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66th IFLA Council and General

Jerusalem, Israel, 13-18 August


Code Number: 167-134-E
Division Number: V
Professional Group: Acquisition and Collection Development
Joint Meeting with: Serial Publications
Meeting Number: 134
Simultaneous Interpretation:    Yes

Some Consortial Models for Acquiring Electronic Resources in Germany

Diann Rusch-Feja
Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Berlin, Germany

Email: ruschfeja@mpib-berlin.mpg.de


Germany has a distinctively federated system of libraries which thusfar has not allowed a unified national policy on acquiring electronic resources. Each of the 16 Bundesländer has a different policy and is at a different stage in negotiations for licensing agreements with various companies. In addition, several research organizations have developed their own negotiations and some regional, multi-type libraries have joined together to form regional consortia for negotiation purposes. Several aspects of the licensing agreements have contributed to this dissonance in defining common goals among the participants.

In early 2000, a new working group of consortia has formed with representatives from the individual German regional consortia. This group is working towards more transparency between the groups and towards better defined licensing conditions. A small faction pleads for attempts to create a national framework contract such as has been achieved in the UK, but most participants see a national site license as a possible detriment for the actual licensing pricing and conditions.

The consortial models discussed in this paper are 1) state-determined regional consortia for libraries in higher educational institutions, 2) regional multi-type consortia, 3) institutional consortia, and 4) supraregional, multi-type institutional research library consortia. Some political implications, as well as the effects on the licensing contract negotiations, associated with these various types of consortia will be treated. The importance of the advocacy role of the Information Communication Commission of the Joint Learned Societies, the German Research Foundation and the efforts of the Federal Ministry are also mentioned.


Introduction & Historical Overview of Acquisition of Electronic Resources in Germany

Germany has a distinctively federated system of libraries which thusfar has not allowed a unified national policy on acquiring electronic resources. Each of the 16 "Bundesländer" (German states) has a different policy and is at a different stage in negotiations for licensing agreements with various companies. To date, only 12 of the Länder have entered into consortial negotiations with vendors of electronic resources. In addition, several research organizations have developed their own negotiation policies and some regional, multi-type libraries have joined the corresponding regional consortium or have started discussions to form supraregional research library consortia for purposes of acquiring electronic resources. Several aspects of the licensing agreements have contributed to this dissonance in defining common goals among the participants.

As opposed to the developments in the realm of electronic journals in Great Britain where a more centralized higher education system facilitates certain structural innovation, Germany has a highly decentralized, federated system of higher education. Because this federated system placed decision-making power in the ministries at the state or "Länder" level, cooperation in terms of joint projects, contracts, services, etc., among libraries in Germany has been somewhat difficult. Only three of the 16 "Länder" or states have received central funding for acquisition of electronic resources to augment their previous budgets; others have had to struggle with the conflict of rising prices and dwindling budgets. This paper will discuss the four types of consortial models in Germany at this time, as well as some of the difficulties presented in the various consortial negotiations. The four consortial models1 which will be dealt with here are:

  1. regional consortia for libraries in higher educational institutions,
  2. regional multi-type consortia,
  3. institutional consortia, and
  4. supraregional, multi-institutional research library consortia.
In addition, representatives of the majority of these consortia have met to discuss nation-wide policy decisions. Thus, some political implications, as well as the effects on the licensing contract negotiations, associated with these various types of consortia and the prospects of a national site license will be treated. Finally, the importance of the advocacy role of the Information and Communication Commission of the Joint Learned Societies, the German Research Foundation and the efforts of the Federal Ministry will be mentioned.

In Germany in the early nineties, a few innovative persons in libraries, learned societies and universities observed the impact of the Internet and electronic publications in the United States, Great Britain and Australia and immediately proceeded to introduce similar efforts into the still maturing technological infrastructure and rather "internally focussed" academic and research world. In 1995, leaders in four German learned societies2 , began discussing ways in which the needs for electronic information in each of their disciplines could be met with greater accessibility to networked electronic resources and a better infrastructure. Negotiations led to an agreement between the four societies to work together to further the information and technological infrastructure in Germany and this group, the Information and Communication (IuK) Commission of the German Learned Societies, received 3 years of funding from the Federal Ministry of Education, Research and Technology3 to bring foreign experts to Germany, to sponsor various pre-print server projects, and to investigate the various developments springing up in the anglo-american-australian countries which could be useful for German institutions. In 1997, the IuK-Working Group on E-Journals was formed in response to the growing need for transparency between libraries, authors (represented by the learned societies), and users (represented by the universities, university libraries and learned societies) in negotiating new paradigms for electronic information and publications in comparision with the traditional one-time-only purchase price for books and journals. Although this mixed group of librarians and researchers has no leverage or decision-making power, it serves as an awareness-raising interest group, vocalizing some of the problems involved through international conferences (1998) and through individual events at German learned societies' and librarians' conferences. This group is also helping to stimulate and support other efforts starting in the individual states and regions.

