Is the Big Deal Unsustainable?

by | May 2, 2011 | 2 comments

by Katina Strauch, Editor,

In light of a recent blog post at Open and Shut? ( we are discussing the “Demise of the Big Deal.”

An exerpt:

Claudio Aspesi — an analyst based at the sell-side research firmSanford Bernstein — predicts a difficult future for Reed Elsevier, particularly for its scholarly journal business. He also predicts the demise of the Big Deal, the business model in which scholarly publishers sell access to multiple journals by means of a single electronic subscription.

In a report published last year Aspesi warned that a combination of the global financial crisis and the rise of the Open Access (OA) movement would impact negatively on the revenues of scholarly publishers. Yet, he said, Reed Elsevier appeared to be “in denial on the magnitude of the issue potentially affecting scientific publishing”.

We are keeping our big deal with Elsevier at the College of Charleston. We get too many ILL requests for their materials to give it up. ILL would cost us more in terms of staff time and processing costs. What is your reaction to this? Is the big deal unsustainable?

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