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Scholarly Resources: 2022-24 Budget Reduction

Final 2023-24 Cancellation List & Report

The Library would like to thank the UC Berkeley campus community for their input and comments on the proposed cancellations in Spring 2023. The final A-Z Title Cancellation list is available here. Databases being cancelled will also be noted in the A-Z Database List. A final report about the project is also available. If you have questions about specific titles, please reach out to your subject liaison or email We appreciate all your feedback. Much of the information and documentation below will remain as a record of this project. 

2022-24 Budget Reduction Overview

The University Library is undertaking phase 2 of a $1.7 million reduction of our acquisitions and licensing budget. In phase 1 earlier this year, an initial $850,000 was cut from selectors’ discretionary allocations which are used for acquiring print and digital books, media, datasets, and other one time purchases. In phase 2, the remaining $850,000 cut will come from a reduction in recurring annual costs such as subscription databases, journal subscriptions, ebook and journal packages. We would like to remind you of why the Library needs to reduce its spending and services, and then seek your participation in the process.

Since 2003, student enrollment has increased 40 percent while inflation-adjusted campus funding to the Library per student has fallen by nearly half. One reason for the decreased funding is the long-term disinvestment by the state in public higher education. Adjusted for inflation, state funding per student at Berkeley is less than half of what it was in 2005, dropping from $20,539 per student to $9,036 per student — a 56 percent decline. Inflation-adjusted tuition since 2003 has increased only $5,000, leaving a net reduction of $6,500 per student.

Including our recent reductions in 2018 and 2020, the above reduction will bring the total annual reduction in acquisitions and licensing to $4.425 million – an approximately 35% reduction of campus, state, and unrestricted funding for collections since 2016. Adjusted for inflation, the magnitude of the reduction is even greater. Although philanthropy has been increasing, it has not made up the difference.

Serials Reduction Fiscal Year (2022-23)

As in the past, the Library distributed the reduction based on each disciplinary group’s percentage of the last fiscal year's total collections budget expenditure (serials, books, ebooks, data, etc). Once the percentages were established, they were applied to the subject division allocations to achieve the $850,000 reduction goal for each phase: discretionary (monograph, etc., phase 1) and serials (phase 2). Division heads and directors will work with library subject liaisons to balance the impact of this permanent reduction of $1,148,832 to the serials budget ($850,000 plus the $298,832 in deferred Phase 1 reductions). The Bancroft Library is exempted from the collections reduction process since most of their acquisitions and licensing budget is derived from restricted endowments.

2022-2023 Serials Reduction Targets


% of Total Collections Budget

Phase 1

Deferred to Phase 2 

Phase 2

California Digital Library

Total Reduction

Arts + Humanities







East Asian 







Engineering & Physical Sciences







Life & Health Sciences







Social Sciences








  • The California Digital Library handles all the UC system wide acquisitions and licensing such as journal, transformative and ebook package deals. Some savings from negotiation of the Taylor and Francis package provided last minute reduction in cancellation targets
  • Phase 1 refers to the first half the acquisitions and licensing reduction covering predominantly discretionary allocations which are used for print and digital books, media, datasets, and the like.
  • Phase 2 refers to the second half the acquisitions and licensing reduction which covers serials, journals and databases.
  • The Engineering & Physical Sciences (EPS) and Life & Health Sciences (LHS) Divisions did not have sufficient unrestricted discretionary budgets to meet the phase 1 reduction target so this is being addressed with a higher target in the phase 2 serials reduction


Serials Reduction Process

For the phase 2 acquisitions and licensing reduction, a working group of representatives from across the Library’s subject divisions was established to develop criteria, metrics and tools that can be used to evaluate serials for cancellation. Eligible ebook packages, journal packages, transformative agreements, databases, and UC-wide agreements were all included in the review. Resources that were locked into a multi-year agreement will be reviewed in the future before those agreements come up for renewal. The proposed cancellations were identified after careful evidence-based balancing of needs and costs by the library liaisons across all the disciplines.

Reduction Criteria

When Divisions and Units finalize their proposed cancellations for the campus consultation phase, they were asked to classify the reason for cancellation using consistent terminology. This will also allow the Library to do an assessment of the general approach and categories.

