Big Deal Notes

Big Deal & How Can We Cancel Journals
Facilitated by John Carey, Notes by Jessica Spears

Various methods for cutting down on the cost of journal subscriptions were

  • Pay-per-view
  • Patron Driven Acquisition
  • Tokens which can be bought at the beginning of the year and later redeemed for articles.
  • Tiered pricing can be negotiated with the vendors.
  • Consortiums can be used to negotiate with a larger group of users.
  • “Get it now” links can be added to SFX. The patron gets the article immediately and the library gets the bill at the end of the month.
  • Leasing e-textbooks, rather than buying them.
  • Ranking journals with multiple different metrics in order to negotiate with publishers more effectively.

There are problems with the current way of paying for journals.

Embargoes on the latest issues are put in place to protect the print, even on popular and news-heavy journals where the latest issues are the only ones that patrons need.

The cost of base packages are so steep that one package is sometimes more than the entire budget for a department.

Because databases are so expensive, libraries have to limit patrons to one package when more than one would have been better.

A la carte options are not available. All you need is one or two journals, but the publisher or vendor does not offer single titles.

Springer has ads in their database. (could this be a future trend?)

You can’t browse Science or Nature from cover to cover on the online version. You have to pull up each article one at a time.

We need a version of “Rent-to-own” in which if a library pays for a certain number of articles in a journal issue, the library can buy the issue for a discounted price.

The lovely librarians from Proquest and Inspec added some insights from the publishers’ perspective.

  • Think about journal packages like TV cable. You may not need three Spanish channels but in order to get AMC, you have to get Telemundo.
  • Publishers charge database managers and indexers enormous amounts.
  • Flexible packages would be very hard on vendors, who have to get some idea of how much money they will make in the coming year.

Things to remember:

  • Cost per use is good for getting a sense of the usefulness of a journal or package.
  • The visibility and availability of a journal affects if it is used. One online journal was getting good steady use. After the library cut the journal, there was no outcry and few turn aways. When the library picked up the journal again, it got steady use again.
  • The Annals of Mathematics tried to go to a voluntary subscription model, but so many subscribers cancelled that they had to start charging again.