Like many other academic research libraries, the UCSB Library faces multiple challenges in the effort to build collections and provide access to information resources needed to support the diverse programs of research and teaching on our campus.
Prices for scholarly journals have been rising on average about 6 percent annually, and for academic books, about 4.5 percent annually–well above the rate of inflation in the general economy.
- The collections budgets of many research libraries have failed to keep up with the demands of the academic information marketplace. At UCSB, collections funding has remained flat for nearly a decade, deeply eroding the library's purchasing power because of the cumulative effects of inflation.
- UCSB's participation in California Digital Library (CDL)-licensed resources has provided significant value to our campus because of the favorable license terms that CDL is able to negotiate. UCSB pays a share of the cost of these resources, along with other UC campuses, and we must cover our share of the annual increases in these costs.
- Our flat budget, combined with these high inflationary increases in our fixed expenses -- local journal subscriptions and CDL serials and ebook packages -- means that funding for locally purchased books, already a very small portion of the budget, has dropped off sharply in recent years and will continue to do so.
Journal subscriptions can be surprisingly expensive. Here are a few sample titles from the current subscriptions of the UCSB Library:Journal TitleAnnual Cost to UCSB Library
British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies $713 Cognitive Linguistics $757 American Economic Review $922 The American Journal of Psychiatry $976 Chinese Studies in History $1,070 Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology, and Oncology $1,095 Journal of Neurophysiology $1,695 International Materials Reviews $1,946 Genes & Development $2,060 Biological Chemistry $2,466 Botanica Marina $2,219 Materials Science and Technology $2,958 International Mathematics Research Notices $4,096 The Journal of Adhesion $4,610 Modern Physics Letters $8,953 International Journal of Modern Physics $15,228
- We continue to see the effects of the scholarly communication crisis as journals move to the large commercial academic publishers and their price often doubles or triples.
- A further indication of consolidation in the academic information marketplace is that three of the largest publishers (Elsevier, Springer, and Wiley) now account for a third of the entire UCSB Library collections budget.
- The volume of scholarly publishing worldwide continues to increase rapidly, as academic publishers develop a proliferation of costly new journals and online research databases–resources often in demand by researchers.
- We have developed various management strategies to maximize the value of our limited collections budget. These include cancelling print journals that the library also subscribes to online and offsetting the cost of new journal subscriptions by cancelling others of equivalent value that are less needed. Although we continue to use these and other strategies, the benefits they yield will diminish over time as the effects of inflation compound and the budget becomes increasingly unsustainable. For more information see the Collection Budget Strategies page.