During the same time period, several foresighted individuals influenced the formation of library consortia for the purchase and use of electronic journals. In 1995, F. W. Froben, a researcher responsible for the physics library at the Free University of Berlin, began talks with other physics libraries in Berlin and Brandenburg about the rising costs of journal subscription and joining forces to attain consortial agreements for electronic versions.

At the same time, the leaders of the Digital Library of North-Rhine -Westfalia, which is centered at the University of Bielefeld, began negotiating for a variety of electronic resources, including electronic journals, databases, and reference works, to build up a comprehensive digital library for a relatively small group of major university libraries within this state. This Digital Library of North Rhine-Westfalia was originally supported by the State Minister for Schools, Continuing Education, Science and Research with central funding for electronic journals and databases, but also with the purpose of establishing the Digital Library of North-Rhine-Westfalia as the document delivery center and general electronic information center for 8 of the major university libraries located in this state.

During this time, the learned societies were helping the individual disciplines in setting up a pre-print server network and a web-based software database, as well as link into international efforts such as NCSTRL and the Los Alamos Eprints Server in the United States. Together with Springer Press and other German publishers, the German Society of computer scientists built up the first electronic publishing testbed in Germany, the MEDOC project (http://medoc.informatik.tu-meunchen.de/) - although this was for monographs rather than electronic journals. Similarly, the WEBDOC project (http://www.pica.nl/) was begun in 1995 by the University Libraries in Göttingen to collect and catalog electronic articles, and in 1997 the University of Regensburg University Library started its "Electronic Journals Library" (EZB) (http://www.bibliothek.uni-regensberg.de/ezeit/ezb.phtml) and make them available to a limited, primarily constituent-based clientele. Today, it has expanded its membership beyond its regional bounds.Similarly, the Dahlemer Wissenschaftler Netz (DARWIN) at the Free University of Berlin has also constructed a digital library of electronic resources including e-journals, electronic dissertations, electronic information services, personalized electronic services, etc. (http://darwin.inf.fu-berlin.de/work/Main/).

1. Regional Consortia of Libraries in Higher Educational Institutions

The most representative in the category of library consortia for acquiring electronic resources are the university library consortia in various German states. Since there is no central or national office or commission to finance nationwide efforts concerning information provision to higher education and research, librarians in some states have various levels of organized consortial negotiations. In some states, the larger university libraries have forged ahead in negotiations for their own library or for the region, especially in the case where that library maintains the state union catalogs. In a few cases, the office of individual state minister of higher education initiated negotiations or in a rare case the central office of the regional union library catalog provided staff which carried out the necessary coordination of library needs and negotiation talks. In other states, the formation of library consortia was driven by the awareness that only group efforts can take issue against the rising journals' costs and effect some leverage in negotiating new pricing structures for electronic journals. Thus, a great deal of voluntary initiative of energetic, dedicated librarians has been involved.

North Rhine-Westphalia, one of the largest and most densely populated states of Germany, was the first state to negotiate for licensing agreements for all of its university and research libraries and their patrons. Already in 1997, additional funding from the state ministry of Education, Schools, Science and Research was obtained for negotiating the "full set" of electronic journals for eight North Rhine-Westphalian university libraries from Elsevier and Springer.4 Part of the money was specifically earmarked for computer equipment to access electronic journals which was also part of the North Rhine-Westfalian Digital Library Project (IBIS). The contracts with Elsevier and Springer are still in effect, since neither contract allowed cancellation of the print subscriptions. 5 The complete set of electronic journals from Academic Press has been acquired. Because the North Rhine-Westphalian consortium provides electronic article delivery with the aid of the article catalog Jade and the JASON document delivery system, a set of various payment schemes has been integrated into the University of Bielefeld access system. This access system allows easy access to different publishers' electronic journal servers, as well as to and from databases, CD-ROM databases, and library catalogs including the article catalog, Jade.This policy for acquiring electronic resources and providing them to constituent members corresponds to the goals of the North Rhine-Westphalian program for a digital library. 6 Since the latter months of 1999, these electronic document delivery (including electronic files created by scanning printed articles, as well as electronic files from electronic subscriptions), can be used by registered library members outside of North Rhine-Westfalia, however, at a higher, but still reasonable price, than for consortial members within the state.

