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re: online discussion on "bundled" subscriptions of journals foracademic libraries

How many of these were unique subscriptions? How many were even unique
subscriptions at their campuses? In the past, many of Wisconsin's
cancellations in science have been titles held by two or more libraries at
Madison. Even for a school as large as Madison, these duplications have
become redundant in the electronic journal era. (Thus, naturally, the
insistence of some publishers in counting the past duplicates in the base

But even Madison can not be able to continue along that road indefinitely.
By now, I suspect essentially all of their expensive duplicates have been
cancelled. Smaller universities, without a separate medical library, let
along an agricultural library, have reached that point some years back.

In general the advantages of the big deal are greater for small
institutions than for those large and diverse enough to get most of the
titles anyway. But such contracts will not have advantages for any of us
much longer. Since journal price increases will be proportionately larger
than budget increases, the eventual result for all is the same.

On Mon, 16 Sep 2002, Tom Murray wrote:

> A comment on the topic of big deals:  Last fall the campuses across the
> University of Wisconsin System, including Madison, cancelled a total of
> $500,000 in Elsevier subscriptions, about 30 percent of our expenditures
> with Elsevier at that time.  We have reinstated very few of those, and to
> my knowledge we have received very few complaints from faculty members or
> students.  Certainly that is true at Madison, where we cancelled $275,000
> last fall, following several other significant cancellation exercises in
> recent years.
> Over 5 years, if Elsevier prices average a 6 percent increase every year,
> the savings from last year's actions alone will total more than $2.8
> million.
> We continue to evaluate the way we spend our limited (most often flat)
> collection budgets every year.  We expect to cancel additional journals
> from Elsevier and other commercial publishers.
> If we had agreed to a big deal with Elsevier, we would not have the
> ability to critically review and revise our collection spending every
> year, and we would unnecessarily spend millions of scarce collection
> dollars.
> Tom Murray
> Director, Wendt Engineering Library
> University of Wisconsin-Madison