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Re: Cost of Electronic Resources - a pricing model

Just a brief answer from a publisher of CD-ROM titles and Online
subscription services of technical material. 

When we stared to define a pricing model for electronic publications in
1992, we very quickly came to the conclusion that pricing based upon the
number of simultaneous users is non of interest for many reasons.
Similarly, the number of terminals or workstations connected to network of
a company or organisation (some of them are world-wide networks across
subsidiaries) are not meaningful in estimating usage of information

So we established a pricing model, which is based upon the number of users
as indicated by our customers in the Licence Agreement. The price is than
simply calculated by multiplying the single uses price with a factor,
which is a function of the number of users. 

Our current table is as follows:

up to 10  users   2,
up to 25  users   4,
up to 50  users   6,
up to 100 users  9 
and so on.

Now, it is clear that the number of users (authorised users) should be a
reasonable and realistic number. It is certainly higher than the number of
simultaneous users at any point of time and lower than the number of
people using the corporate networks (e.g. accountants are not interested
in telecommunications standards). 

One of the advantage of this model, that it is independent of LAN, WAN or
Intranet technologies and brings the question from a technical level to
business level. It is independent of whether the electronic publication is
on CD shared on network, or the information is converted into some
in-house database, or the whole thing is posted on the Intranet ( I did
not say Internet !!) or whatever. It should also work for hybrid (optical
disc plus Web)  publications, as nothing is referring to technology. 

Most of our Customers, large and medium size telecom enterprises are quite
good to estimate the number of their users. It also works for small
companies or consulting firms. Actually, we trust our Customer and the
person, who is authorised to sign the License Agreement on behalf of our
Customer, that the number of authorised users is realistic. (Software
companies are started to make some audits ...). 

As for Libraries, we do not have an answer. I hope to get some suggestion
from you, what could be a basis for estimating the number of users of a
given electronic publication. For the time being, we gave a 40% discount
to libraries of educational institution on our online subscription

[This are my personal views of the issue and it does not necessarily
reflects the official thinking of the ITU]. 

Sincerely yours,

L�szl� MERCZ
Head of Electronic Publishing

International Telecommunication Union 
Place des Nations 
CH - 1211 Geneva 20  

Fax      +41 22 730 5464 
X.400   S=mercz; P=itu; A=400net; C=ch 
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