In Bavaria, negotiations on behalf of the university and research libraries in this State have been carried out by representatives of the Munich University Library and the Bavarian State Library for licensing agreements applicable for all Bavarian academic and research libraries. As yet, however, contracts have only been foreclosed with Academic Press as the spectrum of disciplines covered by the collection of journals Academic Press offers corresponds much more to the university needs than certain other publishers of electronic journals. Negotiations with Elsevier have been broken off as the Bavarian libraries felt that the business model proposed by Elsevier was not advantageous to libraries. Other contracts are being negotiated. Rolf Griebel and Richard Mai7 note that if central funding is available, libraries will not be quite as cost conscious as when the costs of the electronic journals are distributed among the subscribers. In Bavaria, libraries pay for their choice of products in the consortium individually. Thus, they demand more value-added services and cannot accept high additional costs for the electronic version or the previous licensing policy of both Springer and Elsevier which was based on parallel acquisition of both print and electronic versions. In addition, many libraries refused to commit themselves to the publishers' stipulation not to cancel print subscriptions when electronic versions were available. 8 The subscriptions acquired by the university libraries in the State of Bavaria can be seen on the Website of the University Library of the University of Regensburg, where a "traffic light" system to simultaneously determine the permitted access for the individual libraries within the Bavarian Consortium is in use (http://www.ub.uni-regensburg.de/ezb/. Within the state-negotiated licensing framework, each library makes its own decision to subscribe to the the electronic version of the journa. These titles then appear as green, (yellow if completely free, red if not accessible at that site.)

In Saxony, representatives of the State and University Library of Dresden have begun negotiations with several publishers of electronic journals, although no contractual agreements have been closed to date. In addition to the individual licensing negotiations being carried out, the southern Germany Länder of Bavaria, Saxony and Baden-Württemburg are discussing joint negotiations both with publishers of electronic journals and other content providers such as database hosts.

In 1999, the Hessian State Ministry for Science and Art reserved 2 Million DM for acquiring electronic scientific publications. Negotiations have concentrated primarily on database acquisition, but since under the new copyright law, electronic journals are considered databases, this has been expanded to include electronic journal negotiations. Thus, this central funding has been used to license access to database hosts, acquire certain CD-ROM databases, access SWET's online offerings (via GBV), acquire some daily newspapers in electronic form and the full set of Academic Press electronic journals. These resources are available to all institutions of higher education in Hesse. In addition, negotiations have been made for ACM publications, Nature, Science, 3 online journals with German mirror servers in Hesse, Beilstein, EBSCO journals, Karger medical journals, etc. In most cases,the contracts have been based on the number of subscriptions in Hesse in 1996 with the clause of no cancellation and an annual price increases of 5-13 % guaranteed over two years. In addition, physics journals offered by Springer have been negotiated for five of the universities in Hesse for the years 1999-2000.

2. Regional Multi-Type Library Consortia

The most impressive example of the regional, multi-type library consortia is the Berlin-Brandenburg regional Friedrich Althoff Consortium, which today has evolved into the fourth category of supraregional multi-type, multi-institutional library consortium. After Froben began his talks with Berlin physics libraries in 1997, it did not take long until the group was expanded to include university libraries, as well as smaller libraries in research institutions in the Berlin and Potsdam region. The unique aspect of this consortia was that a loosely structured, voluntary affiliation between the libraries with common goals resulted in the establishment of a contract-based consortia for acquiring electronic journals. Froben, who can be characterized as having first-hand knowledge of a researcher's needs, a businessman's persuasive skills, and (for a German) a very unconventional manner of negotiation, was joined by several other librarians from various sized libraries in hard negotiations with Elsevier, Springer, Academic and Kluwer press. This consortium, the Friedrich-Althoff9 Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries, represents the first multi-type, multidisciplinary and multi-institutional library consortium in Germany.

