479, 18 March 2002
materials fund: resource allocation
Senate is invited to consider, and to approve, the proposed
model for the allocation of the Library's materials budget
set out below.
many years the University Library has used historical spending
patterns for the allocation of its materials budget to academic
departments. In addition, until relatively recently, these
budgetary allocations were not divulged to departments,
and the Library tended to be prescriptive in the way that
funds could be spent (e.g. x% to be spent on journals, y%
on books, etc.). Within a finite budget, this lack of flexibility
served to protect some established disciplines to the disadvantage
of other, new and emerging disciplines in the University.
The approach also failed to respond to the widely varying
'information delivery preferences' of the different subject
disciplines, particularly the shift of some subjects away
from University-owned printed sources towards remotely available,
online services, and document supply.
search for best value from library budgets has never been
more pressing. Library purchasing power has been in decline
globally for decades, due, in large part, to the dominance
of commercial publishers in the scholarly communication
model, and their consistently high price inflation over
many years (10-15% p.a., see appendix A). In the UK, this
decline is exacerbated by the long-term funding constraints,
which are now recognised as an established feature of higher
education. (In a list of comparative expenditure in descending
order of total expenditure - 219 North American and UK academic
libraries 1998-99 - the first UK research library (Cambridge)
appears at the 65th position, with Leeds at 101st).
The current funding position of Leeds University Library,
relative to its UK peers, is shown in appendix B.
Leeds therefore, the University is showing support for its
Library within what is probably an unsustainable model.
Cancellations and alternatives to holdings of low-use material
appear inevitable for many departments due to high inflation
and related decline in purchasing power. The new challenge
is to work towards a major review of the current model of
research dissemination to achieve a model which is considerably
less dependent on commercial publishers.
the interests of good service, and realistic financial management,
the Library is seeking to remove the secrecy surrounding
the allocation of the Library's materials budget, and to
ensure that the funds available are used most effectively
to support the Library's full range of user needs. For over
two years the Library has therefore been working in partnership
with academic departments to:
a way in which the old, historical model for allocation
of materials funds to departments can be replaced with
a transparent and rational model linked to appropriate
key drivers; (Resource Allocation Model).
a fundamental review of historical spending decisions
to arrive at core sets of library holdings most needed
to support University research and teaching, along with
access to a range of additional sources and services,
all within permitted departmental funding levels arrived
at through the RAM. The desirable balance between University
owned holdings (books & journals and the balance
of each of these), and licensed services, will vary
widely between subject disciplines (Periodicals Voting
the known constraints, the Library has welcomed the opportunity
to implement this new approach, and believes that staff
will be placed in a stronger position than previously to
advise departments in the most effective means of supporting
their scholarly activity by:
a better match between the research and teaching needs
of departments, and the journal holdings of the Library,
including new, and interdisciplinary, needs;
the journals spending for each department into line
with their allocation, as assigned under the new allocation
model (in the past, journals were notionally allocated
against departmental funds on the basis of where they
were classified in the Library);
money for new titles, or identifying titles for cancellation
rather than necessarily maintaining old subscriptions
because we always have.
March 2001, Senate discussed proposals for a new model for
Leeds, which drew on some elements of models used elsewhere
(Consortium of University Research Libraries). Senate endorsed
the use of the new model for 2001/2, subject to a fundamental
review of some of the principles involved.
March the Library has carried out a fundamental review of
the previous model, taking account of issues raised at Senate,
and based on a major round of consultation meetings with
the Library Advisory Board, HoDs and HoRCs and Departmental
Library Representatives. A separate focus group was also
established in order to test 'latest thinking' arising from
Proposed Methodology for Resource Allocation
Library's materials budget will be divided into three components:
a support budget;
allocation of a minimum necessary provision of £7k per department;
the balance of the budget after deducting 1 and 2 will be
the fund available for the resource allocation formula.
will continue to be a general budget, which will be used
to fund categories of material which are regarded as essential
for a research library of this standing, and which individual
departments should not be expected to fund. The consultation
process has identified the following broad categories as
being suitable for inclusion in the general top slice: newspapers,
official publications and reference material. A detailed
list of the items included will be posted on the Library
is proposed that a permanent contingency fund should be
established (in place of the mechanism of moderation at
work in the current year). This contingency will be allocated
to departments where, in the interests of simplicity, the
unique use of the Library by the department cannot be built
into the model, resulting in an unrealistic allocation.
A total of £200k (7% of the 2001/2 materials budget) will
be set aside for this purpose. This element of the support
budget will be recurrent, and the amount available will
be adjusted in line with inflationary increases.
The Library will issue the 2002/3 allocation to each department
by the end of April. During May Faculty Team Librarians
will meet with the department to discuss the implications
of the allocation and review the current journal commitment
(based on the PVE voting). Following these discussions,
if there is a need for additional funding, departments will
be invited to apply, to the Librarian, for an allocation
from the contingency. The Library Advisory Board (see Appendix
G) will take the final decision on the allocation of this
of national or regional significance
model currently in operation attempts to recognise the funding
requirements of such collections through implementation
of moderation following RAM allocation through the model.
Following consultation it was agreed that this issue would
be dealt with more transparently if removed from the workings
of the model entirely. It is therefore proposed that a support
budget of £60k (2% of the 2001/2 materials budget) should
be set aside to maintain such collections. The following
broad subject areas received funding for this in the current
year: East Asian Studies, History and Clinical Medicine.
will be invited to submit, to the Librarian, details of
collections which they consider to be of regional or national
importance, together with a bid for funding to support the
continuation of the collection. As with the Contingency
Fund, the Library Advisory Board will take the decision
on how this element is allocated.
Library Advisory Board will undertake an annual review of
the total support budget and the allocation into general
resources, contingency and collections.
