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Sustainable Access to Scholarship: Springer

This guide outlines how the library will seek to identify a model of access to scholarly content that meets research and instructional needs as well as is fiscally sustainable.

Springer Journal Package and Usage

Updated 11-4-2020

Our present model offers access to about 1600 titles for a cost of $153,386 and it ends this calendar year. 

Vendor Proposals

  1. Select individual journals and pay retail pricing. The library will need to sign a license directly with Springer Nature if choosing this option.
  2. "Orderly Retreat:" Springer has offered NERL (the consortia that we purchase from) an option for members to reduce their Springer journal spend by 5%, by trimming the journals that received the lowest 8.5% of usage. You’ll find this title list on the 2nd tab in the file linked below. This option will only be available if NERL accepts it. This option would reduce SUNY ESF’s Springer journal spend by $7,669.32 for a 2021 Springer total of $145,717. [Library note: Springers journal ranking is odd and doesn't necessarily reflect the titles most valuable to ESF curriculum and research]
  3. Purchase yet another package that doesn't serve us well.

Library Position

These proposals are non-starters. 

Right now our model provides us access to 1600 journals for about $150,000, which is about $100 per title, but when you subtract the portion of titles that we don't use that cost comes out to about $5600 per title that we actually use (28 titles). Our most expensive on a per used title basis. 

The a la carte subscription model (subscribe to individual titles) would provide us with about 2% of the access at 60% of the package cost. That means subscribing to 15 journals at a cost of roughly $87,000. This cost is about $5800 per title. I don't think it is any coincidence those costs are similar.

The so called "orderly retreat" is little more than a token gesture in a time of budgetary collapse. The "lowest 8.5% of usage" titles, which amounts to about 820 titles, are of no value to us whatsoever and see absolutely ZERO use, while another 287 titles see ZERO use in the last five years of publication. While we certainly wouldn't feel the loss of those titles, that 5% "discount" does not begin to address our budget situation and still leaves us with a drastically under utilized collection since we only use about 10% of the titles with any frequency (and a bill we can't afford). 

Un-use # Titles % of Collection
Zero Use 1079 64.15%
1 use 188 11.18%
2 uses 112 6.66%
3 uses 59 3.51%
4 uses 29 1.72%
5 uses 29 1.72%
Total Un-use 1496 88.94%


For additional context: 

The Wiley deal that the library negotiated was transformative. It is a greater than 50% reduction in cost while maintaining access to the 168 titles that we identified that we really needed. Cost per title is about $595.

The Elsevier negotiation yielded 58 directly identified titles that ESF needed at the state contractual level (as well as access to the entire shared collection of about 200 titles) for a cost of $60,000 and an additional 22 titles carried at the institutional level for a total of about 222 titles for a cost of $165,000 which translates to about $745 per title which is not unreasonable.