This Consortium of academic and research libraries in Berlin and Brandenburg was founded in 1997. Prior to that it was known as the "Berlin-Brandenburg Library Consortium"10 which had grown out of a discussion group of Berlin physics libraries ("Gesprächskreis Physikbibliothekare") initiated by Dr. F. W. Froben. With the lack of a strong state union catalog in Berlin, and the interests not only of university libraries, but also of several regional research centers in Berlin and Brandenburg, these libraries joined together to form the first legal consortium with a consortial contract between the members for purposes of negotiating electronic journals (and later also databases and other services). By the end of 1997, the first pilot projects for this consortium were set up and costs distributed among the circa. 8 members11 . Members of this Consortium agreed to a contract for the framework of the individual negotiations, but they are free to decide to participate in the individually negotiated contracts with various publishers. 12 Individual non-consortial members may also participate in the consortial license for certain journals, if the consortial members and publisher agree to this. Cost sharing is based on the number of journal subscriptions to be included and the costs according to the previous year's subscription volume of the consortial members. Consortium members can chose which publishers' journals they want to have in electronic form. They are not obligated to subscribe to any services, but when they do, they benefit from the broad spectrum of journal titles already in the repertoire of the participating libraries (cross access). The financial distribution of payment is partially carried out by subscription agents, for example, Lange & Springer, who was involved in some of the consortial agreements.

Interlibrary loan services are maintained by the Consortium: Individual member libraries obligate themselves to function as the region's interlibrary loan library for certain journal titles and thus agrees to maintain the print version and provide copies for all interlibrary loan requests. In some cases, storage on proxy servers is allowed and in one contract, a contingency of 15,000 articles from journals of that publisher which are not subscribed to by the members of the consortium are included at no additional charge. 13 The Friedrich Althoff Consortium has carried out negotiations with Elsevier, Springer, Blackwell Science, and Academic Press and are in negotiations with HighWire Press, Kluwer, subscription agents, database vendors and other content providers. Currently, approximately 1200 electronic journals are available in full text to the members of the Friedrich Althoff Consortium (FAK). As of July 2000, the FAK office has been established with a full-time negotiator and part-time secretarial staff. An executive board consists of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and Secretary-Treasurer. The cost distribution is based on the volume of holdings for any one publisher's titles in a base year (usually 1998), plus an additional contribution to support the secretariat and administrative duties based on the size of the library and its acquisition budget. An archival model consists of a fully electronic E-Journals collection with one print subscription of each title to be maintained (binding, interlibrary loan, etc.) by one of the participating consortial partners. This library commits itself to making any necessary copies for interlibrary loan requests, to binding the journal and making it available within the library. Archiving electronic resources will be based on binding and maintenance of the print collection (climate control, rebinding after a certain point of use, etc.). In addition to the electronic subscription which would be available to all participating consortial members, the community costs cover one print subscription which is then maintained and used for external interlibrary loan for the consortial partners. A model such as that of the Friedrich Althoff Consortia requires a distribution of payment model and also staff in each participating library for interlibrary loan requests, albeit a much reduced level of interlibrary loan requests.

Although originally a consortia evolving out of a union of libraries using the PICA library system, 25 university libraries and libraries in research institutions in 7 German Länder14 have joined together to form a consortium for acquiring electronic resources within the Cooperative Library Union ("Gemeinsamer Bibliotheksverbund (GBV)") 15 to start negotiations for electronic journals with Springer in 1998. The negotiations have been made by the director of the State and University Library of the University of Bremen, the libraries representative in the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture, the director of the Lower Saxony State and University Library in Göttingen, and most recently also the director of the University Library and Technical Information Library in Hannover. A pilot installation for full use of all Springer electronic journals in 1999 has been continued with a followup contract using a different algorithm for payment distribution for different user groups and based on the percentage of print journals at a particular site related to the percentage of titles and entire volume of subscriptions. The initial pilot installation was based on a fixed sum which was paid for by an additional amount of central funding from the GBV. Continued funding, however, has been negotiated with contributions from the participating university libraries. All registered faculty and students of these instutions have complete access to the licensed texts. Commercial users of the library consortium were not allowed access during the pilot installation. Interlibrary loan using the electronic version of an article was not allowed. In the followup contract, commercial users will have to pay a fixed fee ("pay per view") per document through the Techical Information Library in Hannover. Additional negotiations are being conducted with Elsevier, Academic Press and Swets. As of September 2000, Kluwer electronic journals will be licensed within context of a North German supraregional contract (described below). In addition, the "Cooperative Library Union (GBV)" represents Germany in the International Coalition of Library Corsortia (ICOLC) The 2nd European ICOLC Conference will be hosted by the Friedrich-Althoff Consortium in Berlin from December 1-3, 2000.

