Thursday, July 30, 2020

Unbundling the Big Deal: An interview with SUNY’s Shannon Pritting

The Big Deal has been a topic of heated discussion among librarians for some twenty or more years now. When first introduced, the attraction of the Big Deal was immediately obvious, since it allows a library to buy its faculty access to most, if not all, of a publisher’s journals at a much lower “cost per article” (discounted) rate. From the start, however, there were doubters.

Shannon Pritting

In 2001, the Director of Libraries at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Kenneth Frazier, warned the library community of the dangers of signing big deals, or any comprehensive licensing agreement, with commercial publishers.

“The current generation of library directors is engaged in a dangerous ‘game’ in which short-term institutional benefits are achieved at the long-term expense of the academic community,” he warned, adding that big deals would weaken libraries’ ability to manage their journal collections, foist on them journals they “neither need nor want” and increase their dependence on publishers “who have already shown their determination to monopolize the information marketplace.”

Nevertheless, many libraries did sign big deals. And many later regretted it, not least because, having done so, they felt they had no choice but to keep renewing the contract, even as the cost kept going up and devoured more and more of their budget. 

Libraries felt trapped, conscious that if they did not renew they would have to go back to subscribing to individual journals at list price, which would mean being able to afford access to fewer journals, and fearful that when they discovered that journals they wanted were no longer available, faculty would revolt.

Over time, however, a greater willingness to think the unthinkable emerged, and some libraries began to cancel their big deals. And when they did so the sky did not fall in – which allowed other libraries to take heart.

The list maintained here suggests that libraries began cancelling their big deals as long ago as 2008, but the number doing so has been accelerating in the last few years. What has really focussed minds are the recent decisions by both the University of California and MIT to walk away from their negotiations with Elsevier rather than renew their big deals.

But it is not necessary to walk away completely in the way UC and MIT have done. Instead, libraries can “unbundle” their Big Deal by replacing the large package of several thousand journals they are subscribed to with a small à la carte bundle of a few hundred journals, and in the process save themselves a great deal of money.

What is helping libraries to make the decision to unbundle is the knowledge that more and more research is becoming available on an open access basis. In addition, new tools like Unsub are available to advise them on which journals they can cancel without too great an impact, and which journals are essential and so should be retained. 

Given the big savings that can be realised, and the pressure library budgets are under, unbundling is expected to grow, particularly in light of the straitened circumstances that libraries will find themselves in after the pandemic.

This year a number of US universities have unbundled in favour of smaller packages of journals, including UNC Chapel Hill, Iowa State University and the State University of New York (SUNY) -- a system of 64 institutions. Coming in the wake of UC’s decision to walk away from Elsevier these little deals have attracted a lot of attention. 

In Europe, by contrast, there is a greater focus right no on signing transformative agreements. In addition to providing reading rights, these new-style big deals include prepaid publishing rights to allow faculty to publish their articles on an open access basis. Amongst other things, these deals help assuage concerns about double dipping (where a university may end up paying both article-processing charges and subscriptions for the same journals). 

So how is a decision to unbundle made, and what are the issues and implications of making the decision? To get a clearer picture I spoke recently by email with Shannon Pritting, Shared Library Services Platform Project Director at SUNY. In April, SUNY replaced its Big Deal of 2,200 journals with Elsevier with a “little deal” of just 248 journals. By doing so, it says, it has saved about $7 million.

Unbundling raises a lot of questions, and I suspect we may not have answers to all of the questions for some time.

For instance, as more and more universities unbundle, how accurate will the calculations informing the decisions about which journals to give up and which to keep prove to be over time? This could have implications for, amongst other things, how much of the money that has been saved will need to be spent on obtaining paywalled articles through Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and document delivery services.

Moreover, since unbundling appears currently to be mainly a US thing (with Europe favouring transformative agreements) might we see a geographical divide emerge? If we do, what might the implications of this be, especially for the open access movement?

In addition, might unbundling encourage more researchers to use illegal services like Sci-Hub, and might unbundling see university libraries marginalised to some extent, especially if they do not play an active role in funding open access?

Please read on for the interview. 


The interview begins …

RP: SUNY consists of 64 campuses I believe. Do they all publish research papers, or is it primarily the 4 main campuses?

SP: SUNY consists of 60 campuses. The additional 4 are Cornell Statutory colleges, which don’t rely on SUNY for services such as library access. The majority of publishing comes from the 4 University Centers, but there are many other faculty who publish research.

