Deal or No Deal? : Evaluating Big Deals and Their Journals

  1. Deborah D. Blecic
  1. Bibliographer for the Life and Health Sciences and Associate, Richard J. Daley Library, University of Illinois at Chicago, 801 S. Morgan, Chicago, IL 60607, Phone: 312-996-2730, Fax: 312-413-0424, dblecic{at}
  1. Stephen E. Wiberley Jr.
  1. Bibliographer for the Social Sciences and Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, wiberley{at}
  1. Joan Fiscella
  1. Associate Professor Emerita at the University of Illinois at Chicago, jbf{at}
  1. Sara Bahnmaier-Blaszczak
  1. Head of Electronic Resources Acquisitions and Licensing and Associate Librarian at the University of Michigan, sarabahn{at}
  1. Rebecca Lowery
  1. Map and Data Services Librarian and Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, rplowery{at}


This paper presents methods to develop metrics that compare Big Deal journal packages and the journals within those packages. Deal-level metrics guide selection of a Big Deal for termination. Journal-level metrics guide selection of individual subscriptions from journals previously provided by a terminated deal. The paper argues that while the proposed metrics provide helpful quantitative data for comparative analysis, selection of individual subscriptions must also involve informed judgment about a library’s subject coverage needs and alternative sources of access. The paper also discusses how replacing a Big Deal with a reduced number of individual subscriptions may affect the collections budget, use of other resources, and interlibrary loan.

  • Accepted December 7, 2011.

This Article

  1. crl-300



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