‘Big Deal’ Cancellations Gain Momentum is an article by Lindsay McKenzie in Inside Higher ED that describes the growing trend of libraries canceling the “Big Deal” and moving to a model where they only pay for “the journals that they need the most.” The article provides a balanced discussion of the pros and cons involved in making such a decision as well as its broader implications.
In recent years, there has been an uptick in the number of reports of libraries dropping their bundled journal deals with big publishers, which can cost upward of $1 million annually. Rather than subscribing to a large volume of journals in a publisher’s collection, often at a substantial discount off the individual list price, some institutions are choosing to pay only for the journals they determine they need the most.
Rick Anderson, associate dean for collections and scholarly communications at the Marriott Library at the University of Utah, said that more cancellations are likely, but “how big the snowball is going to get” is an unanswered question.
“Will big-deal cancellations continue to bubble along at a slow but steady pace? Will they peter out altogether as libraries and publishers work out new terms that allow the libraries to renew? Will more and more libraries cancel their big deals until publishers finally abandon them?” asked Anderson. “It’s impossible to say at this point; I think all three of those scenarios are possible, though I think the first two are more likely than the third.”…
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