SUNY has doctoral granting colleges with scholars who produce research in specialized areas, and it has 13 University Colleges with graduate programs and faculty who have publishing and research expectations for promotion and tenure. 

RP: How many papers a year in total does SUNY publish?

SP: According to data gathered through Dimensions, over the past five years (2015-2019), SUNY faculty and staff have published on average 9,960 papers.

Over this term, publishing is split virtually evenly between Open Access and Subscription Based publishing.

RP: You referred to 4 University Centers. I am thinking that these are Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, and Stony Brook. You also referred to 4 Cornell Statutory colleges and said they do not rely on SUNY for services like library access. So the number of published papers you cite does not include all of the campuses?

SP: The 4 University Centers (Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, and Stony Brook) are included in the numbers of papers affiliated with SUNY authors. These 4 university centers participate fully with SUNY.

But, there are 4 Cornell Statutory colleges that rely on Cornell for library and other support. These are NYS College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at Cornell University, NYS College of Human Ecology at Cornell University, NYS School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, and NYS College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University.

These statutory colleges are not included in the number of papers published.

RP: How many of the open access papers you refer to are published as gold OA and how many as hybrid OA? And how do you expect these figures to change in the next few years? Also, how much do SUNY libraries pay each year in gold OA fees?

SP: For 2019, there were 1,035 SUNY papers published as gold OA, with 461 being published as hybrid. Over the five-year period from 2015-2019, SUNY authors published on average 1,361 gold open access articles and 565 hybrid open access articles per year.

No SUNY libraries currently pay for OA fees. These costs are paid directly by the author or the department, and payment data is not centrally managed.

We expect that OA fees paid by SUNY authors will remain relatively stable, as most agencies who provide grant funding have already implemented OA requirements.

RP: SUNY does not therefore know how much is spent on APCs each year by SUNY faculty?

SP: No, SUNY does not have a reliable estimate of how much is spent on APCs by SUNY faculty.

RP: Is there a SUNY-wide OA policy, or does each campus have its own separate policy?

SP: There is a system wide open access policy, approved by the SUNY Board of Trustees in March 2018. This policy requires that the Universities (but not community colleges) should develop and adopt open access policies for each institution.

The community colleges are encouraged, but not required, to adopt open access policies. Of the 30 universities, 21 currently have open access policies, with all 30 expected to have policies by December 2020.

Three community colleges have open access policies, with the expectation that only a few more will develop open access policies. We have collected institutional open access policies into a repository that you can view here.

For the most part, SUNY institutional OA policies leave the decision of whether to publish open access or deposit works into repositories with the faculty.

A major focus of SUNY in open access has been through Open Educational Resources (OER), which has led to major improvements in college affordability, and improvements in teaching and learning.

The investment in OER came from NY State Government, with $12 million invested in OER over three years, that has resulted in nearly $50 million in savings, and improved teaching and learning outcomes.


RP: SUNY recently unbundled its Big Deal with Elsevier, reducing the number of journals it subscribes to from 2,200 to 248. As I understand it from a recent Sciencearticle, SUNY used Unsub to help it decide which journals to give up, and this estimated that a modest number of subscriptions would be enough to supplement the large numbers of Elsevier papers already available outside of paywalls. Of the papers SUNY researchers can access under the new arrangement, the calculation was that 30% of the papers that faculty are likely to need access to are available open access and, thanks to a post-termination agreement (PTA) with Elsevier, 25% will remain freely available to faculty from Elsevier. This does not imply that 45% will need to be ordered via document delivery services right?

SP: SUNY partnered with Unsub (at the time Unpaywall Journals) to model costs and access options if we decided to cancel or unbundle our Elsevier Big Deal. The percentage you mention of 45% of content not being immediately accessible isn’t something that the Unsub data generally provided as a data point. Although the Unsub data varied by journal, the percentage that wouldn’t be immediately accessible was typically below 20%.

Although there was a lot of scepticism about the reliability of Unsub data and modelling in predicting costs post-cancellation, the tool and services helped us to think critically about all other data we were using to determine value. In the end, most SUNYs found that Unsub data was useful, and as reliable as other sources that we were using to determine the value of a big deal.

