STATEMENT OF CURRENT PERSPECTIVE AND PREFERRED PRACTICES FOR THE SELECTION AND PURCHASE OF ELECTRONIC INFORMATION:
Update No. 1:New Developments In E-Journal Licensing
(December 2001 update to March 1998 Statement)
INTRODUCTION. This Statement adds new perspectives to the first ICOLC "Statement of Current Perspective and Preferred Practices for the Selection and Purchase of Electronic Information http://legacy.icolc.net/statement.html. The original Statement influenced policies adopted by consortia of libraries across the world, and is still regarded as a valid expression of issues important in developing access to the vast array of electronic databases, books and journals now available. Since the original Statement was drafted in 1998, new developments have arisen – particularly related to electronic journals – that have the potential either to encourage or to hinder growth in access. This Update contains recommendations in some of the most important areas of development.
1. PRICING AND PURCHASING MODELS
ICOLC is concerned that amid all the changes in scholarly publishing, the annual cost to libraries to maintain information access is still rising faster than either inflation or library budgets. Publishers continue to ask libraries to invest in new publishing initiatives while still maintaining or expanding the print versions of publications, the latter of which continue to increase at rates above inflation or budgets.
Consortia wish to achieve greater value for their money by purchasing the titles that receive actual use, and by discontinuing purchase of low-use or unused titles. Intense discussions about the current cost of journals have spawned many opinions about appropriate solutions. These discussions have led to some lower costs, and to some more cost-effective or more accessible models. ICOLC expresses its support for such endeavours, and encourages publishers to co-operate with not-for-profit organizations to develop additional alternative models for electronic journal literature access. The linking of titles across publishers will also lead to increased use. As use of electronic journals grows, the publishing industry will realize the benefits of increased readership, but should not penalize libraries that wish to cancel without penalty those titles that receive little use.
Given continuing pressures and financial limitations on libraries, and given the interest of libraries and consortia in having more flexibility and variety in the pricing of e-journal products, ICOLC is concerned that, despite everyone's best intent, the long term expectations of scholars, publishers, and libraries will not be met. Therefore, outlined below are specific changes in business models currently being sought by library consortia.
1.1. Move From “Print Plus” to “Electronic Plus” Purchase Model. Today, publishers price most e-journal content using the cost of the print publications as their base price (the “print-plus” model). In many offers from publishers, the pricing of the electronic journal is expressed as an "add-on" to the price of the print product, or alternatively the price quoted is linked to a "no-print cancellation" clause in the contract.
A few publishers now offer an "electronic-plus" model, with the electronic journal being supplied for a base price and a price for print copies being added to that base price. ICOLC endorses this model, provided:
a. the purchase of the print copies is optional, and1.2. Selective Purchase Model. ICOLC members wish to receive from publishers offers that are not necessarily based upon the traditional title-by-title subscription model. Some publishers have already broken away from that model and offer their total content for the price that a library might have paid for a limited number of print journal subscriptions. This "all-you-can-eat" model does meet the needs of many – although not all - libraries and consortia. However, to meet the diverse needs of different consortia and libraries, “all-you-can-eat" should be one of the options offered by a publisher. The wider the number of choices, the greater the chance of satisfying the customer. Publishers are encouraged to offer additional pricing options that provide increased value for money in certain situations, such as:
b. the base price for the electronic content is no more than 80% of the price for the electronic-plus-print (thereby reflecting the savings that the non-supply of print copies can bring), and
c. the combined electronic and print price is no more than current print-only prices (thereby reducing the risk of additional cancellations to pay for both formats).
a. “pay-by-the-drink” options by which the consortium or library may purchase blocks of journal articles, or may pay only for delivery of the articles that are actually used, or1.3. Eliminate No-Cancellation Clauses. ICOLC members object strongly to "no-print cancellation" clauses in licenses and contracts for e-journals, and to pricing models that impose financial limitations or penalties when cancellations are permitted. Publishers should direct more effort toward new pricing models that break away from print-based models, as explained in this document.
b. “all-you-can-eat” for selected groups or subject clusters of titles, with “pay-by-the-drink” available for the titles not selected..
1.4 Do Not Repackage Content. Publishers should curtail the practice of repurposing or repackaging content (such as republication of articles in multiple electronic journals) in ways that require libraries to pay for the same content multiple times.