Like the initial efforts to consolidate subscriptions within North Rhine-Westphalia, representatives of university, polytechnic, teachers' college libraries and the two State libraries16 in Baden-Württemberg were some of the earliest in Germany to start negotiations with publishers of electronic journals. However, there has been no additional funding for acquiring electronic journals and for the most part, these libraries have been unable and unwilling to pay additional prices for the electronic and the print version of the same journal, as required by many publishers. Furthermore, all "package" deals or "complete sets" of all journals of a single publisher were rejected, as were the requirements that multiple copies within the participating libraries could not be cancelled. Hence, no licensing contracts for electronic journals have been closed for this Land alone. The original central funding of 1,9 million DM over four years have thus been used to obtain consortial agreements for 14 databases with some of the cost increases being absorbed by the consortial partners. In addition, the libraries in this State are looking to cooperative efforts with the learned societies to obtain economical conditions for access to subject-specific journals. Thus, for instance, a contract for the chemical journals of the American Chemical Society (ACS) has been taken advantage of by several libraries in Baden-Württemberg. By virtue of attaining state licensing agreements which allow the choice of individual participation, "sub-consortia" have been formed with 3-8 member libraries participating in the individual contracts. Such "sub-consortia" ("Unterkonsortien") have been formed for individual databases, access to multiple database hosts, aggregator offerings and subject specific offerings (i.e., EconLit, Geobase, the database offerings of FIZ-Technik, SwetsNet, etc.). Participation in each "sub-consortium" is financed solely by the institution, but with the benefit of the state-wide licensing agreement. Further negotiations are currently being made with other database offerings and publishers of electronic resources such as Blackwell Science, PsychInfo, SciFinder, etc. Responsibility for the negotiations are distributed among the consortial partners so that the State Ministry goals17 of cooperative efforts to obtain optimal access and economic pricing for all partners involved and based on individual choice of the participating institutions rather than full obligation are being attained. In addition, the individual licensing agreements have different conditions of access and payment structure. The licenses are only negotiated for one year and in all cases, usage statistics are being studied to determine which institutions may want to cancel the subscription due to insufficient use to justify the price. Thus, contracts are constantly being reviewed and in essence, reduced.

Baden-Württemberg is also cooperating with the State of Bavaria for certain multi-state licensing agreements for databases, products of aggregators and publishers of electronic journals. These licensing agreements again allow individual choice for the individual institutions and some institutions of higher education in Saxony are also participating.

Although it is one of the smallest German Länder, the Saarland negotiated pilot installations of the Springer electronic journals for the duration of one year during 1999/2000 for all academic libraries in the Saarland. In the Rhineland-Palatinate, 19 university libraries, polytechnic libraries, and libraries of other research institutions have a pilot installation of 190 Springer electronic journals in 2000. Both contracts are similar and have the added advantage that in each Land, electronic journals which would usually only be available in the other Land will be available in both Länder to participating institutions. The pilot phase includes using the LINK information system for electronic journals from Springer.

3. Institutional Library Consortia

The Max Planck Society is dedicated to basic research in all disciplines and has 81 Institute libraries. In some cases, libraries of individual Max Planck Institutes have joined the respective regional consortia for licensing of electronic journals where they are located. Such membership in a regional consortium has certain advantages, such as access to basic titles, titles of other disciplines not otherwise subscribed to. Other advantages, such as reduction of overlap or duplicate subscriptions which are cost-saving, are only available when libraries with similar collection emphases join together. Hence, as of 1995, central negotiations for certain bibliographic databases on CD-Rom were negotiated for the Max Planck Society, even if not all Max Plank Institutes would use them. By 1997, this included the booksellers' databases, Web of Science and Current Contents and the Ovid databases. In 1998, negotiations for electronic journals began, first on the initiative of individual librarians and researchers in physics and biomedical institutes, then later through the Max Planck Society Headquarters. An extensive study on the use and acceptance of electronic journals was carried out in 1999 on the basis of the full sets at that time of scholarly electronic journals offered by Elsevier, Springer, Academic Press and Science. 18 The results showed a distinct difference among the three content divisions within the Max Planck Society (natural sciences and mathematics, biomedical and social sciences and humanities), both in levels of use, aspects of acceptance, number of titles with electronic versions available, and in general acceptance of electronic information resources. However, the survey also showed the high level of acceptance of Ovid databases, Web of Science, etc., among the researchers. In the Max Planck Society (MPG), where a great deal of interdisciplinary research is done, a broad spectrum of journal titles attained via the cross access possibilities has cost-saving advantages for the researchers who have direct access instead of needing to order articles from non-subscribed journals. In the case of the Helmholtz Association, there is a high level of overlap of titles, since many of these institutions focus on physics and computer sciences. As with the the Max Planck Society, certain Helmholtz institutes have joined regional consortia (Friedrich Althoff Consortium, NRW Electronic Resources Consortium). However, greater efforts are being made to unite the efforts to substitute access to electronic resources instead of multiple subscriptions to journals and databases.