Certainly, Post-Termination Access helps with providing immediate access. However, I don’t think that any campus expects that either 45% or 20% of the usage would translate into document delivery purchases. Everyone understands that journal usage data is inflated, flawed, and doesn’t reflect true usage and value. Yet, most forecasts of costs after cancellation or unbundling are based on vendor provided usage data.

Once you provide any barrier such as requesting a purchase, ILL, or anything but directly downloading a PDF or HTML document, the percentage of users who will actually try to request is very small.

So we expect minimal increase in document delivery costs as a result of changing the Big Deal to a smaller, focused package. And, if libraries find that users are requesting via ILL or document delivery a high amount of articles from any specific journal, they can always subscribe to a single journal if it’s cost effective.

Overall, the strategy was that the big deal provides access to a lot of content, but our big deal wasn’t an effective use of our money; it was worth it to see what actually happens after we changed our subscription.

And, I expect that we’ll see the same trends and results that other consortia and libraries have seen: a cancellation of a big deal doesn’t lead to resulting increased costs for article purchasing or ILL that is anywhere near what a subscription to that large set of journals costs. Most users will find alternative sources as the user usually doesn’t need a specific article, but just needs an article that is relevant to the topic.

In the end, SUNY’s decision was based on the simple equation of whether 2,200 journals was worth the amount we were paying for the Big Deal, and not the fear of what the costs would be for guaranteeing the same type of access to the 2,200 journals as we had when we subscribed to the bundle.  Just as important as determining whether we could provide access to papers we would lose from the bundled titles was determining how many of these 2,200 journals we needed.

This work took just as much time or more than cost modelling. It involved outreach by many librarians with faculty and administration across SUNY. SUNY also hosted several coordinated open forums with faculty about the Elsevier deal, and engaged with Faculty governance and administration at the system and campus levels. Certainly usage data informed the journals we targeted for the 248, but equally important was input from our user community that was led by librarians.

We certainly had to walk through various data-driven scenarios of costs after cancellation, value of the package based on usage (and what journals were most important) to ensure we were gathering input and managing the change that comes from moving away from a Big Deal. But, the decision for SUNY was based on whether we valued the journals enough to pay the amount the vendor required us to pay to maintain that access.

In the end, it wasn’t in the best interests of SUNY to continue with the Big Deal. 

Individual title subscriptions

RP: As you indicate, the Elsevier unbundled deal assumes that any campus or department that needs access to journals not in the smaller bundle can subscribe separately. Do you have any sense of how many such subscriptions might be taken out/have been taken out? Presumably, they would need to be funded with money outside the library budget.

SP: The expectation is that campuses who want to subscribe to journals outside of the 248 titles that most of SUNY gets is that the library subscribes to the journal separately at list price. This funding would be coming from the individual library budget, and would be funded with savings from the difference between what the library would have contributed to the previous big deal and the smaller 248 title deal.

There have been very few individual title subscriptions for Elsevier titles that were lost in the change to the smaller unbundled deal. The global pandemic began to impact the US just after the new unbundled deal was finalized, which resulted in libraries immediately beginning to limit spending, and then begin to cut budgets.

The savings from the change from the Big Deal to an unbundled deal provided campuses with the ability to weather drastic cuts, and many used the savings to help meet the need to quickly cut spending and budgets.

RP: Presumably the figure of 25% of articles that will be freely available as a result of the PTA with Elsevier will grow over time, in line with the number of new papers published in Elsevier journals that are not covered by the PTA?

SP: There will be some growth in the percentage of content that our users may want, but don’t have immediate access to as our Post Termination access grows less current. However, the percent increase and the costs of access will not be enough of a percentage to come close to the difference in what our previous deal cost our institutions, and what our current subscription will cost.

SUNY would prefer to look at the aggregate savings built by the years it will take for our PTA to age as a major advantage to unbundling. In essence, as the industry shifts and more consortia and large libraries break subscriptions, the market for journal access will only be more advantageous to the subscriber in the future.

Thinking of growth over time in the amount of content that our users can’t access via PTA, or a subscription, assumes that the value of a subscription or journal package will only grow. It’s clear that the value of big deals is declining, so future deals should only be more advantageous.

If SUNY does find it more cost effective to enter into another big deal or “re-bundle” what it recently unbundled, future deals should be better than the deal we had, which was based on historical metrics.

RP: Of those papers that will be available open access how many do you estimate will be the Version of Record (VoR) and how many are likely to be self-archived versions – e.g. preprint, Authors Accepted Manuscript (AAM), or some other version that is not the VoR? Does the version matter?

