Fracking the Ecosystem | Periodicals Price Survey 2016
" ... What does fracking have to do with scholarly publishing and journal pricing? While the library financial landscape has improved since the depth of the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009, it still cannot be considered robust. As articles such as this one chronicle annual serials price increases, libraries, publishers, and vendors search for innovative ways to fulfill information needs within the finite, predefined budget environment. New business and access models ranging from the initial e-journal big deal packages, article pay per view, open access, mega-journals, and publisher e-journal database pricing have evolved in response to the environment; libraries, publishers, and vendors have merged, consolidated, or disappeared along the way. Just as fracking keeps the oil and gas flowing, these strategies enable the current scholarly publishing ecosystem to extract the necessary resources—intellectual and financial—to survive ... The U.S. economy continues to expand, and the public sector is experiencing positive growth, but that growth is not yet sufficient to return to prerecession (2008) levels when adjusted for inflation. According to reports from the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), overall state spending has increased compared with 2008, rising from $687 billion to an expenditure of $759 billion in 2015. However, when inflation is calculated based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the 2015 expenditures fall 4% short of the $789 billion that would be needed just to keep up ... Slow growth in public funding is reflected in budgets for higher education and libraries. A 2015 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that 47 states still spend less per student in higher education than was spent in 2007–08 ... All players in the scholarly communications ecosystem, including publishers, libraries, and vendors, are going to have to develop creative ways to 'frack' the system to squeeze added value out of a stagnant resource base ..."