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Sustaining our journal collections

VCU Libraries is committed to providing access to materials critical for research and teaching. We want to ensure that our spending commitments align with community needs, that we are responsible stewards of our budget in a rapidly evolving information landscape, and that we contain and control costs wherever possible. In order to do this, we are assembling, evaluating, and sharing some important information about cost, usage, and growth trends. This will help us assess whether large journal packages, often called “Big Deals”, provide good value and represent a sustainable part of our overall investment in information on behalf of the University.

By the numbers

$3.8 million
(current VCU journal Big Deal subscriptions from 4 publishers)
$1.4 million
(estimated VCU Big Deal cumulative price increase 2016-2025)
35% profit
(Big Deal publishers)
32% open
(of 1.9 million journal articles published in 2017, No Big Deal needed for access)

VCU is not alone. Universities and colleges across the world are facing the pressures of runaway costs and lack of flexibility in sustaining their research library collections. Virginia research libraries recently endorsed the University of California System decision to terminate their Elsevier Big Deal.

If you have further questions or need more information, please contact Karen Cary at

VCU Libraries Support for Sustainable Publishing:

  • Tools Browser add-ons to easily find open access versions of journal articles
  • Open Access Support VCU Libraries open access initiatives and assistance
  • Scholars Compass VCU’s open access repository and publishing platform