SP: This is a tough question to answer, but based on experience searching for content and assisting users, I’d say that about half of the access would be content that is other than the Version of Record. In most cases, the Version of Record is not needed. But, when it is needed, this is where document delivery purchasing would be used. 

ILL and document delivery services

RP: So, SUNY uses both ILL and document delivery services for obtaining articles in journals it does not subscribe to. Can you say which services are used and how many documents on average are ordered each year via a) ILL and b) document delivery services? How do you expect those figures to change going forward?

SP:Our primary vendor for document delivery is Reprints Desk. A few institutions also use Copyright Clearance Center’s “Get it Now” service, but this is only for a small percentage of the document delivery volume. SUNY Libraries use the lowest cost vendor for document delivery, and for all but a few percent of articles, Reprints Desk is the lowest cost option.

Based on 5 years of ILL data (2015-19) SUNY has 300,000 total ILL requests per year (both lending and borrowing) for books and articles. Considering that half of ILL requests are for articles, and half of the requests are lending, about 100,000 requests are for ILL articles per year.

Over this five-year span, total ILL volume has decreased a few percent per year. I expect that the total volume of ILL will continue to decrease, especially for articles. Every consortium that has cancelled big deals has found that there has been little impact on overall ILL volume.

Of the 100,000 articles requested in SUNY each year, about 25% are for content published within the last five years, which has the potential to incur costs for access. ILL departments are already doing a fine job providing access to current content as a supplement or alternative to subscriptions, and will be a reliable source to provide access for any content that is needed but not available via subscription.

SUNY libraries have regularly found that providing access to journals via ILL and document delivery is more cost effective than subscribing to journals that have high subscription costs.

SUNY doesn’t currently have data on how many document delivery purchases are made per year, but we are working with our primary document delivery provider to gather this data to use as another point of consideration when we consider access options.

RP: Do you have any sense of how much SUNY libraries generally pay for document delivery and ILL services each year?

SP: The amount that SUNY pays for document delivery and ILL services each year varies between institutions. Typically, smaller institutions don’t pay for document delivery, with our largest few institutions paying from $50,000 to $100,000. But we don’t currently have reliable detailed data on this document delivery spending in aggregate across our 60 institutions as each campus pays separately.

Although our campuses will continue to decrease the amount of content such as journals that they license, we expect to see only a slight increase in document delivery costs. Users typically find alternative paths to journal articles if libraries don’t subscribe, whether it’s open access or alternative versions of a paper.

Document delivery is used only in limited circumstances, and we expect the percentage of articles that are available without a subscription to continue to increase. Most of the SUNYs also have enabled Unpaywall integration in their link resolvers, so open access is provided as an option whenever possible.

RP: I understand it costs between $35 and $40 per article to order via Reprints Desk. In addition, there will be costs for ILL. An article from 2015 estimates the cost of ILL at between $8-$10 per item. Does that sound about right?

SP: We have reasonably reliable data about the number of transactions where campuses have paid copyright (which in this case includes purchasing the article from a document delivery provider) and the number is 16,250 per year. Your estimate of $35-$40 per article is fair, so our document delivery and copyright spending would be roughly $568,750 dollars per year. However, some of the heaviest requested publications such as Nature, and even Elsevier publications, cost less than $25 per article.

We think that there is a fair amount of open access that gets purchased or requested via ILL, especially in hybrid journals. This is why we’re excited that Reprints Desk has an open access filter that some libraries are using. As you’re likely aware, finding open access in hybrid publications is often not easy.

Using your estimate of $8-10 per article for ILL, which I find reasonable, you’re correct that the spending on ILL for articles ordered from other libraries via resource sharing would be around $670,000 per year.  SUNY continues to try to minimize this cost by assessing costs of resource sharing systems and networks to ensure that we’re getting our best value for the resource sharing we need to serve our users.

When we were using the Unsub post-cancellation cost modelling tool, they defaulted to $17 per request based on older estimates from ILL literature. Even with this higher ILL estimate, the model still indicated that most of our campuses should subscribe to only a small group of journals.

RP: Ok, so as a rough estimate we can say that SUNY Libraries are receiving about 100,000 article requests a year from faculty. Of these about 16,250 will be supplied via document delivery services (at a cost of around $568,750) and some 83,750 will be supplied via ILL (at a cost of about $670,000). So the total cost of fulfilling individual article requests will be around $1.238 million a year. Does SUNY operate a mediated document delivery service, or can faculty go online and order documents without the library needing to be involved?

