I can't really get a fix on this group, Primary Research Group, but it just released a study on library licensing August 20th.
Reading it felt like sitting down to eleven cups of coffee with eleven librarians from academic and corporate libraries with strong licensing experience. Casual, honest. It did not feel like reading an $80 report that should be packed with hard data and perhaps more careful editing. (I know my blog entries would surely benefit from an editor - but hey, this blog is free).
Useful specifics are given. For example, the report tells us that Rick Burke of the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC) says that each of its members pays a $750.00 annual fee, and then the modest administrative apparatus is also supported by a 5% contract surcharge (only 1% if the license is arranged through another consortium). To keep costs down SCELC has avoided getting too involved in issues sometimes handled by consortiums that include union catalogs, patron initiated interlibrary loan.
I checked in with Rick since I know him and he's a great guy. He wrote back (quoted with permission):
"We want the threshold to participate in SCELC to be low, because we serve so many smaller private academic institutions that do not have large budgets. They need to add electronic resources in particular, and SCELC benefits them particularly because they are often at a disadvantage financially. At the same time, SCELC needs to be more than just a "buying club," which is why we promote other low-cost cooperative ventures to promote resource sharing, such as ILL or reciprocal borrowing. We also are exploring other means to promote continuing education and professional development for staff at our member institutions."
The Primedia Study draws broad conclusions are drawn from the eleven interviews. The conclusions are given in the press release. For example, consortia might average a 30% savings when negotiating database licenses over individual libraries. No one is likely to pay 'sticker price' which is viewed as "largely fictional." This seems like useful information, but there's no real indication as to how that data was obtained. The interviews are not a real large sample to base that finding on, or really any of their other findings… though the rest of the findings fairly general and probably accurate. E.g "The level of legal threat over unauthorized or unpaid for use of databases in fact appears rather low and most colleges take seriously the task of overseeing access as long as the rules are relatively clear and easy to implement."
"Licensing and Copyright Management: Best Practices of College, Special and Research Libraries," Primary Research Group
Just after I got the Primary Research Group report, I got the Association of Research Libraries report by Mary M. Case on ARL libraries and electronic journals. ARL has been tracking licensing issues for a decade and has good figures and charts.
She writes that many publishers still offer electronic access free with print, but this option seems to be disappearing in favor of options that secure greater rights for libraries, such as more content, archiving, interlibrary loans (ILL), e-reserves, and course packs.