Many institutions are contemplating how to approach licensing negotiations, with an eye toward reducing spend or eliminating Big Deals entirely.  While this resource provides a number of tools to help you understand market rates and typical terms for these agreements, you can further improve your negotiating leverage by exploring how other libraries have successfully navigated this process.  To that end, here are a few materials that may be instructive:

  • No Big Deal? News and links about big journal bundles and strategic budget choices facing libraries.  This comprehensive resource provides news updates, issue briefs, and suggested actions pertaining to Big Deal negotiations and cancellations.  It also includes a succinct primer for faculty on the current state of Big Deals.
  • Championing Change in Journal Negotiations. The University of California’s Office of Scholarly Communication has written a brief that seeks to engage the entire UC academic community in a coordinated effort to responsibly transition funding for journal subscriptions toward funding for open dissemination.  It includes a call to action, strategic priorities for journal negotiations, and a review of the stakeholders who can and should be brought into the discussion.
  • Is It Such a Big Deal? On the Cost of Journal Use in the Digital Era. This peer-reviewed study provides evidence that, while big deal bundles do decrease the mean price per subscribed journal, academic libraries receive less value for their investment. It details how university researchers cite only a fraction of journals purchased by their libraries, that this fraction is decreasing, and that the cost per cited journal has increased. These findings explore how publishers use product differentiation and price strategies to increase sales and profits, often at the expense of university and scientific stakeholders.
  • Open Statement: Why UC terminated journal negotiations with Elsevier.  This letter from the University of California negotiating team details what UC sought to attain in its renewal terms, how faculty and university leadership were engaged in the negotiating process, and how the library plans to address the cancellation’s impact on faculty and researchers.
  • Leaving the Big Deal: Consequences and Next Steps. This presentation discusses the experience of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and the University of Oregon in leaving Big Deals, provides data on impacts on interlibrary loans, community response, and collection budgets, details the steps required before and after the decision, and describes the benefits that other libraries could achieve.
  • University of Kansas Email from University Leadership to KU Faculty.  This memo, co-authored by the University Librarian and the Interim Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor provides an update to faculty on the state of Big Deal negotiations.  It is a good example of how to ensure researchers are kept apprised of the conditions informing possible cancellations, as well as the library’s plans to ensure alternative access arrangements in the event that subscriptions are not renewed.
  • Louisiana State University Faculty Senate Resolution on Elsevier Subscription Package. This succinct statement provides helpful language to engender faculty support for renegotiating Big Deal terms.
  • European University Association 2019 Big Deals Survey Report.  This report provides a good overview of the state of Big Deals in Europe.  It includes a wealth of information relevant to libraries worldwide, including detailed sections on critical topics such as “Bringing Subscriptions and Article Processing Charges Under the Same Contract” and “The Quest for Transformative Agreements”.

If you have a resource that can enhance this list, or if you would like to share your own story, please contact us.

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