Minimum Necessary Provision
the consultation process concerns were expressed regarding
the effect of applying a model driven by the size of a department
on the final allocation. In order to recognise the fact
that the formula does not account for the economies of scale,
an allocation of £7k will be made to every department to
cover a minimum necessary provision.
Resource Allocation Formula
general principle of the proposed formula is to recognise
the key cost drivers influencing expenditure. The formula
volume in terms of the FTE using the resource;
to recognise how those FTE use the Library;
price of the resources being used.
total FTE figure is used in each element of the calculation.
The FTE is the total of Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught,
Postgraduate Research, Research staff, and Academic staff
(including Teaching Fellows and Assistants) of the department/resource
FTE used are published by ASU, and are consistent with those
used in the University model.
of the Library
key areas of use are identified within the model: loans;
in-library use of printed materials; the use of electronic
are calculated on the basis of the past two years loan data,
contained on the user records within the Library management
system. Total loans per department/resource centre are extracted
and expressed as loans per FTE. This measure is then weighted
according to the average loans per FTE for the whole University
e.g. if a department has loans per FTE of 50 and the University
average of 25 the loan figure used in the formula is 2.
use is measured on the basis of physical access to the Library,
the Library management system records a count against each
user record every time the user enters through the gate.
Two years data has been used. Total access for the department
is expressed as access per FTE. This measure is then weighted
according to the average access per FTE for the whole University.
use is measured as the average number of times resources
are accessed per FTE. Once again this measure is expressed
in relation to the average for the total population.
the current calculations include two years of loan and access
data it is intended in future years to include three years
data to provide a 'dampening' effect.
average price of books and print journals will be the lower
of either the Leeds price (based on Leeds University spending
patterns) or the national price (based on the statistics
produced by the Library Information and Statistical Unit,
LISU, based at Loughborough University). Such an approach
is intended to encourage wise spending.
of the Fund Spent
of the terms contained within the formula are calculated
independently and is then applied separately to the amount
of the available fund spent on that particular resource.
E.g. the term measuring the in-library use associated with
print journals (Total FTE x in-library use x journal price)
is applied to the proportion of the available budget spent
on print journals in the previous year.
this approach may appear to entrench existing spending patterns
it is intended that the proportions would be reviewed annually
and the formula adjusted accordingly, based on the expenditure
pattern of the previous financial year. An annual review
is considered essential given that the shift from print
to electronic resources is gathering pace. The Library currently
spend 25% of the materials budget on books for loan, 10%
on books for in-library use, 37% on print journals and 28%
on electronic resources.
resource allocation model will be applied to the amount
budgeted for library materials for the relevant financial
year, after deduction of the amounts required to fund an
allocation for minimum necessary provision to each department
and a support budget (general resources, contingency fund
and collections of national and regional importance).
term in the formula (e.g. FTE x in-library use x journal
price) is calculated and the result is expressed as a percentage
in relation to the total population. This percentage is
then multiplied by the amount budgeted to be spent on journals
to give an allocation for this particular term. The process
is repeated for each term. The total departmental allocation
is the sum of the allocations for each of the four terms.
calculation of the four elements is not intended to reflect
the way in which a department is expected to spend the allocation;
virement between each type of resource will be permitted.
The proposed model shifts funding from the Arts, Medicine
and MPS faculties into the other faculties as compared to
the current allocations, although increases and decreases
in departmental allocations are prevalent within most faculties.
Given that the model now takes the behaviour patterns of
each department this is not surprising.
with their own libraries, such as Chemistry, Fine Art and
SPEME, tend to receive reduced funding under the model because
their loan and access figures are lower, probably due to
the activity taking place within the local library rather
than the University Library. The use of the 'lower price'
concept has also resulted in swings in allocation, especially
within the Sciences e.g. Chemistry, Physics and Biological
Sciences, due to the variation between the Leeds average
and national average price.
is proposed that resources of a departmental or faculty
specific interest currently funded by the support budget
(electronic databases, general faculty book funds and other
similar resources) should be charged back to those user
departments. The costs of these resources will be taken
from departmental allocations on a proportional basis. The
allocation of electronic database costs between faculties
will be proportional based on the range of materials in
the database. Resources specific to an individual department
will be charged back to that department.
Issues Raised During Consultation
Library has only been able to obtain data at subject level
from Birmingham and Sheffield, on condition it remains confidential.
The average spend per FTE in Leeds is 18% higher than Birmingham
and 24% higher than Sheffield. However there are exceptions
to this. Birmingham spends more per FTE on History, Psychology,
Geography and for SPEME.
Library has attempted to follow the basic principles of
the University model in terms of FTE data and consistent
treatment of research staff. It is proposed that the Library
model must be reviewed in line with any changes to the University
explained above, the Library is able to respond to interdisciplinary
need as a result of the Periodicals Voting Exercise, which
aligns need with cost. The exercise showed that over 20%
of journal titles purchased are of interest to more than
model of resource allocation set out above is a transparent
alternative to using the historical model of professional
judgement combined with 'he who shouts loudest'. The University
now faces a choice of retaining the historical model or
moving forward with a transparent managed approach.
Library does not claim to have a perfect model, indeed no
model is perfect. Throughout the consultation process a
continuing theme was the need for simplicity. The formula
cannot take into account the nuances of every discipline
whilst remaining simple, therefore a permanent contingency
to iron out the imperfections is key to a successful implementation.
The Library will review and report on all aspects of the
model, with particular attention to the effects on departments
requiring contingency funding, after the first year of operation.
Library is now working to a tight time-scale if the proposed
model is to be implemented for the academic year 2002/2003.
The model must be approved in the current committee cycle
if this deadline is to be achieved.