1.5. Change The Roles Of Intermediaries. All parties in the information chain -- scholars, publishers, aggregators, agents and librarians -- are re-evaluating their roles in the light of new electronic delivery developments. In the long run, each must add value to survive. ICOLC members are supportive of changes in the arrangements for purchase of and access to electronic content, but many continue to wish to work with serials agents and other parties to manage their subscriptions during this period of change.
1.6. Usage Statistics. Electronic access provides a significant opportunity to develop new measures of information use that may have a fundamental impact on what information is produced, and how it is priced and distributed. As expressed in the ICOLC Guidelines for Statistical Measures of Usage of Web-Based Information Resources (http://legacy.icolc.net/webstats.html), ICOLC asserts that appropriate usage statistics are essential to meet the needs of libraries, publishers, consortia, and intermediaries (such as serials agents).
1.7. Flexible Models To Accommodate Global Needs. ICOLC members are interested in working with publishers to develop purchasing models that meet the diverse needs of educational organizations in different countries. For example, the traditional print-based subscription model may become less satisfactory for meeting the educational needs of North American and Western European institutions. Innovative partnerships between educational authorities and publishers may be needed to produce a better service to users in countries in all parts of the world. ICOLC supports pricing models that are fair for users in all countries in the world, but these need not all be based upon a single pricing construct.
ICOLC also applauds recent initiatives from some publishers who provide electronic journals for free or at very affordable access to countries in transition, such as the programs to provide health-related information through the World Health Organization, and the science and technology publisher responses to the Open Society Institute Electronic Information for Libraries (eIFL) program. Publishers are encouraged to also address the needs of more developed nations that may be experiencing extremely weak national currencies.
2. IMPROVING THE USABILITY OF ELECTRONIC JOURNALS
Encouraging the use of electronic journals is in the long-term interests of vendors and libraries. Publishers and librarians should cooperate in removing barriers that discourage legitimate use. Following are some of the key concerns that publishers should address in collaboration with the library community.
2.1. Complete And Consistent Content. Uncertainty about what is contained within a particular electronic journal or journal aggregation package can cause users considerable trouble and discourage use. Such uncertainty can be eased by providing libraries and their users with clear and consistent information about the e-journal content and the rules for its use. For example, ICOLC encourages publishers and aggregators to discontinue: (a) the removal of content part-way through a licence period; (b) the practice of embargoing content (e.g., not allowing access to the most recent content until a stated number of months after publication); and (c) making content available in the print versions that is not available in the electronic version. However, ICOLC recognizes the value of including important supplemental material in the electronic version that is not practical to include in the print version because of the length or format of the content.
2.2. Fair Use. Fair use principles in copyright legislation have been understood by users and have provided consistent guidance for users in respect of copying. Licences drafted by publishers have not been consistent in their approach to copying and have deterred research and studies by users. The principle and applicability of fair use should be affirmed, and limitations through licensing terms should be substantially reduced, if not eliminated.
2.3. Open Linking. Librarians welcome the development of CrossRef and other publisher-based linking systems. However, to be fully effective, publisher-based systems must be linked to local library systems and to non-commercial sites. Future use will be heaviest for those publisher sites that offer the greatest variety of links and linking capabilities. ICOLC recommends that all publishers work to adopt inter-operable techniques for linking, rather than proprietary, vertical solutions.
2.4. Non-English Content. Inconsistent availability of content in languages other than English deters use of electronic journals in non-English speaking countries. ICOLC encourages publishers to include appropriate non-English language materials in electronic journals to help enhance the availability of content in other languages, or to provide links to non-English language content in English-language journals. Publishers and aggregators also should develop fully-functioning native language portals to both English and non-English language content. Non-English language countries need to have translations of English-language licenses provided, so that these can be understood.
LONG-TERM ACCESS AND ARCHIVING
3.1. ICOLC-Publisher Partnerships to Secure Permanent Access. ICOLC members believe strongly that the licensing of electronic content should include permanent rights of access. Paper subscriptions are not considered to be an appropriate archiving medium for electronic journals. ICOLC invites publishers to collaborate with the library community on developing solutions to provide permanent access to electronic journal content. The objectives of this effort should be to ensure the conservation of the world's academic, cultural and popular heritage, and to enable ready use of electronic content even when that content is no longer current. The joint exploration of the archiving issues should encompass not only the various technical methods under development, but also the business and cultural models for archiving. To develop solutions discussions will be needed with a variety of institutions.
