What’s the “Big Deal”? Update on Contract Negotiations with Elsevier

Posted on: November 17, 2020

As Libraries Dean Bethany Nowviskie shared with the Faculty Senate earlier this year, JMU is in negotiations with Elsevier, one of the world’s largest and most profitable academic publishers. A revision to our Elsevier contract is on a faster-than-expected timeline due to financial pressures associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

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We’re not going it alone

We are renegotiating the terms of the “Big Deal,” a bundled package of scientific journals, as part of a coalition that includes seven public doctoral institutions in Virginia. We seek to unbundle the package in 2021, only subscribing to the journals our campuses actually use and need. Our aim is to provide other articles on demand through Interlibrary Loan and other legal means of open and alternative access. This consortial work aims to ensure we provide our university communities with the resources needed to research, teach, and learn—while we continue to be responsible stewards of state funds.

Watch our video

In this 11-minute summary video, Dean Nowviskie and other Virginia library leaders provide an overview of the unsustainable nature of the current scholarly publishing ecosystem and the specific concerns motivating our current contract negotiations. Among other benefits of ending the “Big Deal” is our increased ability to invest in other needed publications and datasets.

Learn what’s next

We are committed to providing access to the materials you need for research and teaching. As part of this commitment, we are analyzing journal cost and usage in light of our key concerns—cost and equity. Further updates will be shared on our Sustainable Scholarship Latest Updates pageQuestions? Please contact your liaison librarian.

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