Similarly, the libraries and information provision services in the Fraunhofer Society (FHG) have begun central negotiations for electronic resources, but are also considering joining the two above research societies for the purpose of aquiring licenses for access to electronic resources. The

18 See Diann Rusch-Feja, Uta Siebeky: The Use and Acceptance of Electronic Journals. Results of an Electronic Survey of Max Planck Society Researchers including Usage Statistics from Elsevier, Springer and Academic Press. D-Lib Magazine 5 (4) (October 1999) http://www.dlib.org/dlib/october99/rusch-feja/10rusch-feja-/fullreport.html

Fraunhofer Society (http://www.fhg.org) consists of 14 applied research institutions, almost all with libraries and information research facilities, many of which work under the cost recovery structures of the ISO 9000 regulations. As with many of the MPG and Helmholtz libraries, the FHG also has a number of one-person or 2-2 1/2 person libraries where staff work time just does not allow individual negotiation procedures for all necessary electronic resources. A major advantage for these libraries is that most often in this group of consortia, a small number of librarians or headquarters staff have conducted and gained experience in negotating contracts for acquiring electronic resources and know the terminology, the conditions of use and the contractual possibilities. This basic knowledge for acquiring eletronic resources cannot be unterestimated, as the expertise here builds with each new negotiation.

4. Supraregional, Multi-Institutional Research Library Consortia

Library consortia of "same type" libraries - libraries with similar areas of collection emphases - have begun to form with the purpose of negotiating adequate licensing agreements for electronic journals for their special clientele. In Germany, these are primarily consortia of libraries in federal-state funded research institutions. For instance, the Helmholtz Association encompasses 16 research institutions in the areas of physics, energy, biotechnology, medicine, and computer science, whose libraries have begun talks to consolidate efforts in acquiring electronic resources. The Leibniz Group consists of approximately 20 libraries belonging to federally-funded research and service institutions, of which some have indicated interests in joining the Helmholtz and other research institutions in negotiations for electronic resources. Many have indicated their interest in cooperative efforts in negotiating for electronic resources.

Furthermore, libraries at these major research institutions in Germany have also expressed interest in joining with the the consortium of the Max Planck Society libraries and the libraries of theFraunhofer Society to negotiate conditions for obtaining licensing for electronic resources. So far, an agreement on one single negotiation process for this group of research institutions has not been reached, but initial meetings to discuss the possibility of such a consortium to join efforts and have cross access to resources have begun. The German Research Foundation is also following the initiatives of these libraries closely, as will be seen in the next section.

Other "multi-type" library consortia are just entering their initial phases. For instance, the State and Central Library of Berlin, which consists of the unification of former West Berlin's largest public library, the Amerika-Gedenk-Bibliothek and former East Berlin's largest public scientific research library, the Berliner Stadtbibliothek, has joined the Friedrich-Althoff Consortium for select subscriptions, and is considering expanding its participation. Libraries in other regions, such as the University of Bremen Library, have also joined the FAK for certain publishers' products.

In addition, at the time of presenting this paper (August 2000), a new development for all the States in Northern Germany including North Rhine Westphalia, the Cooperative Library Union Partners, the Friedrich-Althoff Consortium and the University of Bremen has culminated in obtaining a multi-state, multi-type cooperative licensing agreement for Kluwer journals and Blackwell Science beginning September 2000 for one year. Since the States of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg (assuming also the State of Saxony) have also negotiated a similar contract with Blackwell Science from August 1, 2000 for 18 months, this development is moving closer to gaining nation-wide consensus and possibly a new form of negotiations in the future.

5. The Problems with Consortial Negotiations

Negotiations with publishers and vendors to acquire electronic resources - whether bibliographic databases, electronic journals, full or partial texts of monographs, chapters, etc. - seem to each pose different use restrictions, allowances such as remote access and cancellation prohibitions. Interlibrary loan using electronic or print copies, as well as services for commercial users of libraries, most often pose difficult problems in the licensing negotiations, since document delivery outside of the participating consortial members is often prohibited. Start-up libraries without physical resources also present difficulties as there are no "subscription" bases from which to calculate the full price. Pricing strategies almost always depend on the current or previous year's subscription volume and some require contracts binding the consortium to a three or four-year contract with built-in price increases. Contracts which do not allow cancellation of the print version after an electronic version has been approved, are often refused by the university libraries. Similarly, financial commitment for multiple year subscriptions proved to be extremely difficult for German institutions as the administrative regulations for federally and state-funded institutions often do not allow commitment of funds over a period longer than the current financial year. Yet another financial problem lies in the perceived supply of funding (on the part of the vendor or publisher) which is assumed for libraries of illustrious research institutions. Thus, the negotiations between publishers and vendors usually evoke a bottom-level offer by the vendor or publisher of electronic resources which is sometimes up to three times higher than the offer with the same content and conditions of use for a public institution.

