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Are Big Deal Cancellations a Big Deal for OA Publishers?

by | Nov 4, 2021 | 0 comments


Oya Rieger, Sr. Strategist, Ithaka S+R, said that some libraries have begun exploring how to unbundle their Big Deals and explore shifting to new arrangements with publishers to emphasize OA,.  A study with 12 libraries examined the following research questions:

  • How do Big Deal cancellations affect the research expectations of users and their perception of the library?
  • How do libraries assess and monitor the impact of cancellations?
  • What are users’ strategies when their access to content changes?

Here are some of the results of the survey:

Researchers have increasing expenses; and finding funds for APCs can be difficult. Scholars are unclear and confused about changes in scholarly communication. How can OA publishers increase awareness of these problems? Are researchers the right persons to enter into transformative agreements?

Stephan Kuster, Head, Institutional Relations, Frontiers, noted that libraries do a good job so that researchers can focus on their work. OA publishers can be transparent about services, pricing, and benefits of sharing insights. We can inform researchers and the university administration about OA publishing. Each time an author publishes an OA article, it results in a saving of funds for their university. What happens when researchers lose access die to a cancellation?  Some researchers have access to alternative ways of getting content.The right way to judge is to look at the fraction of content that is open. Unbundling and cancelling a Big Deal should be complementary and a combination of all options. The amount of transformed content is still very little. We cannot expect people outside of academia to understand the terms if we are unclear about them ourselves.

Mihoko Hosoi: Associate Dean, Pennsylvania State University (PSU), said that researchers’ awareness needs to be elevated. We need to say a lot more about the benefits of OA and also say more about what librarians do. Researchers have a lot to gain by sharing their findings because they get wider visibility, more citations and increase their value. At PSU, librarians are faculty members, so they can go to their meetings and discuss what they do. Subject librarians have the opportunity to collaborate more with publishers. Libraries have limited resources, so it is difficult to promote OA but this can be an opportunity to advance OA publishing. We need to talk about creating and sharing knowledge for the public good. At some institutions, OA is clearly recognized, so one approach may not work with everyone. OA offers by publishers are increasing and have different models. We need to collaborate with OA publishers. We need to consider some gold transformative deals and make sure they are really transformative. If they are partially OA, that will be a problem for librarians. We must think about operational issues in addition to budgets. Librarians need to develop procedures for dealing with offers from publishers. It is hard to do it independently.

Don Hawkins
Charleston Conference Blogger




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