  • Duplication within the UCB Library with another subscription (electronic or print)
  • Lower usage (this can mean usage declining or low usage as compared to other resources within discipline)
  • High cost per use or high annual increases
    • Cost per use ratio higher than most resources within the discipline
    • Cost unusually higher than other resources subscribed to
    • Percentage increase higher than 2.5% (average price increase for journals and databases)
    • The current price and recent history of price increases by a publisher/vendor is considered relative to the the use of a given resource
  • Available from other institutions (access can be provided through Interlibrary Loan, held by a UC campus, held by Stanford, or held by a number of U.S. Libraries). This is usually used along with a combination of other factors.
  • Content available Open Access (OA Overview)
  • No longer needed for the curriculum, research, or teaching purposes
  • Multiple Criteria
    • Subject liaison lists the criteria and may provide additional details
  • Other
    • Subject liaison provides additional details  
    • Examples include CINAHL Complete "where significant overlap with other databases, unique content mostly out-of-scope" or Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient, which is moving to an online only subscription.

List of Proposed Cancellations and Opportunity to Provide Feedback

The University Library is requesting feedback on the proposed list of 1204 journal and database cancellations. The proposed cancellations were identified after careful evidence-based balancing of needs and costs by the library liaisons across all the disciplines as described above. We encourage all interested students, staff and faculty to carefully review the list of proposed serial cancellations and provide feedback. The comment period is open through Friday, May 12.

We invite you to submit comments via email to or directly with your subject librarian. You can also use this form to provide your feedback anonymously. If you would like to get a response or have a consultation about a proposed title or the process, please provide us your contact information.

The Library is proposing the cancellation of approximately 1204 titles unique titles (the lists contain duplicates to show how costs are shared in and between divisions/units). The breakdown by reason is below:

Reason for Cancellation Number of Titles Percentage
Available elsewhere 124 10.30%
Available OA 159 13.21%
Duplication 298 24.75%
High annual increases 10 0.83%
High cost per use 107 8.89%
Low/Decreasing Usage 322 26.74%
Multiple Criteria 38 3.16%
No longer supports 62 5.15%
Other (add a note) 84 6.98%


Below is the count of unique titles being proposed for cancellation by Division/Unit:

Division/Unit Number of Titles Percentage of Total
ARTS 174 14.45%
EAL 196 16.28%
ENPS 168 13.95%
INTER 5 0.42%
LSHS 194 16.11%
SOSC 467 38.79%

Acquisitions and Licensing Reduction Timeline

  • February to March, 2023: Library subject liaisons and Library Divisions/Units will use developed criteria and metrics to complete the serials review
  • April 3 to May 12: The UC Berkeley campus community reviews the lists of proposed cancellations as part of a wider consultative process.
  • Late May 2023: Final cancellation list is shared with the campus community.
  • June 2023: Library Acquisitions notifies vendors/publishers and CDL of cancellation decisions.
  • July 2023: Reductions implemented for FY 2023-2024

The final cancellations must achieve a minimum reduction of $1,148,832 to the acquisitions and licensing budget ($850,000 plus $298,832 in deferred cuts from phase 1)

Providing access to scholarly resources is one of the Library’s core services, but the sequence of recent budget cuts and cost increases have necessitated reductions in all of its core services. Subject to funds available, the Library continues to serve campus as a public good that benefits the entire Berkeley community — connecting researchers with an impressive breadth and depth of materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please note this list may grow as we receive questions during this process.

Why is the Library focusing on canceling serials?
Serials comprise the class of resources that increase in price every year. Inflation can be between 4-10%. A number of titles being considered for cancellation are in fact duplications of content that now can be otherwise accessed (e.g., print and or microform was canceled in favor of online.)

Could the Library save money if it purchased only online journals?
There is a wealth of content wanted by our researchers that is not available online. That said, we have proposed canceling print or microfilm when an online version exists. Many of our users favor online over analog, which allows us to reduce direct costs, save the costs of long term storage, and reduces staff time needed for stacks management.

Why doesn’t the Library just cancel expensive journals and packages?
Many expensive journal packages contain the core materials that support the work our university community does. In this process, some may be proposed for cancellation. The Library is canceling serials across all disciplines. Each division’s reduction was based on taking their share of total expenditures last fiscal year and applying that percentage to the reduction target of $850,000.

What does "duplication" mean as a reason for cancellation?
For many journal subscriptions, the Library receives both print and electronic versions. While this was nice to have, the Library can no longer support this for most journals, especially considering the significant drop in print usage that started before the pandemic. For a number of the journals, the electronic version is considered the version of record and this played into the decision to reduce duplication between print and electronic.

