Articles posted by Teri Koch

Issues in Scholarly Communication: Is Elsevier’s “Big Deal” a good deal for Drake?

April 11, 2019

By Rod Henshaw, Teri Koch and Laura Krossner.

This is the first of several postings that will address the significant developments within scholarly publishing and communication.  Our purpose with these blog posts is threefold: 1) identity the major recent developments; 2) examine how do these relate to our collections and services, and 3) identify emerging scholarly publishing trends, especially emerging alternative constructs to the current system. We invite feedback and dialogue!

There are a couple of macro-factors to consider as we go forward.  First is the reality that the rate of change is speeding up.   In science fiction there is a term—the singularity—in which the pace of technological change rapidly accelerates (with both positive and negative consequences).  We are approaching, if we haven’t already entered into, an analogous situation with scholarly publishing. Second, within any fluid change environment, there will be a variety of factors to consider.  The number of players in the scholarly publishing environment is large, including, but not limited to: the research processes, faculty needs, publishers, scholarly societies, libraries, technology, governmental policy, open access, and the current financial climate for higher education.  These various players are going to be in different states of evolution, responding as needed with their individual service needs and business models. One of the primary challenges as this change goes forward is making the best decisions for service at any given time. 

For this first blog we want to address The Big Deal and why it’s getting to be an even bigger deal.  And what approach we are taking for the time being.

Most of you are aware that the University of California system recently declined to renew their big package deal with Elsevier.  https://www.chronicle.com/article/U-of-California-System/245798

This development has garnered a lot of press coverage beyond the library field and on into the academic and general press at large.  This UC decision has led to strong support – with support statements coming from other institutions – including Iowa State. https://www.insidehighered.com/print/news/2019/03/27/librarians-prepare-take-harder-line-publishers

Clearly, the UC action has emboldened other major systems and institutions to review their current deals, to take a harder line with negotiations, and to potentially not review package contracts.  Here is a summary from SPARC regarding Big Deal activities: https://sparcopen.org/our-work/big-deal-cancellation-tracking/

Below we review our current approach – especially with Elsevier, and why for the time being this approach makes the best sense for us – recognizing that this may change drastically when the contract is up for renewal.

First of all, you may ask what is a “Big Deal”? Why would a library subscribe to one? A Big Deal in the sense of libraries is where an institution subscribes to a large package of journals in a publisher’s collection, often at a substantial discount off the individual list price, rather than subscribing to only the titles the institution really wants/uses.  It is usually a better deal to get the whole package than it is to subscribe to needed titles individually. Libraries can offer access to more titles, and publishers can get their lesser-used titles into the subscription package in order to boost their subscription numbers.  Think of it like your cable package. You may only want CNN and ESPN, but you end up with a bunch of other channels that you may not really want or use.  

One of the most important functions of the library is to provide access to the learning resources needed by Drake students, faculty, and staff. Obviously, with budget constraints, we cannot provide subscription access to all needed and desired content. Therefore, we aim to try to provide access to the most used resources in the most cost-effective manner possible. In recent years, this has entailed the library “breaking-up” most of the Big Deal packages offered by vendors, and instead subscribing to the most-used journal titles on an individual basis. We then purchase individual articles on an “as needed” basis through a document delivery vendor, primarily GetItNow. The cost is usually in the vicinity of $24-48 per article. This model makes sense as long as the cost of articles purchased as needed does not exceed the cost of the subscription.

Up until recently, for the vendor Elsevier, this model made the most sense. We subscribed to approximately $24,000 of Elsevier journals, and we let users download additional content on an as-needed basis via GetItNow, which the library then pays for on a monthly basis. What has changed in recent years is the skyrocketing use of GetItNow, and the library’s associated costs.

Beginning FY18, our document delivery costs began to grow each month as more patrons were downloading Elsevier articles for their research.  This was problematic for numerous reasons: first, we had already budgeted a certain amount for expected document delivery costs, and suddenly we were in the red on that budget line.  We had to scramble to come up with the funds to pay for these invoices by cutting into the book budget and staff development budget.  Second, it also became impossible to predict the cost of the monthly GetItNow invoice. This lack of budget certainty was a huge problem.  Finally, it no longer made fiscal sense to rely on document delivery.  The yearly cost of Elsevier’s Big Deal package (called the Freedom Collection) ended up being less than what we were paying buying content per article via GetItNow.

Via careful contract negotiation, Cowles Library was able to obtain favorable contract terms for the Elsevier Freedom Collection.  We signed a 5-year contract with capped inflation rates, which also includes a “budget-out” clause.  This means if our budget situation becomes so dire we are unable to pay our contracted invoice amount, we can get out of the contract with no penalties.  We also managed to negotiate access to expanded backfiles: a standard Freedom Collection offers the current year of a journal’s content plus a 4-year rolling backfile (for instance, this year we’d have access to 2019 and the 4 previous years, 2015-2018; next year, we’d have access to 2020 and 2016-2019, etc.).  Our collection gives us 1995-present content, with no rolling backfile.  Each year that we continue to pay for Elsevier content, we maintain our holdings access back to 1995.

