International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive February 2009

The Horizon Report 2009

Wednesday, 4 February 2009 11:13:24 a.m.

The annual Horizon Report describes the continuing work of the NMC’s Horizon Project, a long-running qualitative research project that seeks to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, research, or creative expression within learning-focused organizations. The 2009 Horizon Report is the sixth annual report in the series. The report is produced again in 2009 as a collaboration between the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), an EDUCAUSE program.

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Research reveals economic case for open access publishing

Wednesday, 4 February 2009 10:48:12 a.m.

Sharing research information via a more open access publishing model would bring millions of pounds worth of savings to the higher education sector as well as benefiting UK plc. This is one of the key findings from a new research project3 commissioned by JISC.

Professor John Houghton from the Centre of Strategic Economic Studies at Melbourne’s Victoria University and Professor Charles Oppenheim at Loughborough University were asked to lead research that would throw light on the economic and social implications of new models for scholarly publishing.

The research centred on three models which include:

-Subscription or toll access publishing which involves reader charges and use restrictions;
-Open access publishing where access is free and publication is funded from the authors’ side; and
-Open access self-archiving where academic authors post their work in online repositories, making it freely available to all Internet users.

In their report, Houghton et al. looked beyond the actual costs and savings of different models and examined the additional cost-benefits that might arise from enhanced access to research findings.

The research and findings reveal that core scholarly publishing system activities cost the UK higher education sector around £5 billion in 2007. Using the different models, the report shows, what the estimated cost would have been:

-£230 million to publish using the subscription model,
-£150 million to publish under the open access model and
-£110 million to publish with the self-archiving with peer review services plus some £20 million in operating costs if using the different models.

When considering costs per journal article, Houghton et al. believe that the UK higher education sector could have saved around £80 million a year by shifting from toll access to open access publishing. They also claim that £115 million could be saved by moving from toll access to open access self-archiving.

In addition to that, the financial return to UK plc from greater accessibility to research might result in an additional £172 million per annum worth of benefits from government and higher education sector research alone.

JISC’s Chair Professor Sir Tim O’Shea said, “The argument for moving from more traditional subscription or toll-based publishing to a model that allows for greater accessibility and makes full use of the advances in technology cannot be ignored. This report shows there are significant savings to be made and benefits to be had.

“JISC will work with publishers, authors and the science community to identify and help to remove the barriers to moving to these more cost-effective models,” he added.

Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, commended the report and added that, "as a research funder that provides additional funds to its grantholders to meet the cost of open access publishing, I am delighted that this report vindicates this approach and shows that the benefits of enhanced accessibility outweigh the costs of supplementing research funds with 'author-pays' open access publishing fees".

Professor Ian Diamond, speaking on behalf of Research Councils UK said, "RCUK welcomes this substantial and interesting report. It will be of great use to the Research Councils as we develop our future policies in relation to publishing and in particular open access."

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Scholarly Information Practices in the Online Environment Themes from the Literature and Implications for Library Service Development

Wednesday, 4 February 2009 10:40:12 a.m.

Research libraries exist to support scholarly work. In recent years, the literature on scholarly practices and information use has been growing, and research libraries should be prospering from this increased base of knowledge. Unfortunately, the profession has no effective means for systematically monitoring or synthesizing the published results. This review begins to address the problem by reporting on the state of knowledge on scholarly information behavior, focusing on the information activities involved in the research process and how they differ among disciplines. It provides an empirical basis for identifying promising directions and setting priorities for development of digital information services to support and advance scholarship.

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Sharing Functionality on the Web: A Proposed Services Infrastructure for the European Library

Wednesday, 4 February 2009 10:38:02 a.m.

Theo van Veen, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands
Georg Petz, Austrian National Library
Christian Sadilek, Austrian Research Centers
Michel Koppelaar, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands

There is existing functionality on the web that users may want to have integrated in portals like the European Library portal. This requires the user to notify the portal on how that functionality or services are to be used. For this purpose we have developed a data model for describing functionality on the web. These service descriptions can be exchanged between users and service integrators like the European Library. In this article, we discuss these service descriptions and demonstrate them by means of a demonstrator portal.

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Archival Management Software: A Report for the Council on Library and Information Resources

Wednesday, 4 February 2009 10:33:33 a.m.

Lisa Spiro

With generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Council on Library and Information Resources has launched a multiyear program that addresses the challenge of cataloging hidden collections—those materials held in special collections, archives, and other restricted or relatively inaccessible settings. The program has two major dimensions: first, to identify hidden collections of potential value to scholars; and second, to address the thorny issue of cataloging such materials efficiently, effectively, and in such a way that the catalog records are available to scholars through the Web. In this paper, Lisa Spiro describes and analyzes some of the major technologies that are available to librarians, curators, and archivists and the implications of deploying these systems for existing workflows.

We invite members of the community to build on this report. Ms. Spiro has established a wiki at, where you can share your experiences and observations about archival management software and workflows.

