Libraries should stop big deals

Peter Suber weißt auf ein Plea for Unbundling des Executive Director of Rockefeller University Press, Mike Rossner, hin: Sein Editorial (oder sollte man sagen: Hilferuf!?) erschien in den letzten Ausgaben aller(!) drei RUP-Journale: Journal of Cell Biology, Journal of Experimental Medicine und the Journal of General Physiology:

Megapublishers obligate librarians to buy hundreds of journals they do not need in order to access the journals their constituents actually read. The time has come to challenge this business model, which is unsustainable for the libraries….

For many years librarians have recognized that these package deals are not sustainable (Library Journal article, 2004), but the situation has now reached a crisis point. Librarians throughout the world are facing budget cuts in the coming fiscal year—some estimates are up to 15% in monetary terms (Van Orsdel and Born, 2009), which will result in even larger cuts in real terms as many subscription prices increase. Budget cuts, of course, translate into fewer subscriptions; this is not necessarily a bad thing, as I will discuss below. But librarians are concerned that they may have to drop important journals from smaller publishers because they are locked into multiyear deals with the megapublishers, effectively forcing them to purchase hundreds of journals they do not need….

What can publishers do to help librarians in these financially difficult times? Smaller publishers who do not have multi-year subscription deals with librarians can help by keeping their subscription prices flat for 2010. We at The Rockefeller University Press announced on April 6th that we will indeed keep our 2010 subscription rates at their 2009 levels.

The largest financial burden on biomedical research librarians, however, comes from the megapublishers, who often bundle hundreds or even thousands of online journals into a multi-year contract. At The Rockefeller University library, the subscription packages from Elsevier, Springer, Wiley-Blackwell, and Nature Publishing Group take up 69% of the total serials budget in 2009. The megapublishers should address the global financial crisis by forgiving contracted price increases and by unbundling the journals in their deals, allowing librarians to choose only the titles they want and can afford. [Fettdruck durch mich]