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What does it cost? Journal package pricing for VCU

VCU Libraries is committed to providing our scholarly community with access to materials critical for research and teaching. We want to ensure that our spending commitments align with community needs, that we are responsible stewards of our budget in a rapidly evolving information landscape, and that we contain and control costs wherever possible. In order to do this, we are assembling, evaluating, and sharing some important data about cost, usage, and growth trends for our biggest journal vendor contracts. This will help us assess whether large journal packages, often called “Big Deals”, provide good value and represent a sustainable part of our overall investment in information on behalf of the University.

In the first of several steps to promote openness about our spending, we are releasing the following information, outlining the costs and usage of several large journal packages, which together represent 30.35%, totaling $3,833,271 in fiscal year 2019 of our collections budget. We expect to release more detailed information, including title-level data, on a regular basis.

For more information on this initiative, read our FAQ.

If you have further questions or need more information, please contact Karen Cary at kcary@vcu.edu



Package: Elsevier ScienceDirect Freedom Collection

Year No. of journals Cost Rate of increase Increase (actual) % Collections budget Title Usage Profile
2016 3,079 $1,668,164.94 4.30% $69,269.80 14.74% No use: 270
1-11 uses: 899
12-51 uses: 626
52+ uses: 1,284
2017 3,199 $1,718,560.11 3.02% $50,395.17 14.34% No use: 244
1-11 uses: 876
12-51 uses: 720
52+ uses: 1,359
2018 3,289 $1,820,040.24 2.32% $61,547.25 14.52% No use: 269
1-11 uses: 892
12-51 uses: 757
52+ uses: 1,371
2025 (est.) n/a $2,302,931.54 4.30% $615,462.11
(cumulative
over the decade)
15.60% n/a


Package: Sage Premier

Year No. of journals Cost Rate of increase Increase (actual) % Collections budget Title Usage Profile
2016 867 $222,750.00 N/A Start of Package N/A Start of Package 1.97% No use: 19
1-11 uses: 199
12-51 uses: 281
52+ uses: 368
2017 1,001 $268,068.00 20.34% $45,318.00 2.24% No use: 45
1-11 uses: 278
12-51 uses: 302
52+ uses: 376
2018 1,077 $290,512.69 8.37% $22,444.69 2.40% No use: 27
1-11 uses: 322
12-51 uses: 346
52+ uses: 382
2025 (est.) n/a $437,054.50 6.00% $189,565.57
(cumulative
over the decade)
2.96% n/a


Package: SpringerLink Journals

Year No. of journals Cost Rate of increase Increase (actual) % Collections budget Title Usage Profile
2016 3,363 $633,351.89 7.00% $42,760.86 5.60% No use: 1,119
1-11 uses: 992
12-51 uses: 748
52+ uses: 504
2017 3,557 $749,515.62 17.39% $110,163.73 6.20% No use: 1,078
1-11 uses: 1,218
12-51 uses: 648
52+ uses: 613
2018 3,349 $776,451.54 4.43% $32,935.92 6.41% No use: 758
1-11 uses: 1,250
12-51 uses: 715
52+ uses: 626
2025 (est.) n/a $1,021,757.26 4.00% $391,867.87
(cumulative
over the decade)
6.92% n/a


Package: Wiley Online Library

Year No. of journals Cost Rate of increase Increase (actual) % Collections budget Title Usage Profile
2016 2,606 $883,352.00 N/A Start of Package N/A Start of Package 7.81% No use: 709
1-11 uses: 670
12-51 uses: 588
52+ uses: 639
2017 2,602 $914,269.00 3.50% $30,917.00 7.63% No use: 692
1-11 uses: 599
12-51 uses: 579
52+ uses: 732
2018 2,602 $946,268.00 3.50% $31,999.00 7.82% No use: 617
1-11 uses: 604
12-51 uses: 607
52+ uses: 774
2025 (est.) n/a $1,116,350.48 4.00% $190,061.92
(cumulative
over the decade)
7.56% n/a
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