SP: Some SUNY institutions provide an unmediated document delivery service, typically facilitated through an ILL workflow. However, most document delivery purchasing comes as a supplement to Interlibrary Loan requests, where libraries are purchasing articles rather than pay copyright royalties, lending fees, or to prevent slow service.  About half of the SUNY institutions are using a locally developed software middleware system called Article Gateway to facilitate unmediated document delivery through ILL.

Unmediated document delivery is always provided for a limited number of titles that are most cost effective to use via document delivery article access rather than subscriptions for the entire campus.

Many of our campuses are small, but offer advanced degrees in specialized areas. As many STEM publishers use metrics that utilize types and level of programs for subscription rates, document delivery is an attractive option to provide access to resources as subscription costs are often beyond the ability of these small campuses to afford. 

Illegal services and big deals

RP: You say you expect minimal increase in document delivery costs as a result of changing from a big deal to a smaller deal because “Once you provide any barrier such as requesting a purchase, ILL, or anything but directly downloading a PDF or HTML document, the percentage of users who will actually try to request is very small.” Is there any concern that by unbundling the library could encourage users to access illegal services like Sci-Hub?

SP: Certainly, SUNY values the work that publishers do, including Elsevier. SUNY wishes to continue its relationship with Elsevier moving forward, as we’ll continue for multiple years to have at least a group of 248 titles.

However, I think what unbundling does is focus the review not purely on cost per use, which inflates the value of a subscription. This point has been on Instead, the focus becomes more on the value of the usage you’re getting for the amount you’re paying, not purely letting usage drive the value discussion.

By looking at link resolver data you can find that users often land on records of articles to which they have access, load the pdf into a browser, but never engage with the article. So, with content they do not have access to they may come to a record but never take the next step of ordering the article via ILL.

We realize that the best case scenario for everyone would be that bundles of the highest quality content were available at prices that were slowly decreasing to acknowledge that the cost of IT infrastructure is going down, so journal hosting prices should go down. But, that’s not the offers that are typically coming from publishers. Library budgets, at least in SUNY, are declining, so increasing costs lead us to make tough decisions about which of the subscriptions to cut.

The proposition that unbundling will lead to more use of illegal access and that this is a problem that the library or libraries should solve isn’t one that is fair to libraries. It’s not that libraries are seeking to offer less content to their users; they just can’t afford increasing prices.

We hope that, instead of illegal services becoming more common open access and open science becomes more prevalent and shifts the readership models to open access rather than Sci-Hub or models that aren’t connected to legitimate organizations. 

RP: How many big deals does SUNY currently have and with whom?

SP: SUNY is not a consortium that has historically collaborated on big deals for content. This is partially due to the diversity of types of institutions, and partially due to capacity at the central office. The Elsevier Big Deal was the only major full-text deal SUNY had.

SUNY has historically had a large package of aggregator content labelled SUNYConnect that all campuses subscribe to. However, beyond the Elsevier deal and SUNYConnect, there is currently very little content that the 60 institutions or large groups within the system coordinate purchasing on.

SUNY is working to do more coordinated collection activity, and will consider big deals if the offer is appropriate.

However, with most big deals, there is such a wide variety of content that we don’t anticipate finding many deals that will benefit enough of SUNY to pursue. The overall management overhead for big deals is also something we thought about in depth as we moved from the Elsevier big deal to an unbundled group.

With smaller unbundled coordinated collecting, the opportunity to change strategies or to cancel is less overwhelming, and outweighs the benefit of access to journals in bulk. 

Transformative agreements

RP: Has SUNY signed any transformative agreements? If so, with whom? If not does it plan to?

SP: SUNY as a system, or as individual institutions, has not signed any transformative agreements. At this point, it seems unlikely that SUNY would enter into any large-scale transformative agreements in the near future.

The culture and organizational structure of SUNY is such that individual authors have been paying open access fees. Although SUNY libraries are largely supportive of movements towards open such as open access and open educational resources, the financial implications of transformative agreements would be difficult for most SUNY libraries to justify.

SUNY library budgets will continue to be negatively impacted, so the focus will likely be on getting the most relevant access over the next 3-5 years. However, SUNY will continue to ask for terms and discounts for publishing open access as much as possible.

