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Journal costs going up for Purdue Libraries

Purdue is at an impasse with a scientific journal publisher over a long-term contract. The university will pay Elsevier  $2,366,057 for a 1 year extension.

Dean of Libraries Jim Mullins says it’s the best they could do as they work out a standard 5 year deal. He says negotiations began in June and have not gone well.

"We could not agree on the terms and we worked hard on it - working with the central business office and 3 or 4 of us in the libraries. We had about 4 or 5 different options, proposals given to us, and they just were not acceptable."

Mullins says the libraries may have to cut some of the roughly 850 Elsevier publications it receives to stay within its budget. The company publishes about 5% of the journals available at the Purdue Libraries.

Elsevier is seeking annual increases of 5% from Purdue. Mullins says Indiana University and the universities of Minnesota and Michigan also are in negotiations with the company.

"Now that we've only signed a 1 year contract, there will be others (in the Big Ten) who come in next year whose 5 year contract will come up. It could allow us to have a bit more negotiating influence, but the chances are that the publisher will still tell us they won't negotiate with us as a group."

He says Elsevier is just one of hundreds of contracts his staff deals with on an on-going basis.

"It's a real business enterprise. I don't think people realize how much a business operation the libraries really is. Because we do handle a tremendous amount of money and responsible for stewardship of a large amount of money."

Mullins says the goal is to strike a new Elsevier deal within the next 12 months, so a 5 year contract will begin January, 2013.