Library Services


E-journal FAQs

UCL Library Services provides access to over 50,000 ejournals, the vast majority of which are accessible to UCL students and staff from both on and off campus.

Below are frequently asked questions, with corresponding answers, to using our ejournals service.

If you have any questions or problems with using ejournals then please contact us.

How do I access e-journals?

You can access UCL's ejournals using the ejournals list or Explore.

If you know the title of the journal that interests you check Explore or the A-Z listings to see if UCL has access. To see which titles in your subject area are available, use the ejournal list subject listing.

Search result records include the journal name and a 'View Online' link. Clicking on either of these links will bring up the 'View It' information

The 'View It' section features the holdings summary detailing available options for full text access, with dates and volume numbers for each option. Clicking on the link will take you to the journal home page. If there is more than one option for access, choose the one that has the year/volume/issue you need.

Why do some titles have more than one option for access?
  • UCL may have access via more than one route. For instance, some journals are available both from the publisher's own site and also from a host service such as IngentaConnect.
  • The title may have changed publisher. It may be that the new publisher provides access to the current content while the previous publisher continues to provide access to the older content.
  • Different coverage may be available from different sources. Older issues may be available through services like JSTOR, while current content is hosted on the publisher's own site.

The journal content will be the same at every location. The difference between the sites will instead be related to the timespan covered, the means of authenticating access or the currency of the material.

What is a moving wall or embargo?

A moving wall or embargo is the specified time difference between the latest issue of a journal available electronically and the latest issue to have been published. For example, many ejournals in JSTOR have a moving wall of three years, so that only content more than three years old is accessible. The moving wall refers to complete years only and the current, incomplete year is not counted. 

How do I access ejournals when I am at UCL?

If you are on-site using a computer running on the UCL network, your access to the journals will usually be automatically authenticated and you should not need to enter a username and password.

A few titles require a special username and password for access. This is indicated in the 'View It' information that appears when you click on the journal title or the View Online option in the ejournals list. You will see a link to UCL Library Services' passwords page. The passwords page is only accessible to UCL staff and students and passwords MUST NOT be divulged to anyone else.

I'm offsite - how do I access ejournals from a non-UCL computer?

If you are off-site, the links in the ejournals list, Explore and individual databases will direct you to UCL’s single sign-on screen each time you start a new session. Once you have logged in with your UCL userid and password, you will be able to access eresources off-site. Once you have entered this information you won't be asked for it again to access other titles. This remains the case until you close your web browser.

Please note: a few ejournals CANNOT be accessed using the proxy server. These titles require a special username and password provided by the publisher. If you need one of these passwords, there will be a note in the View It menu, with a link to the passwords page where it can be found. The passwords page is only accessible to UCL staff and students and passwords MUST NOT be divulged to anyone else.

What can and can't I do with ejournals?

Users must observe the terms and conditions of UCL's licence agreements with publishers. If a user breaches these terms and conditions, UCL's access may be suspended. Please read the list of permitted and prohibited activities before accessing any eresources. If you have any queries then please contact us.

Why can't I access all journals electronically?

Generally speaking, your access to electronic journals is dependent on UCL Library Services having arranged a subscription. There are some ejournals that are freely available, but the majority are not. Although you do not usually need a username and password when you are on-site at UCL, this does not mean that the journal is free - most journals are being authenticated on the basis of UCL's IP addresses, which are supplied to publishers when access is set up.

Many publishers require extra payments for access to older content so you may find that you can access recent content but not all the issues available. There are also a number of journals which still do not have an electronic version or where online access is only designed for individuals or society members, not institutions.

How can I make a recommendation for purchase?

If the journal you are interested in does not appear in the ejournals list or Explore and you wish to recommend its purchase, please contact your subject librarian

I am still experiencing problems: what should I do?

Please contact us and provide the following details:

  1. the nature of the fault
  2. the URL, title and name of the article you are having problems accessing
  3. the error message and URL of the page on which it appeared

You can help yourself solve problems by:

  • Checking that UCL does have access both to the title and to the specific issue you require according to the ejournals list or Explore.
  • Checking that you are using a valid password if this is necessary for the journal in question.