NASIG 2020 has ended
NASIG will be an online conference, June 9-11. It will be free, but registration will be required. Registration closes 5 June. Please see our Code of Conduct.

Times listed below are Eastern Daylight Time (GMT-4). The sessions listed at 5 PM on 11 June will be prerecorded and will be available when the conference begins. Please tweet about this session using the hashtag #NASIG2020.

Announcing the 35th Annual NASIG Conference Online 
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Thursday, June 11 • 5:00pm - 5:45pm
When to Hold Them, When to Fold Them: Reassessing Big Deals in 2020

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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.

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Recording (YouTube)
Discussion Forum

avatar for Elizabeth Parang

Elizabeth Parang

Research & Instruction Librarian, Pepperdine University
I have been a member of NASIG since 1989, was the Secretary for 2004/2005-2005/2006, have served on five committees, attended all NASIG conferences from 1989-2013, and have written up many presentations.
avatar for Jeremy Whitt

Jeremy Whitt

Head of Collection Development and Assessment, Pepperdine University

Thursday June 11, 2020 5:00pm - 5:45pm EDT