IngentaConnect recently made it down to the Association of Subscription Agents and Intermediaries’ event “Policies, Pricing and Purchasing” in London. Following is a summary of the most interesting moments from our point of view (the full presentations are available for download from the ASA’s site).


Does the journal have a price any longer?
John Cox, Managing Director, John Cox Associates

  • Dominant model remains electronic free with print.
  • A number of publishers are pricing by size of institution – by number of sites, FTE, JISC banding, Carnegie classification, even (still) simultaneous users.
  • Publishers will then often sub-set pricing by market, geographic region, academic or corporate, number of members.
  • Some publishers now differentiating pricing by service level, charging more for a more extensive service.
  • ¾ of publishers offer articles on a pay-per-view (PPV) basis. Most regard PPV as a significant line item in the profit and loss statement.
  • Consortia pricing – dominant model remains ‘previous year plus’ or number of members. (i.e. what you pay in the current years is linked to what you paid in the previous year plus a percentage agreed/negotiated increase). Consortia tend to seek price caps as a way of managing budget mid-term.

Pricing the package
Nick Evans, Members Services Manager, ALPSP and Tamsyn Honour, Swets Information Services UK

  • Publishers package content: to maintain revenue
  • A review of available content in the market place reveals 250,000 publications, 2m pricing options.
  • Packaging helps librarians make purchasing easier.
  • Packages range from 4.9 million GBP in price down to less than 20GBP
  • Often, scale of operations will help publishers successfully engage the market. For example, Elsevier have 100 staff involved in consortia negotiation ongoing – smaller publishers cannot resource this.

Business models that work
Ian Snowley, Director, Academic Services, University of London Research Library Services, and President-Elect the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)

1700 libraries were surveyed:

  • How many of your subscriptions are electronic? 26-90% range, average 70%
  • How many expected to be electronic in 10 years? 75-100% range, 90% average
  • 100% of libraries purchase print + electronic subscriptions
  • 85% participate in purchases on the big deal model
  • Librarians are strongly in favour of longer term trials from publishers, as it is the only way that they can reasonably gauge and cost-justify investment in subscription.
  • Libraries are purchasing print + electronic but then pulping the accompanying print journal to avoid the VAT burden of going e-only
  • Is open access going to make a difference to library budgets? 50% said no, 50% said don’t know


Intermediation in the new user environment
Chris Beckett, Director, Scholarly Information Strategies Ltd

  • Initially publishers created their own sites and silo’d content. New intermediaries have emerged – Google, A&I services, etc. To a large degree, these intermediaries overcome the “problem” of silos.
  • Users are increasingly bypassing the onsite navigation and silos of the major publishers’ sites. Instead they are taken directly to the article (or abstract) through search engines, A&I services, etc. With this in mind, publishers need to consider article level branding (i.e. within the PDF). Providing high quality metadata is vital in order to be found.
  • Instead of lots of publisher platforms with their own features and layouts, publishers should consider using online journal platforms (such as IngentaConnect) so that users have one easily understood, familiar environment in which to find what they are looking for.
  • Use of Web 2.0 tools will become the more effective way to find information.

Discovery - empowering the user
Kate Stanfield, Head of Knowledge Management, CMS Cameron McKenna LLP

  • Libraries want better statistics and a single search interface for multiple sources, clear easy access with silent authentication “Just make your content findable and give it to us – that’s all we care about”.
  • They favour publishers/services that integrate easily into their library portal.

Where are consortia heading? 1. The UK model
Paul Harwood, Director, Content Complete

  • Online services originally came with the promise of rapid, easy access to the content to which you subscribe. This promise is not always kept. Institutions are extremely frustrated when they cannot access their content. We should be delivering on the original promise of online access.