Mason Libraries Expand Resources with “Big Deal” Contract

Posted: April 12, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Ryan Effgen

George Mason University Libraries, in conjunction with six other Virginia universities, has secured a “big deal” contract with Elsevier, one of the world’s largest publishers of research periodicals. The libraries will gain access to more than 1,800 academic journals, a 50 percent increase of titles for approximately a 5 percent increase in cost. Access to academic journals is recognized as vital in keeping a university at the forefront of scholarly research.

Other participating university libraries are the College of William and Mary, James Madison University, Old Dominion University, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Tech. The seven universities sought legal counsel and, after several months of negotiating, secured a five-year contract that exempts the participants from inflation and offers each library an exit clause in the event of financial emergencies.

“The deal was in danger of not being renewed, mainly for budgetary reasons, but we did manage to agree among ourselves what would be acceptable, and we worked within those parameters,” says John Zenelis, university librarian and director of the University Libraries at Mason. “The journals in the ScienceDirect platform are what our researchers and students need to do their work. It’s not that we don’t support alternatives in scholarly communication. We do. We support open access. For now, we need this information, as long as we are able to offer it at a reasonable cost.”

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