Wiley FAQ - December 2018 Update

This page summarizes many of the frequently asked questions the Library received regarding its review of CSUSM's subscription to Wiley Journals.  More information about this review is available on the Wiley information page

Where can I see all of the journals that were part of the "Big Deal" (including the titles that may be cancelled) and usage data for each journal?

The title list and usage data for all Wiley journals are available here on SharePoint.

What Wiley content we continue to have access to if the Wiley "Big Deal" is cancelled?

CSUSM Library will continue to have access to all journals that were part of the Wiley Big Deal through December 2018; in other words, CSUSM Library users will continue to have access to the Wiley "backfile" (most article content between 1997-2018) for both subscribed and cancelled journals. Full text access to content published after January 2019 will continue for the 28 journals listed on the Wiley information page.

For the journals that are cancelled, access to articles published after 2019 will be available through InterLibrary Loan (ILL), which is free for students, faculty, and staff. Many of the cancelled titles have full-text access available through other databases, though the access may be 'embargoed' and therefore new articles may become available after a period of time (most commonly after 1 year).

Will I still be able to find Wiley journal articles through OneSearch and other library databases, even if we don't have full-text access to them?

Yes. Articles from all Wiley journals will continue to be discoverable through OneSearch and many other library databases, so researchers will be able to find articles whether or not CSUSM Library provides full-text access to them. ILL requests can be placed from OneSearch in a few clicks, and most articles are delivered electronically within 1-2 days.

What other journal content will continue to be available through the Library?

The Library provides full-text access to articles from over 130,000 journals (thousands of which have current access provided) and over 100 research databases. Journals published by Wiley represent approximately 1% of the electronic journals the Library provides. The Library will continue to provide access to journals from many other publishers such as Taylor and Francis, Springer, Sage, ProQuest, EBSCOHost, Oxford, JSTOR, Elsevier, and more. Journals and availability information can be searched through the Library's Journal Search.

Certain disciplines will be more affected by the Wiley "Big Deal" cancellation than others - many of the journals that are being retained are in the social and health sciences, but other disciplines do not have journals that will retain Wiley journals.  Instead of subscribing only to the highest use titles, why not choose a handful of titles to retain from each discipline?

This is a great suggestion and it is an approach we considered. We assume that users will continue to require access to the highest-used journals, and if high-use journals were cancelled, users would request material from those cancelled journals through ILL. When more than 5 articles are requested from a single title during a single copyright year (and the copyright year is within the last five years), the Library pays clearance fees to comply with copyright guidelines for ILL.1

If the Library chose to subscribe to journals with less usage instead of the most-used journals, the Library would likely pay higher copyright clearance fees over time. It is more cost-effective to subscribe to the highest-used journal titles and pay relatively lower fees as needed to ILL the less-used journals. For this reason, we determined to go with strictly the most highly-used journals for continued subscription (specifically, journals with high recent use, due to the fact that copyright fees are assessed on articles published in the past five years).

Many journals I consider essential for my discipline are being cancelled. Why?

Many Wiley journals have very high list prices, and some individual journals cost tens of thousands of dollars for an individual subscription. Many of these very high cost journals have relatively low usage, resulting in very high cost per use if individual subscriptions were to be retained. For example, Chemistry - A European Journal has a high list price - an institutional subscription costs $15,844 annually. At CSUSM, this particular journal experienced an average of 24 uses of recently published content each year over the last three years. If this journal were subscribed to individually, the cost per use of recently published articles would be $674 per article. In cases where journals have a very high list price, the Library will save money purchasing copyright clearance fees as needed for articles that are InterLibrary Loaned. Clearance fees are typically $15-$40 per article - in many cases much lower than the cost-per-use at the journal's subscription price.

Why are Wiley Journals so expensive - and why are costs increasing so significantly?

Wiley Journals are part of the Research division of John Wiley & Sons, which is a profitable company2 with $1.7 billion in sales annually.3  60% of John Wiley & Sons’ total revenue comes from scholarly publishing, including scholarly journal subscriptions.4 Subscription cost increases and commercial profit margins of scholarly journal publishers like Wiley have been criticized as costs for these journals in many cases appear to be neither consistent across journals nor transparent.5 Costs formerly associated with producing physical copies of journals, including typesetting, printing, and shipping are no longer necessary for digital journal production, and efficiencies in digital publishing should result in production costs becoming increasingly marginal.6

Objecting to high cost increases from commercial publishers - and cancelling subscriptions from commercial publishers when high cost increases become routine - is one strategy that libraries have used to pressure commercial publishers to lower costs and provide sustainable access to scholarship.7

Have other CSU Libraries cancelled the Wiley Big Deal? What was the impact?

Yes, many other CSU Libraries cancelled their “Big Deal” agreements in 2014. A survey of these campuses found that impact was minimal. Libraries reported receiving few complaints regarding lack of access from users since the Big Deal cancellation. While libraries that cancelled the “Big Deal” in 2014 expected a large increase in ILL requests in subsequent years, this has not been the case, with most campuses reporting a small uptick in ILL and overall significant cost savings, even with associated ILL clearance costs.

I'm concerned students won't use ILL in order to access current research - what is being done to encourage students to use ILL and make it easier to use?

The Library is actively working on usability projects to improve the labelling of ILL request buttons and the display of information in OneSearch to make the ILL request process easier. These usability improvements will be available in mid- to late- Spring 2019.


1.  “CONTU Guidelines for Interlibrary Loan Photocopying,” American Library Association, accessed December 10, 2018, http://www.ala.org/advocacy/sites/ala.org.advocacy/files/content/copyright/GLsInterlibLoan.pdf  

2. “Wiley Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2018 Results,” John Wiley & Sons, Inc., June 12, 2018, https://newsroom.wiley.com/press-release/all-corporate-news/wiley-reports-fourth-quarter-and-fiscal-year-2018-results

3.  “John Wiley & Sons, Inc.” Hoovers Company Records / Mergent, 2018, https://ezproxy.csusm.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1860760895?accountid=10363.

4.  Ibid.

5.  Kenneth Frazier, “What's the Big Deal?” The Serials Librarian 48, no. 1-2 (2015): 49-59, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J123v48n01_06.  

6.  Vincent Larivière, Stefanie Haustein, and Philippe Mongeon, "The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era," PLoS One 10.6 (2015), https://csusm-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=TN_doaj_soai_doaj_org_article_e7975bddaf66445c8f57cd54d0ec8692&context=PC&vid=01CALS_USM&search_scope=EVERYTHING&tab=everything&lang=en_US
7.  Rick Anderson, “When the Wolf Finally Arrives: Big Deal Cancellations in North American Libraries,” The Scholarly Kitchen (May 1, 2017), https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2017/05/01/wolf-finally-arrives-big-deal-cancelations-north-american-libraries/.