Reduction in Library Journals Subscriptions

To: UCSC Faculty

From: Ginny Steel, University Librarian

As we all know, the state budget crisis has had a dramatic effect on the campus budget, forcing difficult decisions about cuts to budgets and services campus-wide. Like all divisions on campus, the University Library has been informed of an impending cut for the fiscal 2009-2010 year. Taken in combination with the 3.2% permanent cut received this year (FY08-09) that impacted library operations and staffing, the upcoming 9.99% cut to the library's overall budget means the Collection Budget can no longer be exempted and will be affected by the new reduced, permanent budget of the Library. Your attention will be needed at the beginning of Fall Quarter 2009 as we implement reductions in our collections, and this memo provides information about the process we are undertaking and the timeline that will be followed.

For the last five years, the Library's collection budget has remained fairly flat. The few small increases received to augment the collections budget have not been sufficient to keep up with the rising costs of electronic resources, industry inflation rates, and the increasing demand for digital resources, and we have had to make changes in our subscriptions on an annual basis. While we continue to purchase books, it is important to understand that over the last ten years, an increasing portion of the University Library's budget has been dedicated to acquiring access to digital resources including electronic journals, e-books, databases, and reference & instructional materials to meet the "anywhere, anytime" access that faculty and students desire. Providing access to these licensed resources -- approximately 23,000 titles -- now comprises a majority of our collections budget.

In acquiring these digital resources, we have worked with our UC peers and have leveraged the licensing power of the California Digital Library (CDL) to invest in a far greater number of resources than we would have been able to license on our own. For example, our cost share of the recent UC-Elsevier deal provides UCSC faculty and students with access to 1411 journal titles. If purchased separately by UCSC, we would have been able to afford fewer than 120 of those titles for the same amount of money invested. We will continue to work with CDL and our UC peers to obtain consortial discounts on licensed resources, but it is important to realize that while CDL provides assistance with the various journal and database packages licensed, it is the UCSC Library's collection budget that pays the annual cost for the resources, not CDL. When the Library's collection budget faces large cuts, subscriptions to electronic resources -- especially those that are not part of large CDL packages -- will inevitably be affected.

During previous budget cuts, the Library followed the prudent course of eliminating duplicative print subscriptions as well as eliminating print versions of journals we receive electronically, where possible. With the exception of a few titles recently moved into subscription packages, we have exhausted this option as a budget reduction mechanism. We have also worked quickly to realize savings from locally licensed titles and have carefully considered all new licensing commitments to stay as flexible as possible during tight budgetary times. Nevertheless, the 9.99% cut to the library's overall budget will mean a $780,000 permanent cut to the collection budget; even these cost saving measures are incapable of covering a cut of this magnitude.

To meet the annual budget approved by the Executive Vice Chancellor, the Library has moved forward to address the collections budget shortfall. We have begun a serials review project to gather and analyze information about the serials resources to which we subscribe. Data such as overall cost, cost per use, inflation rates, publishing metrics (Impact Factor, Eigen Factor, etc.), subject areas, coverage provided by other journals to which we already subscribe, and UCSC faculty publishing patterns are being gathered to help the Library evaluate the resources we acquire and/or license. The goal of this serials review process is to identify a set of titles that will be cancelled to meet the reduced collections budget. Please note: we plan to continue interlibrary loan services and will be able to acquire individual articles on an as-needed basis from cancelled titles.

As a part of this project, over the summer the Library will establish a website to communicate with faculty members about the project status as well as all other information developed to support this serials review. We will make available lists of locally subscribed titles identified for cancellation, as well a list of all journal titles we receive (not available for cancellation) so that faculty members can see the context of all titles received in a certain subject area. The ideal time to finish this project and get information to our vendors in order to make subscription changes effective on January 1, 2010 is during the summer. However, since we know that many faculty members will be away during this crucial time, we have worked with our vendors to obtain additional time and will instead make the information available to you during the month of September. That will allow a few weeks for faculty to comment and ask questions about titles identified for cancellation.

Your subject specialist has more detailed information about this process; a list of subject specialist names is at Your input in September will be important in further informing the Library about titles of value to faculty members while allowing the library to meet our mandatory reductions in subscription costs.

All of us who work in the library are aware of the serious impacts these cancellations will have on faculty and others in the campus community. We will continue to do everything we can within the constraints of our budget to provide faculty, students, and staff with the resources and services needed for instruction and research. I regret that the economic climate necessitates these reductions. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact me at or 459-4215.