SUNY Could Serve As Case Study for Renegotiating Big Deal

Throughout the month of April, there was news coverage of the on-going negotiations between the State University of New York (SUNY) and Elsevier. 

In a Quick Take article appearing on April 13, Inside Higher Ed reported that, as of April 7, 2020, SUNY had cancelled their Big Deal with the content provider. 

In a statement issued by the SUNY Libraries Consortium, the rationale for non-renewal was a need for balancing price with actual usage. 

A significant driver in our decisions was a comprehensive data system and analytics service to better understand our ScienceDirect utilization and holdings. The not-for profit group, Our Research, through their service Unpaywall, spent considerable time helping us to access our usage, the impact of Open Access, and most importantly the value of the Elsevier journal offerings. Our internal analysis, coupled with the collaboration with Our Research was instrumental in reaching the decision on the titles most valuable to our university system. Rather than canceling access to all subscribed Elsevier ScienceDirect titles, the negotiating team worked with librarians around the system to develop a core list of 248 titles that we have subscribed to collectively. Our forecasting indicates that with this core set of titles and using our pre-negotiated perpetual access to ScienceDirect content for the period 2010-2019, along with Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery and a growing body of open access content, most needs for teaching, research, and scholarship should continue to be met.

Finally, on April 21, came an announcement that SUNY and Elsevier had reached a new agreement, ensuring access to 248 core titles from the ScienceDirect database. In addition, SUNY faculty would be granted a 10% discount on on article processing charges associated with open access articles appearing in Elsevier journal titles. A cost saving of $7 million was achieved in signing a the three-year deal.

Quoted in the most SUNY recent statement is Evviva Weinraub, Vice Provost for University Libraries, State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Weinraub will be participating in a forthcoming NISO webinar entitled, No More Big Deal? Picking and Choosing Titles for Use on Wednesday, June 10. Also participating as speakers in that event are Keith Webster, Dean of Libraries, Carnegie Mellon University and Darby Orcutt, Assistant Head, Collections & Research Strategy, North Carolina State University.