Unsub Gives Libraries Powerful Evidence to Walk Away from Big Deals – SPARC

“Heather Piwowar and Jason Priem are working non-stop to accelerate the pace of the open science revolution.

The pair co-founded the non-profit organization Our Research, which recently developed and debuted Unsub, a data dashboard and forecasting tool that helps academic libraries cut their subscriptions to expensive bundles of toll-access journals….

Unsub (formerly known as Unpaywall Journals) has widely been hailed as a game changer in the scholarly communications market, providing institutions with the leverage they need when negotiating with publishers over journal subscription packages.  The tool forecasts the value and costs of individual journals to specific institutions, leveling the playing field for the first time for libraries when conducting negotiations with publishers….”

This tool is saving universities millions of dollars in journal subscriptions | Science | AAAS

“In April, when the State University of New York (SUNY) system canceled a big subscription deal with Dutch publishing giant Elsevier in favor of a smaller, cheaper package of subscriptions, headlines focused on how much money the university would save: about $7 million. But behind the savings was a careful cost-benefit analysis and a software tool, Unsub, that helped SUNY work out how to get the most out of its subscription dollars. Many expect the approach to catch on more widely as cash-strapped universities try to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

SUNY was facing an annual $9 million bill for its subscription to about 2200 Elsevier titles. But Unsub revealed that by spending $2 million a year for just 248 of the journals, the university could give researchers at its 64 campuses immediate access to roughly 70% of the Elsevier papers they are likely to read in the next 5 years. The tool produces its forecasts by analyzing data from each university’s library journal usage, and by scouring the web to see how many of the papers that faculty and students access are already available for free.

Unsub is a “game changer,” says Mark McBride, SUNY’s library senior strategist in Albany, and “I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks that.” Like many universities chafing at high subscription fees and fearing the budget impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, SUNY was looking for savings. And with the help of Unsub, McBride says, it concluded “a big deal is no longer necessary in order for a library to function effectively.” …”

Taking a Big Bite Out of the Big Deal – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Unsub is the game-changing data analysis service that is helping librarians forecast, explore, and optimize their alternatives to the Big Deal. Unsub (known as Unpaywall Journals until just this week) supports librarians in making independent assessments of the value of their journal subscriptions relative to price paid rather than relying upon publisher-provided data alone. Librarians breaking away from the Big Deal often credit Unsub as a critical component of their strategy. I am grateful to Heather Piwowar and Jason Priem, co-founders of Our Research, a small nonprofit organization with an innocuous sounding name that is the provider of Unsub, for taking time to answer some questions for the benefit of the readers of The Scholarly Kitchen. …”