What are consortia and what benefits do they offer?
A consortium is a group of libraries that works together with the aim of achieving the most advantageous agreement possible. The contract negotiations are conducted centrally by a negotiator.
Experience has shown that consortium participants pay less than individual organisations negotiating for the same product on their own. The conditions of certain points negotiated by a consortium may also be better than the same points in a comparable individual licensing agreement. This depends on a number of factors including economies of scale, synergy effects, a good working knowledge of English, and staff availability.
Why are consortia so important in the case of libraries?
Without a consortium, each library has to obtain offers on its own. It then has to check these offers, evaluate their legal and economic implications, and then negotiate an agreement with the publishing company, often in English. Small libraries often lack the resources and expertise required for this process.
ZB MED has enough personnel resources to negotiate successfully on behalf of a consortium. Each individual consortium is served by licensing specialists and electronic resource managers.
Currently, ZB MED is managing the Leibniz consortium for the Nature products of SpringerNature and the ELFI data bases. In addition, ZB MED manages the Leibniz-institutes participating in the Science-consortium of GASCO and serves as a spokesperson in this regard. Further consortia are set to follow.
Goportis – Cooperation in a Network
The licensing departments at ZB MED, ZBW and TIB regularly exchange information on all the latest developments within the Goportis network. Working together gives us access to the benefits that stem from extensive knowledge and many years of experience. As part of a new project, this cooperation in the field of licensing will become even closer.
The three Leibniz Information Centres share a common goal of acquiring or developing an Electronic Resource Management System (ERMS).
What role does ZB MED play?
ZB MED has many years of experience as a consortium leader when it comes to negotiating licenses for online publications. In the national licenses scheme known as "Classics" run by the German Research Foundation (which has now been terminated), ZB MED was one of just a handful of negotiators across Germany. "Classics" national licenses are fully funded by the German Research Foundation and provide free access to journal archives for scientists, students and scientificly interested people. Within the scope of the national licenses scheme, ZB MED manages ongoing access to a range of different journals:
- The American Physiological Society/APS Journal Legacy Content (12 journals, issues from 1898-1997)
- The Endocrine Legacy (4 journals, issues from 1917-2003)
- Informa Healthcare Digital Archive (153 journals, issues from 1918-2009)
- Journal of Clinical Oncology/ASCO (1 journal, issues from 1983-1998)
- Liebert On Line Archive (59 journals, issues from 1980-2005)
- Lippincott Williams and Wilkins Legacy Archive (220 journals, issues from 1827-2004)
- Psychiatry Legacy Collection (4 journals, issues from 1844-2006)
- The Scientific World Journal (1 journal, issues from 2000-2011. This journal has been made available in full under the open access scheme since the national license expired in 2012)
- Springer E-Book Collection / Medicine (issues from 2005-2008)
- Thieme Journal Archive (36 journals, issues from 1980-2007)
Consortia come in many different shapes and sizes. ZB MED is a service provider for all German customers in the field of life sciences. As a Leibniz Information Centre, some of the licenses negotiated and managed by us are specially tailored to the needs of Leibniz institutes.