To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

The Death of the Big Deal and Implications for Technical Services

Technical Services in the 21st Century

ISBN: 978-1-80043-829-3, eISBN: 978-1-80043-828-6

ISSN: 0732-0671

Publication date: 8 January 2021


In recent years, a growing number of libraries have canceled or unbundled their “Big Deal” journal subscriptions – those subscriptions that include a full package of digital journal titles for one discounted cost. This started as an affordability problem but has slowly morphed into a challenge from libraries demanding a new pricing structure that accommodates and spurs the growing open access movement.

The change has caused a variety of challenges for technical services units including the increased need for user data, increasingly complicated workflows as they manage partial subscriptions, new interactions with consortia, and ongoing campus conversations. Whether the library is seeking to simply unbundle due to budget constraints, or push for new models such as “read and publish”, there is a tremendous impact on the work of technical services units.

This chapter will explore the rationale and growth of the Big Deal, how it is breaking, four case studies on breaking Big Deals, a brief discussion of new transformative agreements, new challenges for consortia, and implications for technical services units moving forward.



Maranville, A. and Diaz, K. (2021), "The Death of the Big Deal and Implications for Technical Services", Hines, S.S. (Ed.) Technical Services in the 21st Century (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 42), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 193-212.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021 Emerald Publishing Limited