Since early 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted activity across business, education, research, and communities. Public health safety precautions have forced drastic reductions in economic and educational activity, resulting in widespread economic uncertainty and sizeable budget cuts. With library budgets already declining since the 2001-2002 recession following the dotcom crash and more steeply since the 2007-2009 Great Recession spawned by the financial crash, the pandemic has accelerated trends that were already underway. Libraries’ reduced purchasing power places the information ecosystem at risk of contraction in the race to contain costs. While economic contexts and publishing forms have changed considerably. Purchasing and pricing models have in large part not kept pace with these rapid changes. Yet evolving technologies offer potential for new approaches for publishing, distribution, and purchase frameworks. This paper outlines current research on declining budgets’ constraints on business models and summarizes the interactive exchanges from the 2020 Charleston Conference Lively Session (https://2020charlestonconference.pathable.co/meetings/virtual/iynj57JqTdEgGSeis). The session kicked off with a summary of findings from ongoing research on business models. Pressure points include the evolution and broadening from publications to services to the broader research universe, rising costs in a context of economic constraints and declining budgets, pandemic safety measures and massive support for large-scale pivot to online instruction, complications with evolving Open Access models, and vendor mergers and acquisitions and investor pressures which impact the services they can provide. Updated pricing and purchasing models would benefit from moving away from print-based calculations toward the cost elements found in modern content production and dissemination. Session participants echoed these findings in the conference poll and the Lively Discussion, calling for new approaches to pricing and online platforms.
Mays, A. (2020). Business models for post-crisis information ecosystems. UKnowledge Library Presentations. Available at https://uknowledge.uky.edu/libraries_present/222/.
Mays, Antje, "Business Models for Post-Crisis Information Ecosystems" (2021). Library Faculty and Staff Publications. 325.