Finally, our contract ended up costing us less than had anticipated.  It is our most expensive single resource expense (north of $100,000), but the amount of content we get access to (over 2300 journals and 23,000 books), plus now having predictable budget lines and the ability to pay less for the same content we were getting before, makes this instance of a Big Deal a great value for Drake University.

Below are the most requested GetItNow journals now included in our Freedom Collection subscription:

  • Social Science & Medicine
  • Computers in Human Behavior
  • Research in Developmental Disabilities
  • The Leadership Quarterly
  • Drug and Alcohol Dependence
  • Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
  • Psychiatry Research

In future posts we plan to address some of the other major developments in scholarly communication, and how they may impact us. Please feel free to provide feedback.

APA Style Central

December 1, 2017

Writing a term paper or even getting ready to submit for publication? APA Style Central assists all levels of researchers (undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and beyond) in the research and writing process. It offers many tools to help facilitate the writing and research process in compliance with the APA style.

Tools include:

  • quick e-guides
  • substantive video tutorials
  • self-quizzes
  • sample research papers
  • tables & figures
  • over 150 sample references
  • 19 full-text psychology related reference books
  • a writing and collaboration tool
  • a manuscript matcher to identify journal candidates for publication

 

Cowles Library adds dozens of new resources in 2017!

September 12, 2017

Cowles Library has added dozens of new resources in almost every subject category of interest to Drake students and researchers. We have created a full list, plus specialized lists based on major/discipline (and interdisciplinary, too!) Check them out at: http://researchguides.drake.edu/2017


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December 13, 2016

This post is part of a series of “Resources and Services” posts from the Faculty of Cowles Library.


INFORMATION ABOUT RESOURCE….


List of All Resources and Services announcements

Most popular:

1) New York Times Digital Subscription
2) Chronicle of Higher Education

Springer books and journals available through Cowles

March 23, 2016

This is the tenth in a series of “Resources and Services” posts from the Faculty of Cowles Library, intended to increase awareness of the quality resources and services (many of them new!) available to Drake students, faculty, and staff. Earlier posts are listed at the bottom of this page.


Cowles Library now offers direct access to ALL Springer journals and tens of thousand of Springer ebooks, with no special software required! Details follow:

I.  Springer ebooks

Access: https://library.drake.edu/find/article-databases/goto/springer-ebook-2010-2016-collections

  • Over 35,000 titles
  • 2010-2016 (with thousands more titles being added this year)
  • Many titles in Computer science, Biomedical, Life Sciences, Mathematics
  • New! Humanities, History, Social Science & Law content this year!
  • No DRM (digital rights management)
  • No software requirements; can be downloaded as a PDF
  • Unlimited printing/downloading
  • Can purchase a print copy for $24.95 for most books (if so desired)

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# of titles in Springer ebook collection 2010-16

To see the full list of titles go to this site: http://tinyurl.com/zgmzhus

  • The first worksheet shows ALL titles in the collection.
  • Subsequent worksheets show titles available in each collection, sorted by subject.
  • Interested in any particular title you see on the list?  Just copy & paste the url in “open url” column into your web browser!

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II. Springer journals

We’ve added online access to 2,000+ Springer journals from 1997 to present! https://library.drake.edu/find/article-databases/goto/springer-journals

See below for links to journals in specific disciplines:

Medicine

Internal Medicine

Biomedical Sciences

Public Health

Health Informatics

Psychology

Social Sciences

Life Sciences

Ecology

Plant Sciences

Biochemistry & Biophysics

Mathematics

Statistics

Computer Science

Physics

By joining a new library consortium we were able to provide access to these journals for less than $3 per title per year.  With a few exceptions, we now have access to ALL Springer journals.

In 2015 over 500 Drake users attempted to access 16 Springer journal titles (such as Journal of Insect Behavior, as well as Advances in Therapy) and were denied access.  These journals are all now directly available to Cowles patrons, wherever they have an Internet connection!


Previous Resources and Services announcements:

1) New York Times Digital Subscription
2) Chronicle of Higher Education
3) Oxford Very Short Introductions
4) Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily
5) Business Expert Press
6) Statista – Statistics for the Rest of Us
7) Bibliography of Native North Americans
8) JoVE Biology (and JoVE Neuroscience)
9) Filmakers’ Library Online

Business Expert Press Now Available!

September 10, 2015

This is the fifth in a series of “Resources and Services” posts from the Faculty of Cowles Library, intended to increase awareness of the quality resources and services (many of them new!) available to Drake students, faculty, and staff. Earlier posts are listed at the bottom of this page.


Cowles Library is excited to announce the addition of a new Business ebook collection: Business Expert Press (BEP)!

Business Expert Press (BEP) includes over 300 ebooks that meet the needs of business stuBEPpicturedents who want concise and practical course readings and reference works. All ebooks offer:

  • No DRM (Digital Rights Management)
  • Downloadable PDFs
  • Unlimited users

Examples of topics include:

  • Marketing and Management
  • Economic, Financial, Legal & Analytical aspects of Business
  • Information Systems
  • Business Ethics

Check out Business Expert Press!


 

Previous Resources and Services announcements:

1) New York Times Digital Subscription
2) Chronicle of Higher Education
3) Oxford Very Short Introductions
4) Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily

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