Today I traveled to Manchester for a UKSG licensing course, and to have a meeting with JISC. The Licensing for Librarians course was a useful overview of eResource licensing, what to look out for, and elements of the license to ensure there is clarity on. The course was very interactive, giving an opportunity to learn from colleagues across Europe, and also from the expertise of JISC Collections. Overall this training course results in participants and their institutions being less exposed to the risks of accepting unfair license conditions.
We started the day by contemplating two important questions:
What are the key clauses and what are the implications of those clauses?
How do we negotiate those clauses, how can we best inform ourselves to argue against what we feel are unreasonable clauses?
What is a licence?
- Right to use
- Permissions and restrictions
- Extension & elaboration of the law
Licences are often unrealistic and JISC advise only implementing T&Cs that can reasonably be enforced by the library. They should be in line with what the institution can enforce, not following the publisher’s lead.
It is important not to expose your institution to risk. JISC recommend making all reasonable efforts to ensure licence restrictions are upheld, such as secure sign-ins and user education. An interesting point was raised during one of the exercises concerning educating non-teaching staff about what they can use content for.
Additional Authorized Users (AAU)
Additional Authorized Users (AAU) are an increasingly common element of confusion in the eResource license. Many variables to consider when assessing partners where AAUs are present.
Publishers are concerned about authentication, if all students are getting access, or if they are all at your institution.
The library often doesn’t hear about a new partnership until it is a done deal. The courses are discussed and decided, and the library is expected to supply resources.
Need for librarian to contact all publishers and check how this impacts the agreement. In practice, it would be best to check the license and potentially contact JISC Collections to see if they have advice on the issue.
Ultimately the institution must determine whether a user is a full student or staff member and how they are defined. A really useful aid for the librarian is the Jisc Decision Tool – users at partner organisations. This offers a framework but is not instructive on pricing.