Author : Cindy Sjoberg
Faced with shrinking budgets and increased subscription prices, many academic libraries are seeking ways to reduce the cost of e-journal access. A common target for cuts is the “Big Deal,” or large bundled subscription model, a term coined by Kenneth Frazier in a 2001 paper criticizing the effects of the Big Deal on the academic community.
The purpose of this literature review is to examine issues related to reducing e-journal costs, including criteria for subscription retention or cancellation, decision-making strategies, impacts of cancellations, and other options for e-journal content provision. Commonly used criteria for decision-making include usage statistics, overlap analysis, and input from subject specialists.
The most commonly used strategy for guiding the process and aggregating data is the rubric or decision grid. While the e-journal landscape supports several access models, such as Pay-Per-View, cloud access, and interlibrary loan, the Big Deal continues to dominate. Trends over the past several years point to dwindling support for the Big Deal however, due largely to significant annual rate increases and loss of content control.