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Electronic Journals at UCL

The electronic journals service at UCL has expanded rapidly over the last few years as increasing numbers of titles are published over the World Wide Web. From a handful of journals in 1995, UCL staff and students now have access to over 1000 full text titles across all disciplines. Usage statistics show that more and more UCL members are taking advantage of electronic journals and their enhanced capabilities, such as desktop access, inbuilt search engines, personalisation options and linking facilities. E-journals also go some way towards solving traditional problems that beset print journals. They can often be used by more than one person at a time, do not disappear from the shelves and cannot be damaged or torn.


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Access routes

E-journals can be accessed from either the Library’s Webpages at or from the Library’s Web catalogue, eUCLid, if using an office or cluster room machine. The Webpages are especially useful for anyone unfamiliar with the concept of e-journals, as they contain links to all the Library’s available titles through both alphabetical and subject listings. Information on necessary software, access restrictions and passwords, current developments and details of trial services are also listed.

Publishers’ generally restrict electronic access to UCL staff and students either by limiting access to UCL’s secure network or by issuing usernames and passwords. Any title that authenticates users by a username and password will allow access away from UCL, but as we have to restrict the username and password list at  relevant details should be noted beforehand while using a UCL machine. Other services use the ATHENS username and password system, which should already be familiar to users of BIDS and Web of Science. ATHENS details can be obtained from any Library enquiry desk on production of a valid UCL ID card. Although these differing access methods may sound complicated, full details are listed for each title on the Library’s e-journal webpages.

Available services

Access to electronic journals is often available directly from the publisher’s Website. However, many more are available through a variety of aggregator services such as IngentaJournals, SwetsNet or CatchWord. These services provide a gateway to journals from several publishers and as a result enable access to many titles through a single interface. Aggregators also provide searching facilities across all the journals they host as well as abstracts for any titles to which we do not subscribe. As no one aggregator can provide consolidated access to our vast number of subscriptions, we have to use several services.


One particularly popular service has proved to be JSTOR, a unique full text digital archive of core scholarly journals starting with the very first issues. The service covers Humanities and Social Science journals with new subject areas and titles expected very soon. Full details of the service are available from the Library’s Web pages at

Future Developments

The Library is arranging access to new e-titles on an ongoing basis, both those that come free with existing print subscriptions and those that require extra funding. As more electronic titles are published, demand for new titles will only increase and as a result, we are constantly looking at ways of funding and developing our e-journal collection. Unfortunately this is not without its problems as shown by recent proposals from a number of publishers. These deals have come after months (and in one case, years) of free access to UCL

members. Certain publishers are now requiring extra payment for continuing access to titles and some have also required that libraries maintain current print spending as part of the contract. This means that libraries cannot offset extra expenditure by cancelling duplicate subscriptions, and the situation can be exacerbated by publishers’ annual price rises that are well above the headline rate of inflation. These terms form part of the licence and consequently libraries have to agree to them in order to obtain continued electronic access. However, Library Services remains committed to providing access where publishers’ deals provide good financial and academic value.

If you would like to be kept informed of electronic journal news, trials, new services etc, please contact and your email address will be added to the mailing list.

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