EUA releases updated mapping of major publishing contracts

The European University Association (EUA) has released its Second Big Deals Survey Report. This updated mapping of major scholarly publishing contracts in Europe comes at a time when the sector is undergoing substantial changes.
The survey, conducted in 2017-2018, gathers data from 31 consortia covering an unprecedented 167 contracts with five major publishers: Elsevier, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, Wiley and American Chemical Society. Readers will discover that the total costs reported by the participating consortia exceed one billion euros for periodicals, databases, e-books and other resources – mainly to the benefit of large, commercial scholarly publishers.
“This amount is fully paid by public funds and the bulk of these costs fall on Europe’s universities,” explained Professor Jean-Pierre Finance, Chair of the EUA High Level Group on Big Deals. “There is a clear intention to improve cost control and to reduce costs, but this objective clashes with average annual cost increases.”

This report provides an overview of Big Deal negotiations across Europe, focusing on topics such as the organisation of negotiations, provisions on Open Access and transparency of contracts and costs. It also offers information on consortia and focuses specifically on periodical Big Deal contracts with the five large publishers selected for this survey. Finally, the report addresses the costs of Big Deal contracts, offering conclusions and policy recommendations on the negotiation of Big Deal contracts.
“Our goal is to create more transparency, raise awareness of the need for more sustainable market conditions and continue to support members in their negotiations with major scholarly publishers,” explained Lidia Borrell-Damian, EUA Director for Research and Innovation. “There is growing awareness about these issues, as well as the lack of competition and the strengthening of the Open Access movement.”
The EUA Big Deals Survey contributes to increasing the transparency of contract costs and conditions, to identifying the main challenges in the scholarly publication system and to supporting a variety of institutions in becoming more knowledgeable and actively engaged in negotiations with scientific publishers.
The report complements the 2017-2018 EUA Open Access Survey Results, assembled in parallel and focusing on the institutional dimension of Open Access to scholarly publications at universities.