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RE: query about the Big Deal

Hi All

With response to one of David's comments: "Two things struck me 
as particularly interesting. Firstly, the deafening silence from 
faculty as access to little-used content was withdrawn."

It might be interesting, but it certainly is not surprising.  At 
the institutions I've worked, many faculty have resigned 
themselves to the fact that "support" is frequently exercised as 
"We know best, and we will tell you what is going to happen. You 
stick to teaching, we'll stick to [admin | performance appraisal 
systems | IT | Library reseources| [insert other support service 
here]."  Student systems are changed, LMSs changed, journals 
cancelled, support for conferences altered, etc.  Fairly or 
unfairly, the impression gained by faculty is that their input, 
if obtained at all, is called for after a decision has already 
been made.  The faculty input process is done merely to identify 
the objections so that counter-arguments can be made.  It's also 
a good way to identify "trouble-makers," those who are not "team 
players" and who "don't understand the big picture." 
Consultation sessions are little more than information 
dissemination sessions.  Shut up and put up.

There's also a second, cleaver tactic that I've seen used: Make a 
few extra proposals that are so outrageous that even the support 
people don't believe them.  Then when objections are raised by 
faculty, agree to drop those.  This action serves as proof that 
the faculty input was taken seriously.

Unfortunately, it has a secondary negative spin-off.  When 
someone from a support department does try to consult, they are 
not taken seriously, because faculty believe it's a just a waste 
of time, and the cycle continues.




Dr. Ken Masters
Asst. Professor: Medical Informatics
Medical Education Unit
College of Medicine & Health Sciences
Sultan Qaboos University
Sultanate of Oman
E-i-C: The Internet Journal of Medical Education

> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: query about the Big Deal
> From: David Prosser <david.prosser@rluk.ac.uk>
> Date: Fri, July 01, 2011 5:09 am
> To: "liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu" <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
> I think you make a good point about faculty involvement.  Some 
> institutions have gone for cancellation by stealth, but others 
> have consulted widely on their campuses and worked with the 
> faculty to both a) explain the problem and b) get feedback on 
> what constitutes the core titles for each subject.  However, 
> few libraries have issued press release trumpeting reduced 
> access - which was my point on under-reporting.
> I must say that I was very encouraged by Scott's narrative of 
> how a well-managed retreat from the big deal can be a positive 
> event on campus.  I have also just seen a fascinating 
> presentation from Jonathan Nabe at Southern Illinois University 
> Carbondale on their withdrawal from the big deal:
> http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/morris_confs/14/
> Two things struck me as particularly interesting.  Firstly, the
> deafening silence from faculty as access to little-used content
> was withdrawn.  Secondly, the low conversation rate from
> downloads to ILL requests.  It looks as if there is a lot of
> 'casual' reading of content.
> The strategy of title-by-title selection for core journals
> supplemented by ILL for rarely used material is exactly the
> strategy that UK members of RLUK will adopt if we are unable to
> reach satisfactory conclusions in our current negotiations with
> the largest publishers.  It is reassuring to see examples where a
> retreat from the big deal has been achieved with both financial
> savings and low user disquiet.
> David
> On 29 Jun 2011, at 04:10, claudia holland wrote:
>> Thank you for sharing this information, David.
>> I would like to know what experience others have had with
>> including faculty, who would be affected by journal
>> cancellations, in the decision-making process. Granted this may
>> open a can of worms better left sealed, but wouldn't this open
>> approach inform faculty of the fact that their library is
>> experiencing cutbacks or a flat budget and cannot continue to
>> provide access to content they may, in fact, rely on for research
>> purposes (let's ignore the infrequently used aspect). Should
>> faculty be part of this process? Would/does this approach
>> minimize the potential backlash to journal cancellations on the
>> library or would it simply bog down the inevitable?
>> Claudia Holland