KU Libraries Content Budget Update

The dramatic increase in the cost of obtaining scholarly resources, and the bundling of journal titles into “big deals,” has created a crisis for library resources. At the same time, our library base collections budget has not increased, and the cost of serials is reducing our ability to purchase other materials. The current system is unsustainable, and we want you to be aware of changes anticipated for the coming years.


KU Libraries’ base collections budget of approximately $7.4 million has not increased since 2009, while the cost of resources rises exponentially. The costs of licensed library materials increase annually due to inflation and changes in the periodicals market. While each year we have cancelled lower-use resources, we are now identifying more heavily used resources to cut. In 2017, the Springer journal package – which provided access to approximately 1,700 titles – was unbundled. Now, KU Libraries and University of Kansas Medical Center subscribe to only 50 Springer titles and must pay list price (higher cost) per title – for example, Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences alone costs $6,141 annually. In negotiations, individually and through consortia, publishers are unwilling to lower prices or modify annual increases despite steady annual profit margins. KU Libraries can no longer support these “big deal” options from major publishers.

For more information about shifts in this landscape, see The New Abnormal: Periodicals Price Survey 2021 in Library Journal.

KU and KU Libraries continue to lead in a number of open access initiatives that support free and unrestricted access to scholarship globally and to our own published work. Visit our frequently asked questions page to learn more about access alternatives, collaborative cost containment, and other collection management strategies the libraries are pursuing.

Though challenges lie ahead, KU Libraries are dedicated to serving the evolving needs of scholars, students, and instructors at the University of Kansas, and we appreciate your continued support.