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INTERNATIONAL COALITION OF LIBRARY CONSORTIA (ICOStatement on the Global Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Consortial LicensesLC)

Wednesday, 4 February 2009 10:15:17 a.m.

Written on behalf of the many library consortia across the world that participate in the ICOLC, this statement has two purposes. It is intended to help publishers and other content providers from whom we license electronic information resources (hereafter simply referred to as publishers) understand better how the current unique financial crisis affects the worldwide information community. Its second purpose is to suggest a range of approaches that we believe are in the mutual best interest of libraries and the providers of information services.

The ICOLC library consortia consider the current crisis of such significance that we cannot simply assume that libraries and publishers share a common perspective about the magnitude of the crisis and the best approaches to cope with it. ICOLC members have been exchanging perspectives about how the current economic recession will impact consortia and their libraries. We make the following forecasts about the impact of this crisis on libraries and library consortia.

1. We expect significant and widespread cuts in budget levels for libraries and consortia: reductions unlike the sporadic or regional episodes experienced from year to year, with real and permanent reductions to base budgets. It may not be uncommon for library and consortia budgets to decline by double digits year over year. We have yet to see the full effects, as many 2009 journal and database subscriptions have already been renewed. As of late 2008, many institutions have declared significant budgets cuts in all areas (content, staff, and operations) for 2009. Some consortia are experiencing significant economic impact in the current fiscal year; by calendar and fiscal 2010, the cuts will be in full force and widespread.

2. These cuts will be prolonged. The public and education sectors will likely lag in funding recovery. Once funding is withdrawn over multiple years, it will be years before budgets climb back toward pre-crisis levels.

3. Exchange rate fluctuations are complicating and in some cases amplifying the impact.

We encourage publishers to recognize these fundamentally different circumstances as we work together for the benefit of all parties. Library consortia are uniquely positioned to be the most effective and efficient means to preserve the customer base for publishers and create solutions that provide the greatest good for the greatest number. By working together, publishers and consortia can create the most effective pricing and renewal options and maintain the broadest base of subscribing libraries and services.

While we cannot be prescriptive where solutions are concerned, we suggest the following principles and techniques as likely to be the most effective approaches.

Principle 1: Flexible pricing that offers customers real options, including the ability to reduce expenditures without disproportionate loss of content, will be the most successful. In stable times, standardized pricing and terms may work relatively well. Today, purchasers will be under heavy pressure to reduce their outlays and need solutions that let them do so while continuing to offer as much content and service as possible. It is in the publisher’s best interest that we avoid all-or-nothing, take-it-or-leave-it decisions and options, whose lack of flexibility is likely to result in far greater damage than is absolutely necessary.

Principle 2: It is in the best interest of both publishers and consortia to seek creative solutions that allow licenses to remain as intact as possible, without major content or access reductions. Content, once discontinued, will be very difficult to reinstate at a later date. While there may be practical limits to this principle, publishers, authors, scholars, and libraries will be best served by those solutions that retain as much access to as much content as possible.

With these two principles in mind, we suggest the following approaches:

1. Purchasers will trade features for price; that is, we can do without costly new interfaces and features. This is not a time for new products. Marketing efforts for new products will have only limited effects, if any at all. Libraries will have few if any resources to invest in new titles or more content elements. Publishers who work with the scholarly communities to understand what content is critically needed will be the most successful.

2. Putting price first will help all parties, because budget pressures will drive decisions in a way never seen before. Real price reductions will be welcomed and can help to sustain relationships through the hard times.

Even increases at inflation levels will not be supportable by many groups and libraries. Other approaches and options must be considered and made available. Some options may be uniquely created to take advantage of local situations. Therefore:

3. Tailoring content to need and pricing accordingly can be very helpful. For example, customized approaches that look to usage patterns as the basis for an adjustment may be equitable for all parties. In the case of tiered pricing schedules, applying this flexibly to core content packages in combination with more affordable pricing for single titles may create another affordable option. Multiple, creative options are needed so that library consortia can work with their members to fashion the optimal purchase level.

4. Multi-year contracts will be possible only with clear opt-out and/or reduction clauses. As difficult as these clauses can be, the only alternative for many institutions will be year-to-year (or even shorter term) licenses. These increase the administrative overheads for all parties and may encourage further reductions. Additionally, opt-out clauses must as well recognize the need for a flexible set of reduction techniques that avoid penalizing customers in either the long or short term.

5. While annual payments currently are the most prevalent payment schedule for group licenses, options will be needed for semi-annual or quarterly payment schedules, in combination with more flexible opt-out/reduction clauses and renewal cycles. Libraries and consortia may have very little warning of changes in their budgets. Payment options are a necessary precaution in light of rapidly changing financial circumstances and expectations.

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In combination, we suggest these approaches as a way to advance the conversations among libraries, consortia and publishers, who all hope to preserve existing relationships, provide as much information to users, and generate as much business as budgets will allow. We believe our recommendations provide a solid foundation for the information community, including the publishers of scholarly information, to go forward together in these difficult times.