Conditions of use (such as prohibition of using electronic journals for extra-consortial interlibrary loan, distribution of electronic texts for teaching purposes to students or colleagues not legally part of the consortial institution, i.e., "walk-ins"), pose legalmatters of interpretation which influence both price and the perception of the library's liability for misuse. Contracts which define the librarians' legal obligation in the case of termination of contract as being responsible for deleting all downloaded electronic information on all networked computers of participating institutions, may place liability on the librarian in such a way that the burden of this obligation is impossible to monitor, much less truly fulfill.

6. The Working Group of German Library Consortia (AG Konsortien)

Since most negotiations were conducted under strict confidentiality concerning prices, bargaining conditions, conditions of use, manipulation or archiving of data, etc., there was no transparency and no chance for library and consortial representatives to "compare" prices and determine if the conditions of use were fair or if they were simply at the mercy of the dealers. In many cases, the publishers of electronic journals, as well as database vendors, offered completely different contracts, prices, and conditions of use to representatives from different states, different research institutions, and different consortia. This created quite a bit of dissatisfaction among librarians and protest. To counteract this problem, Ms. Rath-Beckmann (University Library of Bremen) and Dr. Froben (Berlin) called a meeting in May 1998 of the negotiators from all German states. In early 2000, the Bavarian State Library and the University Library of Munich invited representatives of the various regional / state (Länder) consortia and persons responsible for negotiations for electronic resources to participate in talks to consolidate efforts, exchange information, and achieve greater transparency in the negotiation of electronic resources. Although primilarly library-oriented, the interests of the faculty, researchers and scientists (representated by the IuK Commission of the Learned Societies), were also voiced. This group protested the varying conditions of use among the German universities in terms of accessibility to individual titles or to complete sets of certain scientific publishers throughout the university and research community, and, of course, the specific conditions of use (downloading, pay per view, pay per print, unlimited downloading for consortial members, etc.).

This meeting marked the beginning of the AG Konsortia (Working Group of Consortia) as a voluntary, self-initiated, and self-administered interest group with a charter, a set of goals, and an attempt to provide community support within German university libraries, libraries in research and service institutions. Prior to 2000, not even the names of the persons doing negotiations for acquiring electronic resources in the individual states were known to one another. At this meeting, information on the nature of negotiations, prices and conditions of use were exchanged and greater openness on the stipulations of various contracts was achieved. Since then, meetings of this group are being held every 3-4 months at this time to facilitate greater information flow and more openness of the information and pricing policies of the individual publishers, database vendors, etc. A mailing list has been established, as well as a website which can facilitate near-to-immediate contact with the other negotiators to check contract requirements, etc. Representatives from Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands have also been invited to participate in these meetings and by providing information on consortial agreements within their countries.

Representatives of the DGF (German Research Foundation) were present from the beginning of this initiative. At the very first meeting, it was pointed out by the representative of the DFG, and amplified by representatives from both the libraries of the consortia of research institutions and from certain regional consortia, that the DFG-sponsored funding of foreign journals in context of the Special Subject Areas distributed to major university libraries19 would form a financial basis for national provision of electronic journals if national site licensing negotiations could be achieved. Of course, the individual state administrations (which support the universities) would have to agree to this and also contribute to the costs for a national site license as the DFG funding would not be sufficient. Such a model would provide the framework for a national site license much the same as NESLI negotiates, at least for scholarly journals on an electronic basis. The following "Pyramid of Distributed Use" depicts the distribution of scholarly and educational journals20 for which nation-wide consortial agreements with individual institutional participation according to title and institutional subject specialty could help justify costs and reduce mulitiple copies while at the same time assuring the necessary information provision.

Pyramid of Distributed Use of Scholarly Publications

Pyramid of Publications

The two lower levels represent the major users of scholarly journals and also represent a distribution of users across most of the German universities. The third level would cover those requests usually dealt with by the one special subject area library (SSG) via interlibrary loan, as would the fourth level, which is even more restricted and represent the 2-5 "orchid" or "hybrid" journals of any given field which are only able to be purchased by high level research institutes usually outside of the university system. To achieve full coverage provision of scholarly literature, the various consortia of research institutions could contribute the amount of present (or a good precentage thereof) subscription costs. Whereas little cross-institutional cooperation in the form of subscription or licensing consortia in Germany has been achieved, except in the Berlin-Brandenburg library consortia, this would achieve a minimum of return for all institutions involved.

