An expression „consortium“ is quite often not specified in a legal system. This expression is within the area of negotiation on access to electronic sources of all kinds understood as a group or several institutions which united with the view of mutual purchase and use of such sources. Consortium can be either wholly informal or can be based on mutual cooperation agreement. Some consortia are founded with the support of teleologic state grant instruments and only non-profit science, research and educational institutions can become members of such consortium. The primary document which defines discretion and duties of publishers and consortium members, is a license agreement.
Advantages of license agreements
- Warranty of price cap of print and online versions of titles.
- Access to wide range of titles for lower fee than the actual price of it is.
- Retrospective access.
Basic models of license agreements
License agreements usually comprise a combination of the basic license models:
- National license basically brings unlimited access to full texts of titles of a particular publishing house for all specified subjects in certain geographical area.
- Multilicense for access to full texts of all titles prepaid by consortium members offers mutual so called cross access to titles prepaid by individual consortium members
- Multilicense for access of consortium members to all full textx of the publishing house offers minimal consortium prices
- Multilicense access to selected collection It usually is an access to a collection defined by a publisher, it is mostly subject collection. This model quite often offers an access to previously ordered periodicals.
License agreement types
Most publishers offer preferential terms for institutions in the area of science, research and education. They are mostly University libraries, science libraries, libraries of Academic science institutes. The primary point of the license agreement is very comprehensive description how the institutution can use the accessed information sources, it means authorised use definition. A failure to formalities would cause perceivable financial sanctions to the “guilty” institutions.
The period which the license agreement is entered into for can vary. The optimal agreements are those for 3 and more years because agreen on guaranteed price cap of electronic or print version of titles are usually markedly lower than when purchasing such sources individually, e. g. except for consortium.
Primary terms of license agreements
Each license agreement is unique. The agreed on conditions base on the original publishers´ offers but they could differ thanks to the ability and skill of the provider from the consortium agreements entered into by the same publisher, e. g. in other countries r from different target group. Therefore the publishers insist on keeping particular parts of the license agreement concerning payment models of a particular consortium as a business secret. The consortium members have the apparent and inalienable right to gain all information regarding the agreed on basic terms, authorised usage and own insitution´s payments itemized for whole consortium duration.
Consortium agreements entered into or administrated by company Suweco generally bring:
- Purchase of access to titles for incomperable lower price than price of subscription to individual journals.
- Guaranteed low price cap of electronic or print versions of titles which are prepaid by the consortium member (in case of full not deep discount price).
- Discounts for printed version in case of license model “e-only”.
- Remote access of authorised users of consortium members to the sources
- Statistical output for accessed sources monitoring are available to consortium members on secure servers in internationally acknowledged formats (COUNTER / ICOLC)
License agreements do not allow:
- A reproduction of accessible sources in order to profit.
- Use the sources for commercial purposes or within commercial organizations.
- Subsequent sale or grant a sublicense to consortium non-members
- Systematic delivery or distribution of licensed sources to unauthorised users.