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Sustainable Scholarship

As stated in our Strategic Plan, UW Libraries works to advance research for the public good because we believe that “UW research attains its greatest impact on our most pressing global challenges when we advocate for open, public and emerging forms of scholarship.”

We strive for transparent and transformative models that create collaborative and long-term solutions for sustainable scholarship. Our values of sustainability, equity and user-centeredness shape our approach to publisher negotiations.

Responding to a changing landscape

Since the late 1990s, large publishers have marketed contracts for bundled access to their entire journal lists (a.k.a “Big Deals”) to research libraries. Over time,  publisher price increases have far exceeded the growth of library budgets, and ever-increasing percentages of collection budgets are now consumed by these inflexible contracts.

These all-or-nothing deals have received additional attention recently due to the University of California’s decision not to renew its subscription with Elsevier, the biggest of the Big Deal publishers. Big Deals are financially unsustainable and have led numerous academic libraries around the world to reappraise their subscriptions and consider more flexible and strategic options for spending collection resources to meet the diverse needs of researchers and students.

The Libraries is working closely with campus partners to help inform and develop more sustainable publishing partnerships. In May 2019, The UW Faculty Senate voted unanimously to approve a Class C Resolution, sponsored by the Faculty Council on University Libraries, expressing its support for the UW Libraries Licensing Principles and bargaining priorities in journal package negotiations with major journal publishers.

As the Libraries navigate the changing landscape of scholarly communication, especially Big Deal subscriptions for academic journals, we will share information about collections needs, fiscal responsibility and the implications of contracts with Faculty and the UW Community.

For more information:

For questions regarding sustainable scholarship and negotiations, please contact: SustainableScholarship@uw.edu