3.2. Archiving Costs. Members of ICOLC recognize that there are heavy costs associated with the archiving of electronic content. The way in which such costs are met is an appropriate area for discussion between consortia and publishers before pricing models for permanent access are made final.
3.3. Archiving Models. Publishers should accept responsibility
for archiving and providing
continuing access to their published content over the next few years, and some may be willing and able to accept this role on a long-term basis. Regardless of their plans in this area, publishers should not discourage individual libraries, consortia, national libraries, or other third parties from developing alternative solutions for archiving electronic journal content -- and should actively and effectively support such initiatives instead. In some countries, large consortia or national libraries may be willing and able to take responsibility for archiving, and the cultural environment and technological capabilities of each country should be allowed to determine the best model for archiving.
ADOPTERS OF THIS STATEMENT
This statement was adopted in principle by member representatives of the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC), whose organizations are listed below. This statement does not necessarily represent the official views of each consortium listed.
Consortia whose member representatives have adopted this statement:
As of February 4, 2002
The Alberta Library
ALICE (Appalachian Library Information Cooperative Endeavors)
Amigos Library Services
ANKOS (Anatolian University Library Consortium)
Association of National University Libraries, Japan(ANUL)
AULC (Arizona Universities Library Consortium)
Bibliographical Center for Research (BCR)
BIBSAM Sweden: Consortium of Research Libraries
British Columbia Electronic Library Network (Canada)
California Digital Library
California State University - SEIR (Systemwide Electronic Information Resources)
Canadian National Site Licensing Project
CAUL (Council of Australian University Librarians)
CBUC-Consorci de Biblioteques Universitàries de Catalunya / Consortium of Academic Libraries of Catalonia
CIC Center for Library Initiatives
College Center for Library Automation (CCLA)
Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries
Colorado State Library
Council of Atlantic University Libraries
Council of Federal Libraries Consortium (Canada)
Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL)
CREPUQ (Sub-Committee on Libraries of the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Universities of Quebec)
Danish Electronic Research Library (DEF)
Fenway Library Consortium
Florida Center for Library Automation
Greater Western Library Alliance
HEAL-Link (HEllenic Academic Libraries Link)
Illinois Cooperative Collection Management Program (ICCMP)
Illinois Digital Academic Library (IDAL)
JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee)
Kentucky Virtual Library
KLN (Keystone Library Network)
Maine Info Net Consortium
MALMAD - Israel Center for Digital Information Services
Michigan Library Consortium
MINITEX Library Information Network
MOBIUS:Linking Missouri's Academic Libraries
NC LIVE (North Carolina Libraries for Virtual Education)
NEOS Library Consortium
NERL (NorthEast Research Libraries Consortium)
Network of Alabama Academic Libraries
Nevada Council of Academic Libraries
New England Law Library Consortium (NELLCO)
Ontario Colleges Bibliocentre
Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL)
Pioneer, Utah's Online Library
QULOC (Queensland University Libraries Office of Cooperation)
RBT, Norway: National Office for Research Documentation, Academic and Special Libraries
SOLINET (Southeastern Library Network)
Southeastern Wisconsin Information Technology Exchange (SWITCH)
Triangle Research Libraries Network
UKB (Dutch Association of University Libraries, Royal Library and Library of the Royal Academy of Science)
University System of Maryland
University of Texas System Digital Library
Utah Academic Library Consortium
Virtual Academic Library Environment in NJ (VALE)
VIVA (The Virtual Library of Virginia)
VOWB (Vlaams Overlegorgaan Wetenschappelijk bibliotheekwerk vzw)
Washington Cooperative Library Project
WiLS (Wisconsin Library Services)
WRLC (Washington Research Library Consortium)
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL COALITION OF LIBRARY CONSORTIA (ICOLC)
The International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) has been in existence since 1996. The Coalition is an international, informal group currently comprising over 160 library consortia in North America, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa. The member consortia serve all types and sizes of libraries. ICOLC facilitates discussion among consortia on issues of common interest, and conducts two meetings per year in North America and one meeting per year in Europe. The organization is dedicated to keeping its members informed about electronic information resources, pricing practices of electronic publishers and vendors, and other issues of importance to consortium directors and governing boards. The Coalition also meets with the information provider community to discuss product offerings and issues of mutual concern.
More information about ICOLC can be found at http://icolc.net
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