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 for large journal packages, research databases, and ebook collections 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.  CDL resources currently account for two-thirds of the library's base collections budget and over 90 percent of its current journal subscriptions.
    • Journal subscriptions can be surprisingly expensive.  Here are a few sample titles from the current subscriptions of the UCSB Library:
      Journal Title Annual Cost to UCSB Library
      British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies $713
      Cognitive Linguistics $852
      American Economic Review $955
      The American Journal of Psychiatry $976
      Chinese Studies in History $1,070
      Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology, and Oncology $1,291
      Journal of Neurophysiology $1,920
      International Materials Reviews $1,946
      Genes & Development $2,234
      Biological Chemistry $2,854
      Botanica Marina $2,494
      Materials Science and Technology $2,958
      International Mathematics Research Notices $4,096
      The Journal of Adhesion $4,610
      Modern Physics Letters $9,694
      International Journal of Modern Physics $16,415


  • 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.