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Library Collections Forum

April 22, 2019 | Watson Library

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An invitation from the Dean of Libraries

Date: Monday, May 8, 2019

Library Collections Forum
Monday, April 22, 2-3 p.m.
Watson Library, Third Floor West

Dear colleagues,

Many of you are undoubtedly aware that KU Libraries have been involved in intense negotiations over the past year regarding our subscriptions to online journals. These “big deals” require us to subscribe to large packages of electronic journal titles. Although the price per journal is deeply discounted, the packages as a whole are increasingly expensive and force us to subscribe to content that we neither requested nor use.
 
In 2018, following a decade of flat collections budgets in the libraries, we decided to “unbundle” several of these big deals. Dramatic inflation of journal costs has simply pushed prices far beyond our ability to keep up. Most recently, we cancelled our big deals with the publishers Wiley and Oxford and decided to continue subscriptions to a much smaller list of titles. The lists of titles we have retained is now available online.
 
This year, we are negotiating with the largest of all scholarly journal publishers, Elsevier. These negotiations, of course, take place in the wake of the recent, high-profile decision by the University of California system to end its negotiations with Elsevier and to move forward without a subscription to the large packages Elsevier sells. At KU, we are still early in our negotiation process; our current contract ends December 31, 2019.
 
One important lesson learned by the University of California is that institutions have much greater leverage and flexibility in negotiations when the faculty is engaged and informed about options and outcomes. In light of this ongoing evaluation of our resources, I would like to invite interested faculty and graduate students to attend an open Library Collections Forum on April 22, 2-3 p.m. in Watson Library, Third Floor West. For those who are unable to join us in person, the event will be livestreamed. The University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) campus in Kansas City will hold a livestream forum in 1006 Wahl West Auditorium so that faculty, staff, and students on that campus can attend in person and participate with KUMC librarians.
 
During this forum, I will provide an update on where our negotiations and subscriptions currently stand, as well as a preview of anticipated next steps on our path forward. We will do our best to answer your questions and to provide any information about the process and the results we can at this time.
 
At this point, no decisions have been made about whether we would consider cancelling our package with Elsevier. We are eager to hear from as many faculty and graduate students as possible about your needs for research and teaching, your approach to open access, and your questions about our current negotiations.
 
Please join us for this important conversation on April 22.

Kevin L. Smith, Dean of Libraries


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