[ skip to content ]

More Information about this image

You Visit Tour. Perry Library June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

University LibrariesCollections Disclosures

Collections Disclosures

The Old Dominion University Libraries are committed to providing exceptional collections to faculty, administrators, and students. The Libraries strive to enrich the research environment for the University community and support the transitive nature of teaching and learning.

However, the collections budget of the Libraries is subject to enormous inflationary pressures for scholarly content. This issue is of supreme importance to universities around the globe, with libraries in many countries working on strategies to provide greater access to information without monopolizing their entire budgets on a small number of for-profit publishers.

We are collaborating with other universities in the state to analyze our own journal subscriptions, particularly those subscriptions which we have with the world's top academic publishers (Elsevier, Springer, Wiley, Sage). Increasingly, a majority of academic library budgets are going to these publishers, leaving little to add content to our collections in formats other than journals. See our "Vendor Costs" tab.

Open Letter from Deans and Directors of Virginia Research Libraries

The following open letter has been prepared and released by the Deans and Directors of the seven research libraries at public doctoral institutions in Virginia. It is part of an ongoing conversation with our campus communities about responsible stewardship of our investments in research.

April 9, 2019

Dear Virginia Research and Learning Community,

As Deans and Directors of Virginia research libraries, our core mission and our highest priority is to ensure that our research communities have access to a rich, diverse, and sustainable ecosystem of information resources. Recently, our colleagues in the University of California system took an important stand in defense of that ecosystem by refusing to renew their $50 million "Big Deal" contract with Elsevier, the world's most profitable vendor of information products. We write to express our gratitude and our support for them and the brave step they have taken, the latest in a global trend of libraries rethinking their biggest expenditures.

Like our UC colleagues, we have serious concerns about continuing to support Big Deal journal bundles, whose initial value proposition has eroded steadily over time. After years of price inflation, these deals have become too costly, consuming more of our budgets each year, crowding out every other kind of information resource (including that most elemental library asset, books). Big Deals also seem to be more and more comprised of titles our campuses rarely or never use. In addition to cost, we are concerned that the subscription model locks away publicly-funded research, reducing the relative impact of scholars on our campuses at a time when other countries and research funders are increasingly requiring full and immediate open access. As the global research community reaches consensus that open access is the future, Big Deal vendors have worked to extract profits from fast-growing publishing fees, another unsustainable model. Firm, principled action is needed to steer our investments in these vendors in a responsible direction.

Like many of our colleagues who have already spoken publicly about this issue, we have begun conversations on our campuses about the costs of Big Deal journal packages and the concerns we have about their value. We, too, hope to find a way forward that will be transparent, affordable, and sustainable. The UC system's stand and the growing chorus of support from other institutions strengthen our conviction that collectively, research institutions can find a new way forward, with or without the bundled journal deals that have seemed, in the past, too big to refuse.


Carrie Cooper, Dean of University Libraries, William and Mary

George Fowler, University Librarian, Old Dominion University

John Ulmschneider, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, Virginia Commonwealth University

John Unsworth, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, University of Virginia

K.T. Vaughan, Associate Dean, and Bethany Nowviskie, incoming Dean of Libraries, James Madison University

Tyler Walters, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, Virginia Tech

John Zenelis, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, George Mason University

Key Journal Packages 2017-18 (ODU Libraries)

Note: The information below has been corrected from the original figures we posted in April 2019. We also added data for 2017.


ScienceDirect 2017 2018
Journals available 2,605 2,684
Subscription cost $ 750,056 $ 774,433
Annual inflation rate 4%
% E-Materials budget 20% 22%
Total downloads 235,602 245,403
Avg. cost per download $ 3.18 $ 3.16
% Journals with 0 uses 14% (368) 15% (397)
% Journals 1-10 uses 25% (641) 25% (683)
% Journals 500+ uses 3.5% (92) 3.7% (98)


SpringerLink 2017 2018
Journals available 2,493 2,458
Subscription cost $ 282,109 $ 366,845
Annual inflation rate 4%
% E-Materials budget 7.4% 10%
Total downloads 41,585 48,014
Avg. cost per download $6.78 $ 7.64
% Journals with 0 uses 36% (890) 19% (469)
% Journals 1-10 uses 39% (962) 50% (1232)
% Journals 500+ uses 0.2% (5) 0.3% (7)


Wiley Online Lib. 2017 2018
Journals available 1,707 2,597
Subscription cost $ 302,102 $ 312,676
Annual inflation rate 3.5%
% E-Materials budget 8% 9%
Total downloads 72,908 80,289
Avg. cost per download $ 4.14 $ 3.89
% Journals with 0 uses 15% (255) 32% (822)
% Journals 1-10 uses 31% (533) (27%) 714
% Journals 500+ uses 1.1% (18) 0.8% (21)


SAGE Premier 2017 2018
Journals available 784 954
Subscription cost $ 198,165 $ 204,110
Annual inflation rate 3% 3%
% E-Materials budget 5% 6%
Total downloads 50,447 66,044
Avg. cost per download $ 3.93 $ 3.09
% Journals with 0 uses 4.5% (35) 0% (0)
% Journals 1-10 uses 28% (218) 34% (323)
% Journals 500+ uses 1.3% (10) 17% (16)

Five Year Projected Costs - 2025

Publisher Elsevier Springer Nature Wiley SAGE
Expected cost 2025 (with % infl.) $985,294 $466,729 $397,811 $259,685

ODU Libraries Involvement

The librarians at Old Dominion University Libraries are committed to having an ongoing dialogue with faculty and students about collections priorities and goals. We are eager to know if these issues of consolidation and mergers in the publishing world are affecting your work. Does open access publishing play a role in your own publishing agenda and within your field? Do you use ODU Digital Commons to preserve, provide access to, and showcase your research? Do you have an ORCID ID? Have you created or used OER content in your courses?

Topics that are addressed in our dialogue so far include:

  • Sharing information about the costs of our "big deal" journal package subscriptions
  • Working with other libraries around the state to analyze data about our "big deal" journal package subscriptions and act in coordinated ways to seek alternatives with publishers
  • Screening and recommending the movie Paywall: The Business of Scholarship which gives helpful background about for-profit academic publishing
  • Hosting conversations about open access (OA), open educational resources (OER), and the institutional repository (IR)

If you would like to share your thoughts with us, ask questions, or get more information, please contact Karen Vaughan, Scholarly Communication & Publishing, or your Liaison Librarian.

Site Navigation

Presidential Inauguration

ODU commemorated the inauguration of President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., during Homecoming Weekend 2022. Relive the historic weekend.

Fall Open House

It's time to fall in love with ODU! Join us for our last Open House event of the semester on Saturday, November 19.

Commencement 2022

Visit the Commencement Office for information on event times, caps & gowns, tickets and more!