This is an electronic version of an article published in The Serials Librarian, Vol. 62, No. 1-4 (2012) at


Many libraries are facing difficult fiscal climates with serials inflation, budget cutbacks, and reductions in allocations requiring difficult collection management decisions. Libraries may find their flexibility to plan and react unduly restricted due to being contracted to one or more Big Deals, in which they are obligated to buy large, inflexible title lists from big publishers for a set price. This presentation discusses the experience of Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the University of Oregon in leaving Big Deals, provides data on impacts on interlibrary loans, community response, and collection budgets, details the steps required before and after the decision, and describes the benefits that other libraries could achieve by following the example of these two members of the Association of Research Libraries.