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Library-association statement sets out economic concerns

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The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has released a statement about the effects of the current global economic crisis on publishing and library subscriptions.

ARL's statement, which is aimed at scholarly publishers and vendors, describes the challenges to libraries of the global economic crisis. It says that downturns in state support for public institutions and substantial losses in endowment funds mean that many ARL member libraries are facing substantial reductions in both operating and materials budgets.

In addition to cuts already made, there is strong evidence that most ARL member libraries are preparing for further budget reductions in the 2009–2010 fiscal year, the statement says. And, unlike earlier recessions and inflationary cycles, few libraries are in a position to consider budget management strategies aimed at carrying collections budgets over a few lean years.

The statement calls for publishers and vendors to adopt flexible approaches to pricing and to avoid reducing content or access as libraries seek to renegotiate expenditures. ARL encourages publishers to consult widely with research libraries in developing responses to the current economic environment. It also encourages libraries and publishers to discuss ways that new publishing models might help to reduce the cost and vulnerability of established publications of high value.