In an announcement posted today, the Provost and University Librarian at UNC Chapel Hill explain that they are making major cuts to their Elsevier Big Deal, dropping the vast majority of titles and subscribing to just the core, frequently-used part of the portfolio. The full announcement is worth a read, as is this Twitter thread from Elaine Westbrooks. Some commentary from me:

  • This is where we are all headed, IMO. As COVID bears down on our budgets, Big Deals of old, AND transformative deals (the new OA Big Deals), will BOTH only look more unsustainable.
  • These cuts look pretty deep, and they should be. Elsevier needs to feel the pain, AND we need to experience the pleasure of freeing up our budgets from these lumbering, giant packages.
  • Alternative access continues to be a major factor – UNC is promising ILL within 24 hours, expedited doc delivery within just a few hours. If we can make those kinds of promises on the long-tail of seldom-used stuff, the Big Deal will have truly lost its utility.