Over the past few decades, the cost of journal subscriptions has increased at a rapid rate, outpacing inflation and library budgets. In particular, large journal packages with major publishers - commonly referred to as "big deals" - are more and more financially unsustainable and under scrutiny. Libraries and institutions around the world are taking a stand against predatory models of publishing and cancelling their "big deal" contracts.
At the Mason Libraries, we are tracking these developments and, where we hold contracts in partnership with other Virginia institutions, we are working with them to negotiate a more sustainable model. With our Virginia Research Libraries (VRL) consortium colleagues - University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University, Old Dominion University, College of William and Mary, and James Madison University - we will soon be in contract negotiations with Elsevier, the largest science, technology, engineering, and math scholarly publisher. In preparation, we are reviewing our "big deal" spending, and we have gathered our annual costs and future projections for Elsevier and other major subscriptions for disclosure to our Mason community.
As part of a public institution, we are mindful of our role as responsible stewards of state funds as well as our commitment to ensure research is publicly available to advance knowledge for the benefit of our community and global society. Going forward, our aim is to demand and invest in less exploitative scholarly communications ecosystems, in which research is more publicly available - advancing knowledge for the benefit of all.
VRL Joint Statements
- Statement of Virginia Research Libraries on UC-System's Elsevier Action
- Virginia Research Libraries Endorse MIT Framework for Publisher Contracts
- Virginia Research Libraries host virtual forum in advance of Elsevier negotiations
- 2020 Summary of Facts for Leaders
- Sustainable Scholarship Virtual Forum (October 2, 2020) full recording and transcript
- Invitation to Mason faculty to join the conversation on Sustainable Scholarship
- Six Things Mason Faculty & Researchers Need to Know about the UC System Walking Away from Elsevier
- Open Access Publishing
- Open Educational Resources
Recommended articles on the history and future of scholarly publishing models
- "The Impact of Big Deal Breaks on Library Consortia: An Exploratory Case"
- "Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?"
- "Untangling Academic Publishing: A history of the relationship between commercial interests, academic prestige and the circulation of research"
- "The prehistory of biology preprints: A forgotten experiment from the 1960s"
- "Sustaining Values and Scholarship: A Statement by the Provosts of the Big Ten Academic Alliance"
- "Inequality in Knowledge Production: The Integration of Academic Infrastructure by Big Publishers"
- "The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era"
- "Evaluating big deal journal bundles"