ARL Statement on the Global Economic
Crisis and its Effect on Publishing and
Library Subscriptions
Background
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 123
research libraries at comprehensive, research-extensive institutions in the US
and Canada that share similar research missions, aspirations, and
achievements. ARL member libraries make up a large portion of the academic
and research library marketplace. In 2007, ARL members reported a median
expenditure of $9,600,793 for library materials ($1,219,796,179 in total), a
median expenditure for serials of $6,587, 241 ($820,955,367 in total), and a
median expenditure of $4,661,123 for electronic resources ($536,033,744 total).
The International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) on January 19,
2009 released a public statement on the global economic crisis detailing the
situation for library consortia and recommending specific strategies for
publishers that do business with consortia. ARL believes it is helpful to
reinforce some of that statement’s key messages and offer some additional
observations and recommendations based on the particular perspectives of its
members.
ARL is making this statement in the belief that scholarly publishers are
identified by their commitment to promoting the broadest possible exchange
of new scholarship and research. Thus large or small, for-profit or not-for-
profit, scholarly publishers should benefit from the fullest possible
understanding of the situation of the library community as common
stakeholders in the process of scholarly publishing. While ARL can only
report on the experiences and situation of its membership, it is likely that their
concerns reflect those of a larger group of libraries in North America and
beyond.
Large libraries are far from exempt from the consequences of the current
global economic crisis. Downturns in state support for public institutions
along with substantial losses in endowment funds mean that very few ARL
member libraries are not facing substantial reductions in both operating and
materials budgets. This is not a prediction but an observation of current
realities. Many ARL member institutions have already had to return some
portion of their budget for the current fiscal year; double-digit budget returns
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FEBRUARY 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
ARL Statement to Scholarly Publishers on the Global Economic Crisis
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C O N T I N U E D
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