libraries to host Collection Forum for university researchers

Mon, 04/25/2022

LAWRENCE — KU Libraries will hold a virtual Collection Forum at 4 p.m. May 2 to discuss “Big Deal” journal packages, the upcoming renewal of the Elsevier package and issues related to scholarly communication. The Zoom session is open to KU faculty, staff and students, who are invited to register online.

“Big Deal” packages are offered to libraries based on a library’s previous expenditures on journals, and they usually include all of the rest of the publishers’ titles for a flat fee. These are obtained through multiyear contracts, with specific capped annual price increases – around 4% to 5%. Many academic libraries are choosing to break away from these packages due to rising costs.

According to Josh Bolick, head of the Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright, the most expensive and unsustainable bundle that KU Libraries currently supports is the Elsevier package. While librarians are working toward the best possible outcome, KU Libraries are also preparing against the possibility of a smaller subscription package. The potential loss of access to research materials is concerning. The forum aims to share information, answer questions and gather input from stakeholders on how to tackle the issue.

Bolick said that while the packages are predictable for budgeting, they are incredibly restrictive because libraries cannot reduce the number of titles in order to spend less. Without increases to the collections budget, KU Libraries will not be able to renew several of these contracts. KU Libraries appreciate awareness and input from staff and scholars on this issue and encourage participation in the forum in order to reach the best possible solution. 

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