When a commitment to dedicate funds away from current access to supporting open access comes into play with negotiations, SUNY will likely continue to prioritize current access. An overlooked portion of the SUNY-Elsevier unbundled deal was a 10% discount on Elsevier APCs for SUNY Authors, which is typical of the approach we’ll likely be taking with other deals.

If we can include terms that are advantageous to authors moving towards open access, we’ll do so, but won’t sacrifice access or incur more costs to move from a read to read and publish strategy.

RP: You say that SUNY libraries are not responsible for paying any gold OA fees and that payment data is not centrally managed. Do you think there is a danger that by not being involved in the management of APCs, and by unbundling, SUNY libraries might be risking marginalising themselves to some extent? I note in this paper the authors say, “Studies have shown that interlibrary loan often does not increase following journal cancellations, but rather than being good news, this may represent a decrease in perceived library value by researchers. Open Access will also play a critical and increasing role in this environment, and understanding its relation to the content at hand will be important in building a robust and sustainable research support system.”

The paper also suggests that unbundling could, over the longer term, have a negative impact on smaller institutions that rely on their larger peers to supply ILL requests. I wonder also if, as we see more institutions breaking their Big Deals, the ILL system could start to come under pressure.

Do you have any thoughts on these matters?

SP: As a direct response to the quote about ILL volume not increasing after big deal cancellations representing a decrease in “perceived library value,” this statement indicates something that I’ve never fully understood.

Libraries see it as their responsibility to figure ways to keep providing the same content, even if the deals get worse and cripple the organization further. Why wouldn’t libraries see this not as a referendum on the value of the library, but as an indicator of how much the exact content they were subscribing to mattered. I realize things are always complex in these situations, but libraries shouldn’t tie up their value with keeping specific subscriptions. Libraries offer so much more than just access to articles.

Regarding risking being marginalized if SUNY doesn’t focus on transformative agreements or continuing to find ways to subscribe to large journal packages: I agree that unbundling should signal a shift in how libraries focus on access. And, SUNY certainly isn’t against transformative agreements or subscribing to bundles of journals that make sense financially.

However, focusing on licensing agreements with publishers as the main vehicle will likely lead to further issues in the future where libraries again cannot sustain the costs of the endeavours they’re focusing on.

SUNY will be focusing on ways we can help our system’s faculty and staff participate more in open access publishing to make their intellectual property and research more accessible to all.  We can be sure that publishers and vendors will be partners with us as we begin to move more into open access strategies. But, APCs and transformative agreements should be analysed in our overall context regarding increasing access for SUNY faculty, staff, and students and making the output of SUNY faculty, staff, and students more accessible to the larger community.

Certainly, ILL and availability of articles is something to be aware of, especially if more large subscription reductions and unbundling continue. ILL departments have seen staffing reductions, which has led to a focus on streamlining workflows, and has brought about a decade’s worth of focus in ILL (at least in the US) that has seen most of the innovation going towards automation.

What ILL has lacked is a large-scale investment in focusing on the larger ecosystem, which includes better terms in licensing and the ability to offer new services rather than just offering the same services more efficiently. But, I think there’s going to be a real shift in libraries moving more towards collections services, which includes ILL.

For example, Princeton has adopted this model, which focuses on both access and collections. There needs to be better structural support for ILL, so that consortial coordination of collection and access for things like journals can happen. SUNY discussed all of this when we were considering unbundling, and although we focused for the past six months on showing libraries how to arrange and configure alternative access, we’re at a point now where we can focus on more structural issues that use multiple data points when making collection decisions or setting strategic directions.

This spirit has been strong in SUNY with coordinated collection development via resource sharing and demand driven acquisitions for books for some time, with many libraries seeking to diversify SUNY’s collection if a title isn’t available in SUNY.

We’re hoping that we can coordinate journal access in a similar way, where we have programs where SUNYs cooperate on what journals they subscribe to in order to provide the best access to e-journals for all of SUNY.

Additionally, vendors will likely be offering more in the way of access options that allows consortia to blend ILL-like access and subscriptions. The SILLVR project for streaming video at the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries is one such pilot where the larger consortium is looking to secure both subscriptions and access in a single license.

With ILL and collections access departments blending, libraries should be prepared to look at licensing and subscriptions differently, and find the best blend of subscriptions and bundled access that will get the best value for their institutions.

RP: Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with me.








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