The evolution and revision of big deals: A review from the perspective of libraries Articles uri icon


  • Rodriguez Bravo, Blanca
  • Fernandez Ramos, Andres
  • De La mano, Marta

publication date

  • July 2021

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 22


  • 4


  • 30

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1386-6710

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1699-2407


  • We study the phenomenon of the big deal, a subscription model for scientific journals that emerged at the turn of the millennium aimed especially at library consortia, which were offered the opportunity to exponentially increase their access to scientific information, thus breaking the previous trend of continuous cuts to the collections of the periodicals available in libraries. Its strengths such as the expansion of the availability of content, and its impact on the diversification of use and the productivity of researchers are presented herein. Likewise, its weaknesses are highlighted, such as the constant increase in prices and the finding of the concentration of use in a limited set of content. These disadvantages have led to questioning and resulted in the evaluation of big deals, a search for alternatives, and cancellations in times of crisis. In recent years, the latter have been linked to the perception that the cost¿benefit balance of big deals has been altered by the proliferation of open-access content. Finally, we address the revision of the traditional big deal through transformative agreements where subscription costs are offset by publication costs, which are intended to be a mechanism to accelerate the transition to open access.


  • Library Science and Documentation


  • acceso abierto; acuerdos transformativos; big deals; revistas científicas; bibliotecas universitarias; evaluación de colecciones; revistas electrónicas; suscripciones; open access; transformative agreements; big deals; scientific journals; university libraries; collection evaluation; electronic journals; subscriptions