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UdeM Libraries cancel Big Deal subscription to 2,231 periodical titles published by Taylor & Francis Group

Following negotiations with Taylor & Francis Group, Université de Montréal Libraries have been forced to unbundle the “Big Deal” periodicals package with the publisher, as its usefulness is not worth the approximately US $500,000 per year demanded to access it. Our consultation of the UdeM community has shown only a fifth of the package (480 titles out of the 2,391 titles in the bundle deal) is required for UdeM’s research and teaching needs. Among those, only 160 will be retained, because of their very high cost (CA $236 000).

Articles published since January 1st, 2017 in cancelled journals will no longer be instantaneously accessible at UdeM, but will be available free of charge through the inter-library loan service. Access to earlier issues will be preserved for 404 titles.

Taylor & Francis literally turned a deaf ear to all of the requests from the Libraries, claiming that their Big Deal offers UdeM excellent value for its money. Libraries see things differently, because they include in their assessment of a Big Deal only those titles that actually answer the needs of their community. UdeM Libraries employ the same approach with all publishers when the time comes to establish the amount they are prepared to pay for a periodicals package. This approach considers both the publisher’s rates and UdeM’s needs. This attitude is not so unreasonable, judging from the agreements recently reached with three major commercial publishers: Cambridge University PressJohn Wiley & Sons and SAGE Publications Inc.

Unfortunately, the libraries are simply no match for the multinationals of the publishing world. Professors and researchers at UdeM who are critical of the situation are well positioned to influence the course of events. The biggest danger a publisher faces is people calling into question its free raw materials, its volunteer labour force, and its business model.

UdeM Libraries are well aware of the impact of these cancellations on teaching and research, but this was the only available option. Note that the savings realized in the wake of the cancellations resulting from our Big Deal unbundlings have allowed the UdeM Libraries to re-establish their original investment target of 20 % for book acquisitions and 80 % for periodicals.

Quick facts

  • UdeM Libraries will renew access to 160 periodicals out of the 2,391 in the Taylor & Francis “Big Deal” package. The price UdeM Libraries will be paying for these individual subscriptions in 2017 corresponds to the amount it was prepared to pay for the complete package.
  • Pre-2017 issues of 404 titles will remain accessible.
  • The subscriptions being retained represent 30% of what the UdeM community used from the entire package in 2015.
  • Statistics show that a large number of Taylor & Francis titles are hardly or never used (248 titles unused in 2015; 1,103 titles used fewer than 20 times in 2015).
  • The per-view/per-printing costs of articles further confirm that the price UdeM was asked to pay for this Big Deal is unjustifiable: Taylor & Francis articles cost twice as much as those of Elsevier.
  • Journal articles may be ordered by members of the UdeM community at no cost through the UdeM inter-library loan service. Delivery is via e-mail within five working days.
  • Several articles from the cancelled Taylor & Francis journals are available in OA repositories or through initiatives such as
  • Members of the UdeM community can express their disapproval of Taylor & Francis pricing policy, by refusing to review articles, or by supporting the open access distribution model.
  • The CEO of Taylor & Francis Group is Mr. Roger Horton.
  • Our contact persons are :

    • Christoph Chesher – Group Sales Director 
    • Ashleigh Lee - Journal Sales Director



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Stéphanie Gagnon, Head of Collections