Letter from UL Karen Butter
Thursday, July 29, 2004
UCSF Faculty, Students and Staff,
Library budgets are facing increased pressures for a number of reasons. First, as we all know, the state has reduced its support to the university. The UCSF Library absorbed a 5.2% permanent budget reduction in FY04 and is anticipating another permanent cut of 3% for FY05. If this were not challenging enough the cost of library materials continues its annual increase. For 2005 journal publishers are raising prices at rates of 10% (domestic) and 15% (foreign), outpacing the consumer price index and further reducing our buying power. Additionally, as research boundaries expand new journals and databases are required by UCSF faculty. Finally, the cost of electronic journals is significantly higher that the print. Some examples: PNAS costs $700 in print but costs us $2,100 online; the cost for online access to the 43 Nature journals will increase 28% in 2005. Unfortunately, we don’t expect budget relief for a couple of years.
Thus, we are looking at a number of approaches to reduce our expenditure for library materials. First, we have identified journals for which we purchase both print and electronic versions of the same title. Continuing the initiative from the previous years we will opt to receive the electronic copy canceling the print version. Should you need print copies we will continue to provide them through interlibrary loans and document delivery. Unfortunately, this strategy alone will not produce enough savings. Thus, we are also proposing to cancel another set of print titles where we do not have online access. These are much more problematic. However, we see no other way to find savings in our book and journal budget. While we have carefully reviewed the lists we understand there may be special circumstances concerning particular titles. If you have comments, please contact Anneliese Taylor, Collection Development Manager, or Julia Kochi, Director, Digital Library & Collections.
For the long term we will continue to work with faculty on changes in scholarly communications. UCSF faculty were particularly effective in assisting the UC libraries to obtain favorable pricing during the Elsevier contract negotiations this past year and to include the Cell Press journals in the license. These efforts are essential as we begin to align value with cost. The Open Access initiative is another opportunity to look at new models for communication. Proposed legislation from the House Appropriations Committee report recommends that NIH require free posting of journal articles resulting from NIH sponsored research. There is a comparable open access initiative in the UK as well.
The current system of scholarly communication is not sustainable. We look forward to working with UCSF faculty and campus administration to address the underlying problems in the current system and to experiment with new methods of publishing.
I look forward to your comments and suggestions.
Karen A. Butter
University Librarian and
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Library Services and Instructional Technology