NASIG Transforming the Information Community

When to Hold Them, When to Fold Them: Reassessing Big Deals in 2020

  • May 20, 2020 7:53 PM
    Message # 8983116
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Recorded Session

    Elizabeth Parang and Jeremy Whitt

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    While the University of California's negotiations with Elsevier have received heavy news coverage, little information has been shared as to how smaller, non-R1 institutions are addressing the issue of managing their journal packages. Pepperdine University Libraries have cancelled major publishers’ journal packages and have continued providing access to the content needed from these publishers while saving money in the process. Maintaining large journal packages is a major issue in our profession; the recent “ACRL Environmental Scan 2019” underscored "many are now weighing the potential costs and opportunities in cancelling their Big Deal subscriptions". This presentation will focus on how libraries can save money on unsustainable big deals, providing the considerations and alternatives for a path forward from the perspective of a medium-sized university. The circumstances of journal packages becoming unsustainable and how libraries can respond to these challenges depends on the size of one’s institution. We recognize there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to this problem, but we will share our experiences and the solutions we found that can be transferable to others. This process involves identifying journal packages for cancellations and dealing with patron demand following the cancellations. During the early days of the Big Deal phenomenon, Pepperdine licensed many journal packages because our consortium, SCELC, adeptly negotiated favorable licenses. At the time, prices were lower and packages were smaller. As the years passed, large publishers absorbed more publications annually, bringing higher costs and titles of lower relevance to our library. Each year we analyze cost per use, and each year the cost per use increased on many of our packages. We reached the point where these increases were unsustainable and we had to make cancellations. Coinciding with this tipping point, alternatives to licensing entire packages emerged or became more viable for us. The mindset of many of our peer institutions has also changed. Libraries across the country have adopted more of a just-in-time rather than just-in-case mentality, and most libraries realize that they no longer need to own everything. This presentation will go into details for each of the publishers’ big deals that we examined and present reasons as to why we cancelled them, with concrete examples from our experiences (four cancellations and two restructurings). We will also discuss the alternative solutions we implemented and what the reaction has been. We will talk about alternative methods to obtain individual articles. We aim to provide attendees strategies for evaluating, managing, or restructuring unsustainable big deals.

    Last modified: June 10, 2020 9:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • June 11, 2020 5:15 PM
    Reply # 9031570 on 8983116
    Victoria Koger

    Thank you for this presentation! I will definitely need to go back and listen again or look at the slides to see what we can incorporate at my library. Nicely done:)

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