Periodicals Price Survey 2020: costs outstrip library budgets

(14 Apr 2020)  Library Journal released its annual periodical price survey. Here’s the introduction:

New approaches have emerged, but none offer a solution to serial costs continuing to rise higher than library budgets

“Follow the money,” a catchphrase used in politics and investigative journalism, suggests that understanding the way campaign cash flows sheds light on the way the political winds blow. Applied to the periodicals market, following the money reveals trends in the publishing industry, higher education, and library collection development.

Higher education continues to grapple with an uncertain future of flat or declining student enrollment and mounting financial pressures. Library budgets are for the most part flat or diminishing leaving libraries to yet again battle the terrible twins of cost inflation and revenue stagnation. Many libraries are cutting continuing expenditures by cancelling or breaking up journal packages and buying only those titles for which use or demand justifies the price. Others are aggressively renegotiating contracts with publishers to reduce ongoing costs.

Still others are turning to Open Access (OA) to freely distribute research outputs to all. But while it shifts the cost from readers’ institutions to researchers’, OA is not free. Of the multiple OA models that have taken root, none offer a solution for content costs that outpace library budget increases.

For the full report, see here.