Jisc sets up new group-purchasing pilot with publishers to lower cost of digital archival collections

Jisc is working in collaboration with three publishers, ProQuest, Adam Matthew Digital and Brill, in order to make digital collections of primary source material more affordable for institutions to purchase, so that researchers, teachers and learners can enjoy access to an even wider range of resources.

Digital collections of primary source material such as texts, images and audiovisuals can make a positive impact on innovative research practice and skills development, as a recent post on the LSE Impact Blog described. The Jisc-ProQuest study on The Impacts of Digital Collections also concluded that these collections are now part of the scholarly communication lifecycle, echoing previous studies (see Toolkit for the Impact of Scholarly Digital Resources

However, library budgets are increasingly squeezed and committed in the main to securing access to expensive journals subscriptions and books.

The group purchasing pilot aims to support Higher Education institutions with a more efficient, coordinated and transparent approach to the acquisition of digital archival collections and was set up by Jisc in response to requirements from its members.

The pilot leverages institutions’ collective purchasing power to lower costs and the principle “The more products are bought, the lower the price”.

The pilot runs between March-July 2017. Each of the three publishers have made available a selection of digital collections and have set different discount triggers based on how many products are bought by institutions across any of their products.

Between March-mid-July 2017 university libraries will be able to pledge their interest in any of the products on offer by the publishers.

Institutions select the collections they’re interested in through the Jisc Collections web site, where they will also find more information about each of the products as well as the prices, including starting list prices and discount triggers, in an open and transparent way. All prices are for one-off purchases and include platform/hosting fees, so there will be no recurrent annual costs to libraries. All libraries will sign up to a Jisc model licence.

At the end of the pledging period (mid-July), the price for each collection will be calculated according to an institution’s Jisc band and how many products have been pledged for cumulatively by institutions per publisher. Publishers will then invoice the libraries accordingly.

The three publishers are putting forward a selection of products mainly in support of the humanities and social sciences, starting with a 20% discount on any product purchased:

Adam Matthew Digital:
• Eighteenth Century Drama
• Romanticism: Life, Literature and Landscape
• Shakespeare in Performance
• Empire Online
• Global Commodities: Trade, Exploration and Cultural Exchange
• World’s Fairs: A Global History of Expositions

Brill :
• Cuban Culture and Cultural Relations, 1959- : The Vertical Archive of the Casa de las Américas, Part 1: “Casa y Cultura”
• Classic Mexican Cinema Online
• Book Sales Catalogues Online
• Middle Eastern Manuscripts Online 1: Pioneer Orientalists
• Codices Vossiani Latini Online
• Codices Hugeniani Online
• North China Daily News Online

• British Periodicals 3
• British Periodicals 4
• House of Lords
• Vogue Italia
• 21st Century House of Commons Parliamentary Papers Modules 1 & 2
• News, Policy & Politics Magazine Archive
• Art & Architecture Archive

In tandem with the pilot, Jisc plans to gather institutions’ “wish lists” for collections that they intend to purchase in the future so that this can inform the choice of products and publishers for a potential second iteration of the pilot. Depending on the outcome of this pilot, the intention is to scale it up by including more publishers and products.

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