[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Consortia advantages?, was: Re: paper on libraries and publishers


I was sorry to miss the program on consortia, but I'm wondering about the
psychology of your suggestion: if the publisher does indeed lower the
price for individual libraries, that *is* the price, and there is no
'special advantage' to push things along. There are so many more valuable
resources than we can hope to purchase or subscribe to that the sense of a
special deal does probably encourage more buy-in, even if there is a good
deal of concentrated effort on the part of the vendor to pull it off. We
have made a couple of purchases as a new NERL affiliate that we wouldn't
have made otherwise--or at least not at this point in time.

Even more important, sadly, is the enormous advantage to the libraries who
don't then have to individually manage licensing negotiation.  I don't
mean access terms and *concrete* licensing issues (who, from where, etc.)  
but all the 'fine print', and getting it shuffled through possibly legal
and administrative review. If the administration know the license was
negotiated and agreed to by a consortial representative with credibility,
there is a huge advantage from my perspective in avoiding the local review

I'm sure the administrative 'cost' for the vendor and the negotiator are
high, but there I would suggest there is a significant savings of
time/cost by members of the consortium, and that alone could result in
more buy in.

Carole Richter

At 03:29 PM 2/4/1999 EST, you wrote:
>At Phila. I have just presented my view that consortia do not save
>administrative costs--at least for the most common type of consortia
>involving US academic libraries, such as NERL, where the participant
>libraries each decide which of the products they want to acquire. As
>several frustrated salesman have told me, it is probably even more
>complicated and time-consuming to persuade each of the libraries to buy
>than if they were buying individually. Whether the publisher's support
>goes to the end user directly or the libraries it costs the same; the set
>up costs are the same; the distribution costs are the same.
>I think these consortia succeed because of the snowball effect--since our
>counterparts are buying we will too, and because of salemanship--get this
>offer while it lasts. If a publisher can afford to offer an advantageous
>price to a group, that publisher can afford to offer the same price to
>those libraries individually; indeed at the (lower) price there may well
>be additional sales to other libraries.
>This does not necesarily apply to consortia such as found in the UK and
>several US states, where all the libraries get the same materials, and the
>effect of averaging different requirements comes into play. Here (at least
>as applies to journals, not databases) the objection, as stated by various
>postings on this list, is that a publisher blanket arrangment (consortial
>or otherwise) destroys any incentive the publisher has to maintain or
>improve the quality of the journals, as the libraries are now committed to
>purchase them all in any case. If such arrangements are to be subsidized,
>then I suggest considering in detail whether other possible plans, such as
>those discussed in Andrew Odlyzko's paper, might be preferable.
>David Goodman, Princeton University Biology Library				
>dgoodman@princeton.edu            609-258-3235

Carole Richter
Electronic Resourcees Coordinator
University of Notre Dame Libraries