Changes to FSU's Elsevier 2019 Subscriptions | Florida State University Libraries

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Changes to FSU's Elsevier 2019 Subscriptions

The Florida State University Libraries, after long deliberation, are planning to cancel FSU's comprehensive “big deal” subscription to Elsevier journals. Instead, the Libraries will subscribe to a subset of most-needed journalsas identified by faculty and usage statistics. This change will take place in January 2019.  

In March, the Faculty Senate, at the recommendation of the Senate Library Committee, voted unanimously to endorse this plan. Provost McRorie also strongly supports this move.

The exceptionally high and ever-increasing cost of the Elsevier “big deal” has made it unsustainable. Florida State University currently pays just under $2 million a year, and the cost increases by at least 4% annually. 

FSU is being charged too much -- all because of a poorly thought-out 20-year-old contract between Elsevier and the State University System. Through this contract, UCF pays less than $1M for the exact same product. FIU pays just over a millionUSF pays about $1.5 million.

Over the last 8 years, FSU’s provosts and I have tried every possible way to negotiate a reduction to FSU’s disproportionately high cost, without success. A partial cancellation is our only remaining option.  

Much of the demand for articles will be met seamlessly through individually subscribed titles. For unsubscribed content, access will be available by (1) interlibrary loan delivery to the desktop guaranteed within 24 hours (no cost); or (2) expedited delivery within minutes ($30, subsidized by the library.)

Librarians have been working with faculty during recent weeks to choose the best titles for continued subscriptions. STEM areas are particularly affected. Some disciplines (arts, humanities, law, etc.) much less so.

With some of the savings, we will be able to acquire a variety of other materials that faculty have requested – requests we’ve had to deny because so much of our budget has been consumed by Elsevier.

Other major research libraries have taken this approach and have been surprised at how well faculty and student needs can be met without the “big deal” subscription. At FSU, we will do everything we can to meet those needs quickly and efficiently.

Julia Zimmerman
Dean of University Libraries

The Libraries welcome any questions or suggestions you may have and appreciate your support. Contact Roy Ziegler, rziegler@fsu.edu.

For discipline specific information contact your subject librarian.

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