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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

YearNo. of journalsCostRate of increaseIncrease (actual)% Collections budgetTitle Usage Profile
20163,079 $1,668,164.944.30%$69,269.8014.74%No use: 270
1-11 uses: 899
12-51 uses: 626
52+ uses: 1,284
20173,199$1,718,560.113.02%$50,395.1714.34%No use: 244
1-11 uses: 876
12-51 uses: 720
52+ uses: 1,359
20183,289$1,820,040.242.32%$61,547.2514.52%No use: 269
1-11 uses: 892
12-51 uses: 757
52+ uses: 1,371
20193,352$1,822,960.123.67%$64,467.1314.57%No use: 293
1-11 uses: 886
12-51 uses: 748
52+ uses: 1,425
2025 (est.)n/a$2,302,931.544.30%$615,462.11
(cumulative
over the decade)
15.60%n/a


Package: Sage Premier

YearNo. of journalsCostRate of increaseIncrease (actual)% Collections budgetTitle Usage Profile
2016867$222,750.00N/A Start of PackageN/A Start of Package1.97%No use: 19
1-11 uses: 199
12-51 uses: 281
52+ uses: 368
20171,001$268,068.0020.34%$45,318.002.24%No use: 45
1-11 uses: 278
12-51 uses: 302
52+ uses: 376
20181,077$290,512.698.37%$22,444.692.40%No use: 27
1-11 uses: 322
12-51 uses: 346
52+ uses: 382
20191,124$308,106.186.06%$17,593.492.46%No use: 0
1-11 uses: 285
12-51 uses: 365
52+ uses: 474
2025 (est.)n/a$437,054.506.00%$189,565.57
(cumulative
over the decade)
2.96%n/a


Package: SpringerLink Journals

YearNo. of journalsCostRate of increaseIncrease (actual)% Collections budgetTitle Usage Profile
20163,363$633,351.897.00%$42,760.865.60%No use: 1,119
1-11 uses: 992
12-51 uses: 748
52+ uses: 504
20173,557$749,515.6217.39%$110,163.736.20%No use: 1,078
1-11 uses: 1,218
12-51 uses: 648
52+ uses: 613
20183,349$776,451.544.43%$32,935.926.41%No use: 758
1-11 uses: 1,250
12-51 uses: 715
52+ uses: 626
20193,038$848,405.049.27%$71,953.56.78%No use: 272
1-11 uses: 1,296
12-51 uses: 809
52+ uses: 661
2025 (est.)n/a$1,021,757.264.00%$391,867.87
(cumulative
over the decade)
6.92%n/a


Package: Wiley Online Library

YearNo. of journalsCostRate of increaseIncrease (actual)% Collections budgetTitle Usage Profile
20162,606$883,352.00N/A Start of PackageN/A Start of Package7.81%No use: 709
1-11 uses: 670
12-51 uses: 588
52+ uses: 639
20172,602$914,269.003.50%$30,917.007.63%No use: 692
1-11 uses: 599
12-51 uses: 579
52+ uses: 732
20182,602$946,268.003.50%$31,999.007.82%No use: 617
1-11 uses: 604
12-51 uses: 607
52+ uses: 774
20191,919$910,215.00-3.81%-$-36,053.007.27%No use: 0
1-11 uses: 182
12-51 uses: 179
52+ uses: 1,558
2025 (est.)n/a$1,116,350.484.00%$190,061.92
(cumulative
over the decade)
7.56%n/a
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