Purdue University Libraries in Negotiations with Elsevier
For many years, Purdue has licensed access to most journals published by Elsevier for the West Lafayette, Fort Wayne, and Northwest campuses. Usage for many of these subscriptions is high, but so is the cost, and it has risen significantly over the past decade. When we negotiate with publishers, we seek contracts that are affordable, sustainable, and transparent, but sometimes, publishers insist on significant increases that far exceed available funding. For 2020, Purdue paid a staggering $3.3M for access to Elsevier content, and we are currently in negotiations with Elsevier for journal subscriptions for 2021.
This past June, we alerted Elsevier that we must reduce Purdue’s total spend on publications by $1.5M. This reduction is necessary due to the Libraries’ allocated budget and also reflects the need for more fair and equitable pricing. Purdue pays more for Elsevier subscriptions than many of our peer institutions, and our contracts are based on a complicated and archaic pricing strategy that favors Elsevier while hurting universities like Purdue.
In July, Elsevier proposed three options for 2021 pricing, none of which met our need for a reduced cost. We offered a reasonable counter proposal in August, which Elsevier declined to consider. As of early October, we are waiting to hear back from Elsevier on another proposal, one which we hope will honor our needs. As we move forward with these negotiations, we look to the University Library Committee (ULC), a group that reports to the Senate’s University Resources and Policy Committee, for input and guidance.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.