Journals Cost How Much?

The UCSF Library has struggled over the last decade to maintain our journal subscriptions as well as add new resources to our collections, much to the frustration of UCSF’s prolific scholars at this world-renowned institution. Why is that? The problem is multifaceted, but two contributing factors are the pace of journal price increases and the Library’s collection budget not staying abreast of these increases (see chart below).

In 2017, the average price for a health sciences journal was $1,736 and for a chemistry journal it was $4,773. On average, journal costs increased by 6% for the lowest subscription tier; however, UCSF, as a research intensive institution with a medical center, is often in a higher tier and sees much greater annual increases for online subscriptions.

Since about 85% of our collections budget goes towards journal subscriptions, price increases stymie our ability to add new resources to support UCSF’s teaching, research, and clinical care needs. Unfortunately, even with the permanent increase to the Library collection budget received from the Chancellor in 2015 to help address increased consortial pricing, our funds for new resources remain limited.

Peer Benchmarking

In 2016, UCSF was second to last in library collection expenditures compared to our peer institutions, despite being the second highest recipient of NIH funding:

Have questions or concerns about the Library budget?

There are a number of ways the UCSF community can voice their concerns: