UC Berkeley Library > Library Collections > Collection Building and Budgets: Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Every department and program at the university has a library liaison who would be happy to discuss any of your concerns. In almost all cases, the liaison is also the person responsible for managing the collections budget for that discipline..

  1. Isn't everything available freely online?
  2. Are the Open Access movement and UC's eScholarship helping to control costs?
  3. What else is The Library doing to influence publishers to control costs?
  4. Can the Libraries save money if it purchases only online journals?
  5. Will we always have access to materials we license rather than purchase outright?
  6. Isn't the California Digital Library (CDL) still saving us money?
  7. Is CDL also reducing expenditures?
  8. Isn't the Collections budget protected?
  9. Why can't the Library take money from salaries or equipment or other expenses to relieve the deficit in collections?
  10. Can't we use endowment money to cover the deficit?
  11. Do faculty research grants help to fund Library resources?
  12. What can an individual faculty member do to help reduce the cost of journals?
  13. Can faculty donate personal copies of their subscription to the Library?
  14. Do we have information about the use of individual titles in print?
  15. Do we have information about the use of individual titles online?
  16. When the electronic version of a journal is cancelled, do we still retain electronic access to the years/volumes that we subscribed to before the cancellation?
  17. How can I get access to titles once they have been cancelled?

Budget Deficits and Cancellations

  1. Isn't everything available freely online?

    No. In fact, most online resources used by scholars are available only through subscriptions and licenses for which the Library pays.

    Many disciplines continue to rely on print books and other non-digital formats — also paid for by the Library.

  2. Are the Open Access movement and UC's eScholarship helping to control costs?

    The Library is monitoring developments in a variety of alternative models for scholarly publishing including open access and digital repositories. The existence of these alternatives, when provided outside the normal publishing infrastructure, have indeed put pressure on publishers to change, if not their actually charges, at least their thinking. Many publishers are themselves now offering an "open access" option, but they are charging a hefty fee to do so.

    Institutional digital repositories also provide information free to the reader, and some repositories like UC's eScholarship also provide support for peer review and author services. Uptake by authors, however, has been slow.

  3. What else is The Library doing to influence publishers to control costs?

    UC Libraries launched a campaign asking publishers to cap or reduce prices and to reduce the number of new products they market. See UC Libraries Open Letter to Vendors (PDF). The UC Berkeley Libraries have encouraged staff to work with vendors to reduce their renewal costs.

  4. Can the Libraries save money if it purchases only online journals?

    We are moving to digital resources largely for their ease of use anywhere at any time. While switching to online-only subscriptions eliminates some costs of processing print materials (e.g., receipt and processing, shelving, binding, circulation, stacks maintenance), new costs are created (licensing, cross-resource linking, maintaining and troubleshooting access problems).

    As both libraries and publishers experiment with non-print dissemination of material, we are seeing many different business models. Not all publishers allow libraries to only subscribe to their online products (some give online for free with a print subscription; some only allow subscriptions to digital if the print subscription is maintained). For publishers who do allow libraries to go "digital only," price savings can be reasonable and beneficial, while others offer only minor reductions in cost.

  5. Will we always have access to materials we license rather than purchase outright?

    In making the decision to subscribe to online-only resources, the Libraries will evaluate whether there is a reliable archiving model such as LOCKSS and/or Portico.

  6. Isn't the California Digital Library (CDL) still saving us money?

    Cooperation among the UC's to license electronic resources has been the biggest boon to our budgets over the last 10 years. Not only does CDL have a modest budget that is put directly toward resources benefiting all 10 campuses, the contracts that CDL has negotiated have been some of the best and most ground-breaking in the country. That said, almost all publishers continue to increase costs annually — and this inflation is not covered by The Library's funding.

  7. Is CDL also reducing expenditures?

    The Libraries have just undertaken a review of all licenses facilitated by CDL on our behalf, and eliminated some subscriptions as a result. This process will be repeated on a regular schedule to ensure we are keeping our consortial agreements in balance with campus needs for locally held, unique resources.

  8. Isn't the Collections budget protected?

    Over the last several years, our chancellors have protected the collections budget against campus-wide cuts, while asking the Library to takes its share of cuts to our operations budgets. Even in these years, no new funds, have been available to cover annual inflation. The need to reduce continuing commitments in collections is in large part a direct result of the gap between the rate of inflation and the funding available, particularly for scholarly journals in scientific, medical, and technical fields and in some areas of the social sciences, such as business.

    We await campus information on whether or not the collections budget will be protected in 2009-10 as it always has been in the past. If the campus in fact cuts the collections base, our reduction targets will have to increase accordingly.

  9. Why can't the Library take money from salaries or equipment or other expenses to relieve the deficit in collections?

    The collections budget and the operations budget must stay in some semblance of balance, or there are not enough staff to select, order, catalog, process, shelve, and help users to access new resources. The Library's operations budget has never been restored to pre-1995 levels; it was subject to taxation last year and faces a new permanent cut estimated at 20% for 2009-2010.

  10. Can't we use endowment money to cover the deficit?

    Our endowments have never provided an amount of money needed to fully cover the deficit.

    The Library has begun a capital campaign with unprecedented goals to cover routine collections costs with non-permanent, private funds.

    Endowments received in the past are generally restricted to specific uses and the Library spends them in accordance with the agreements. The Library's limited number of unrestricted endowments have been regularly used in the past to enable major acquisitions. Increasingly we are using these funds to offset shortages.

  11. Do faculty research grants help to fund Library resources?

    Granting agencies are often interested in what Library resources available are to and used by researchers. We routinely provide information about existing holdings to faculty as they apply for grants. Many faculty have been successful in increasing their grant to purchase new Library materials.

  12. What can an individual faculty member do to help reduce the cost of journals?

    There are many ways that scholars can help restructure scholarly publishing, as authors, as members of editorial boards, participants in peer review, and members of professional societies. If you are serving as a member of a journal's editorial board, please consider promoting the University of California statement as well as two important statements by the library community in which we have asked publishers to keep renewal rates in line with the realities of the global economic crisis and reduce the rate of development of new products for the library marketplace. These statements are available for your inspection at:

  13. Can faculty donate personal copies of their subscription to the Library?

    The Library appreciates the offer, but in most cases, publishers have different pricing structures for individuals and institutions and the cost to individuals is typically much less. Publishers do not expect the personal copy to be used in a Library, and doing so may create a conflict.

    In those rare cases in which it may be allowed, experience has shown it to be impractical. The Library uses a service to handle subscriptions and business transactions with hundreds of publishers for thousands of journals. Individual arrangements can be quite time-consuming and result in gaps or delays in receiving issues. Processing individual gift copies is staff intensive and simply not scalable.

    The Library would be happy to accept gifts of individual issues to fill in gaps in existing Library subscriptions.

  14. Do we have information about the use of individual titles in print?

    Talk to your library liaison. Some of the science libraries and the Music Library collect usage information for print copies of periodicals on a regular basis.

  15. Do we have information about the use of individual titles online?

    Vendors provide The Library with data for various categories of usage of the electronic versions of journals. We have made the information about journal usage available to the library staff for several of the larger electronic journal packages.

    You may also contact your library liaison.

  16. When the electronic version of a journal is cancelled, do we still retain electronic access to the years/volumes that we subscribed to before the cancellation?

    This question brings up two issues. One is the issue of perpetual access and the other is the issue of archival access. Both issues are items addressed in each consortial agreement negotiated by CDL on behalf of the UC Libraries.

    UC's guidelines require that contracts be negotiated to ensure that if we do not renew subscriptions to particular titles, the UC's will continue to have perpetual access to the issues for which we already have paid. (e.g., If we subscribe to content published in 2003 but decide to cancel a contract in 2005, we will continue to have access to the 2003 content and all other content we have already paid for.)

    CDL also arranges for archival access to titles using a variety of strategies, including

    1. Purchasing one archival print copy of each electronic title and housing it at the Southern Regional Library Facility (SRLF).
    2. Asking publishers to maintain an electronic archive of all subscribed content.
    3. Asking that if for some reason a publisher cannot maintain an electronic archive, that the publisher agree to transfer the electronic archive to a depository agreed to by an independent board of library advisors.
  17. How can I get access to titles once they have been cancelled?

    Postprint and preprint versions may exist online in an institutional or subject repository or on the author's web page. Additionally, the Libraries' Interlibrary Borrowing Service can be used to request articles, books, or other documents that the Libraries does not own or offer access to.

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Last updated 05/17/13. Comments?