The current situation may in the long term serve as a catalyst that challenges publishers, scholars and libraries to create a system that will more efficiently produce and disseminate the growing output of global scholarship.

Faye Abrams, OCUL Projects Officer, Ontario Council of University Libraries, 416-978-4211,
Ivy Anderson, Director, Collections, California Digital Library, University of California, Office of the President, (510) 987-0334,
Diane Costello, Executive Officer, CAUL (Council of Australian University Librarians), +61 2 6125 2990,
Ed McBride, Chief Marketing & Outreach Officer, SOLINET, 404-892-0943 ext. 4864,
Arnold Verhagen, University Librarian University of Amsterdam, and Licensing Consultant UKB-consortium, +31 5252307 or +31 611292816,
Hazel Woodward, University Librarian and Director of the University Press, Cranfield University, +44 (0) 1234 754446,

Adopters of This Statement
This statement is adopted in principle by member representatives of consortia of the "International Coalition of Library Consortia" (ICOLC) that are listed below.  As of January 20, 2009 (this statement with updates to this list will be posted periodically to )

CAUL (Council of Australian University Librarians), Australia
Austrian Academic Consortium (Kooperation E-Medien Oesterreich), Austria
Flemish Research Libraries Council (VOWB), Belgium
Bibliocentre, Canada
Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN), Canada
Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec(Conference of Rectors and Principals of Universities of Quebec) - CREPUQ, Canada
Council of Atlantic University Libraries, Canada
Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL), Canada
OCUL (Ontario Council of University Libraries), Canada
Saskatchewan Multitype Database Licensing Program, Canada
Denmark's Electronic Research Library, DEFF, Denmark
FinELib, Finland
COUPERIN (Consortium universitaire des publications numériques), France
JULAC (Joint Universities Librarians Advisory Committee), Hong Kong
MALMAD – Israel Inter-University Center for Digital Information Services, Israel
Coordinamento Interuniversitario Basi dati & Editoria in Rete (CIBER). Italy
INFER - Italian Forum on Electronic Resources, Italy
Lebanese Academic Library Consortium (LALC), Lebanon
Lithuanian Research Library Consortium, Lithuania, Multi-national
Consortium of Dutch University Libraries and the National Library (UKB)
Norwegian Health Library Consortium, Norway
PFSL (Poznan Foundation of Scientific Libraries), Poland
Fundação para a Computação Ciêntifica Nacional (FCCN), Portugal
NEICON, Russia
Centralna tehniska knjiznica Univerze v Ljubljani (The Central Technological Library at the University of Ljubljana), Slovenia
COSEC (Consortium of Slovenian Electronic Collections), Slovenia
CBUC-Consorci de Biblioteques Universitàries de Catalunya / Consortium of Academic Libraries of Catalonia, Spain
BIBSAM, Sweden
Consortium of Swiss Academic Libraries, Switzerland
CONCERT - CONsortium on Core Electronic Resources in Taiwan, Taiwan
ANKOS (Anatolian University Library Consortium), Turkey
JISC Collections, United Kingdom
Reference Task Group (RTG) of the Co-South Consortium, United Kingdom
ALI (Academic Libraries of Indiana), USA
Amigos Library Services, USA
Arizona Universities Library Consortium (AULC), USA
Boston Library Consortium, Inc., USA
Califa Library Group, USA
California Digital Library (CDL), USA
California State University – Systemwide Electronic Information Resources, USA
CARLI (Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois), USA
College Center for Library Automation, USA
Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries, USA
Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC), USA
Florida Center for Library Automation, USA
Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA), USA
INFOhio - The Information Network for Ohio Schools, USA
LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network, USA
Maine InfoNet , USA
Maryland Digital Library, USA
Michigan Library Consortium, USA
MINITEX Library Information Network, USA
Missouri Library Network Corporation (MLNC), USA
MOBIUS Consortium (Missouri) , USA
NERL (NorthEast Research Libraries Consortium), USA
Network of Alabama Academic Libraries, USA
Nevada Academic Library Consortium (NCAL), USA
New York Three Rs Association, USA
Nylink, USA
OhioLINK (Ohio Library and Information Network), USA
OPLIN (Ohio Public Library Information Network), USA
Orbis Cascade Alliance, USA
PASCAL (Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries), USA
Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc. (PALCI), USA
SAALCK (State Assisted Academic Library Council of Kentucky), USA
SCELC, the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium, USA
Tenn-Share, USA
TexShare, USA
Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN), USA
University of Missouri Library System, USA
University of Texas System Digital Library, USA
Virtual Academic Library Environment of New Jersey (VALE), USA
VIVA (The Virtual Library of Virginia), USA
Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC), USA
Washington State Cooperative Library Project, USA
WiLS (Wisconsin Library Services), USA

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 approximately 200 library consortia in North and South 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 one meeting 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 or contact Tom Sanville, Executive Director, OhioLINK, Suite 300, 2455 North Star Road, Columbus, OH 43221, Phone: 614-728-3600, ext. 322;