Why does a title appear multiple times on a list?
Scholarly resources can be very expensive and/or very interdisciplinary or both. Because of this, some resources are paid using multiple pots of money from within the Library (Ancestry is an example of this but there are others). These funding sources can be within the same Division/Unit or across Divisions/Units. You can see the full annual cost of a title in the A-Z List by clicking on the title column (column B) and then look for the little downward pointing arrow--this arrow will allow you to do an a-z sort by title. Alternatively you can download the spreadsheet and sort it. The cost of a title is each savings amount added together. Using Ancestry as an example, the full annual cost is $20,718.40.   

Some of the UC Search links do not work. Am I doing something wrong?
You are not doing anything wrong. While most of the titles on the list are traditional serials and serial-like items (journals, book series, etc), some are packages (such as Ebrary ebook Complete Package) or research tools (such as Refworks). These are not normally displayed via UC Search. If you have questions about a specific title, please ask using one of the communication methods mentioned above.

What does it mean if a journal was canceled because open access versions of the articles are available?
In some cases, we canceled a subscription to a journal because the articles within that journal are already available online for free already—either through the publisher’s website or through repositories. Here is more information:

Publishers’ websites: Many journals are hybrid journals, meaning the publisher charges subscription fees to libraries but also offers authors a fee-based way to publish their articles open access on the journal’s website. By navigating to the publisher’s website for a given hybrid journal, you can see which and how many articles within a given issue are already open access because authors chose to pay this additional fee. If a journal already has a substantial percentage of its articles already available OA through the publisher’s website, the Library took this into account in its cancellation decision-making.

Repositories: In some disciplines, it is both common and required by funders for authors to upload an “author accepted manuscript” (i.e. post-print, which is peer-reviewed but not publisher formatted) to a subject-specific repository like ArXiv, PubMed Central, or even an institutional repository (like the University of California’s eScholarship). You can do a Google search for articles to see if they have been uploaded to these kinds of repositories. Particularly for disciplines like biomedical and life sciences or physics, where both funding requirements and community norms stipulate that authors should make a copy available through a repository, the Library has taken this free, online availability into account in its cancellation decision-making. 

How is access from another institution a viable alternative?
The UC Berkeley Library exists within a rapidly changing information and research landscape. Comprehensive collecting of scholarly resources isn’t possible by Berkeley alone. The UC Libraries are more interconnected than ever with one another and with academic libraries across the country whose print collections augment and complement our own. We collaborate with other UC campuses, the California Digital Library, and other institutions and organizations to extend access to scholarly resources beyond what Berkeley can provide through robust resource sharing networks. This interconnectedness affords us an opportunity to redouble our efforts to engage in systematic and collaborative planning around print collection development and management with the aims of:

  • Preserving print resources to ensure the ongoing availability and integrity of the content
  • Facilitating seamless discovery and access to the content, and
  • Enabling the collection of and access to more and unique content.

For additional information, see this FAQ on UC Print Futures​​​​​​.

Will it be possible to review the list of serials and databases that have been proposed for cancellation?
Yes. Faculty, staff, and students can see a list of all the proposed cancellations above. We welcome your comments and ask that you respond before May 12th.

How do I let someone know I am concerned about a potential cancellation?
In cases where you feel the Library should retain a title that is slated for cancellation, please let us know how it supports the teaching and/or research needs of your program, department, or college. Send your comments to your subject librarian or send a message to and someone will get back to you. If you prefer to provide anonymous feedback please use this form

How is the Library incorporating DEIBJ (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging and Justice) issues into its decision making process?
Subject liaisons are taking a very careful and mindful approach to this reduction process, and are considering a number of factors including DEIBJ issues. In some cases, the research interests of campus have moved DEIBJ to the forefront of the discipline.

Can I help by donating a copy of my personal subscription?
It seems logical that a Faculty member could help by providing their personal subscription as a substitute for an institutional subscription. While the Library deeply appreciates the generosity of such an offer, this creates a situation where faculty have to act as an intermediary in perpetuity, which isn’t sustainable over time.

What can an individual do to help?

  • Work with your subject librarian to provide advice on the best possible decisions under the circumstances
  • Support efforts to raise revenue from other sources--please discuss ideas with your subject librarian
  • Help to change the scholarly publishing market. (see The Library's Scholarly Communication Services site for more information about open access publishing and affordable course content)
  • Many faculty already support the Library through personal donations. Another program is Faculty Friends of the Library Program. Faculty Friends will not compete with or replace these individual contributions. Instead, it seeks to promote and highlight more faculty support for the Library. We hope that faculty will embrace this giving tradition starting in their early years at Berkeley. We suggest that assistant professors donate their first book or a comparable piece of work; that associate professors donate $500 annually; and that full professors donate $1,000 annually