3. The “Bigger Deal”
A third concern was the emergence of requests to bundle publishing contracts, both transformative agreements (TAs) as well as traditional collections subscriptions, with the supply of data analytics services. This concern was spurred by the decision of two Dutch consortia to sign such a deal with Elsevier in May 2020. As of July 2021, no other deals directly bundle these disparate products, though that does not guarantee that more will not be signed in the future.
It should be noted that bundling has largely favored publishers, whether it is bundling articles into journals (which improved the economics of printing, shipping, and selling); bundling journals into collections subscriptions (which put together important journals with less relevant ones, forcing libraries to pay for all of them); bundling reading and publishing activities in transformative agreements (which ensure high levels of spending and limit the opportunities for smaller publishers to compete); or bundling data analytics with subscriptions. In every case, some valuable offerings are packaged with lower-value ones, forcing customers to pay for everything, regardless of their actual need.