|The Ingenta Institute, an independent research organization of the
scholarly communications industry, has announced the commencement of a
comprehensive international study into the impact of site licensing and
consortia developments on the scholarly communication process. "To date,
no significant research has been undertaken to assess the advantages, disadvantages,
and implications of the consortium site license concept on an international
scale," said David Brown, coordinator of the Ingenta Institute.
Over the past few years, the consortia site licensing debate has rushed
to the forefront because of the increasing popularity of consortia site
negotiation between publishers and library groupings or library consortia,
according to the announcement. However, little has been done to investigate
the impact of these dealings comprehensively (i.e., the international reach
of these deals and the complexities of meeting all partners' needs). For
example, the publishers desire maximum profitability, while libraries seek
the most relevant collection at the most efficient cost.
"Despite these seemingly disparate requirements, the growing number
of consortia sites begs the question: Are all parties achieving their financial
goals as well as providing access to end-users? The Ingenta Institute's
multilayered, three-stage research project will help to identify the major
issues to be addressed in order to achieve improved access, delivery, and
pricing models for publishers, libraries, and intermediaries," said Brown.
Consisting of three separate studies, the research program "The Impact
of Site Licensing and Consortia Developments" will run over a period of
2 years and be coordinated by the Ingenta Institute. Detailed findings
from the first phases of the separate U.K. and U.S. studies will be announced
and published this year at the Royal Society in London on September 24
and at the Charleston Advisor pre-conference in Charleston, South Carolina,
on October 30. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conducting the first study is Donald W. King, a professor at Pittsburgh
University's School of Information Sciences, who is compiling a comprehensive
review of consortium licensing in the U.S. In recent years, library consortia
have added electronic journals to their menu of services, but little is
known about the impact that these developments are having on the rest of
the journal publishing system. King is examining in detail the system channel
involving consortia e-journal services; the trends in these consortia considerations;
how consortia can best be served and contribute to other system participants;
and how publishers, consortia, and libraries can improve their decision
making and optimize the consortia system channel.
The second study has been awarded to U.K.-based research consultancy
Key Perspectives, Ltd., which has been retained to undertake pilot studies
on the impact of consortium site licenses on scholarly journal publishers
and academic libraries. Personal interviews with senior publishers and
librarians are planned in the U.S., U.K., and continental Europe.
The final study, contracted to City University, will analyze site licensing
and consortia developments from the user's perspective. Taking usage data
from those international publishers that offer consortia site licenses
and agree to participate in the study, City University will analyze these
statistics to determine whether the consortia deal (sometimes referred
to as the "Big Deal" by industry insiders) delivers advantages to the user
and, on a broader scale, to identify significant changes in the scholarly
Source: Ingenta Institute, Cambridge, MA, 617/395-4000; http://www.ingenta.com.