Factors inhibiting such an arrangement are at two levels: The ostensible reservation on the part of libraries is that a national site license will be less advantageous than individually negotiated prices, conditions of use, and essentially include costs for titles or databases which are not primary to the individual instituitonal needs. This last point, however, has been well refuted in the experiences of institutions participating in the NESLI arrangements. Reservations on the move covert level include fears associated with loss of personnel due to such an arrangement. The DFG special subject libraries had always maintained staff for the extra tasks of higher check-in, supplying copies of articles via interlibrary loan on a regular basis, preparation for binding and inventory administration. Should such an arrangement be agreed upon, some of these duties, especially those related to interlibrary loan, would disappear. The negotiating basis for "exchanging" cross-country, cross-institutional access via licensing conditions for the traditional arrangement of one subscription at a SSG library which in turn had the obligation to provide paper copies sent to any user throughout the interlibrary loan system, however, also depends on the conditions of use concerning distribution of electronic files of articles as well as paper printouts. Most licensing agreements do not allow exchange of electronic files or distribution of the file or the printed out article in any form to a partner library not included in the licensing agreement. Thus, a national site license would have to be adjusted to allow for high level use of those titles found most frequently in the lower levels of the above pyramid and low-level use of those titles found in the upper levels of the pyramid. A further restriction for many German libraries to even consider a national site license are the the unsolved issues of who will take responsibility for completely archiving the journal and what prices will older articles then have. Theoretically, if the SSG library were still to continue a paper-based subscription to cover archival needs and fill interlibrary loan requests, the problem of archiving, as well as that of extremely high licensing fees to allow for all eventualities of interlibrary loan among the national grid of partners in Germany, the present, well-structured system could be continued, but with higher costs (i.e., the additional costs for electronic access). Thus, the added advantage of electronic access for all participants of a possible national site license would be backed up with the archiving function of the SSG library, but allow more currency, immediate access to an article to the users of all participants directly and thus contribute to better service. Whether or not the actual pricing and usage conditions would be advantageous over the present system would depend on the negotiating talents of the librarians or consortial agents and the willingness of the vendors to seek a mutual "winwin" solution. Because of the traditional placement and positioning of the book market and scholarly journal publishers on the German (and European) market, and because of the federated system of non-coordinated, independent state funding of institutions of higher education and political independence of national research agencies, the realization of a national site license may take a long time.

7. The Advocacy Role of the Federal Ministries, the German Research Foundation and the Learned Societies

The E-Journals Working Group of the IuK Commission of the Learned Societies also opened the forum for greater open discussion on the pros and cons of electronic journals, as well as on the advantages and disadvantages of the various business models arising with the various negotiations. Since this group drew together scientists, librarians and even had as guests at their events (workshops , conferences, meetings) representatives of the scholarly publishing concerns, new issues were confronted. This spurned awareness among all three groups: Users became aware of the libraries' budgetary problems; librarians became more aware of the lack of resistance to electronic journals on the part of the researchers but also of their resistance to take chances of their articles not being accepted in a reknowned peer-reviewed journal if they crossed out the clause of exclusive distribution rights belonging to the journal, etc., in their contract; publishers became more aware of their slow loss of control within the monoplistic market of scientific publishing, as well as the pressure to offer more informational value for the electronic journal and cut down on overhead, paper-publishing costs to maintain clientele.

The German Research Foundation (DFG) interest in cooperative licensing agreements has already been depicted. In addtion, the DFG has been promoting research into the use and subject community development of electronic journals. In 1998, the DFG began a three-year, three-site investigation21 into various aspects of acceptance of electronic journals by faculty, students and staff in various disciplines. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has been examining the use of electronic subject information in higher education, and several project proposals for electronic journal projects (new workflow processes from author to publication, business models, archival models, etc.) were submitted in the Global-Info (German Digital Library Initiative) program22 during the first project application phase in 1999. However, only one project dealing in part with electronic journals was funded under the Global-Info program for the years 1999-2000. The results of these research projects and overview of integration of electronic subject information in higher education, as well as the advances in cooperation between the regional, state-based and institutionally-based consortia, demonstrate the rapid changes in this area, but also the significance of cooperation among the negotiating institutions. This cooperation, the need for transparency in basic negotiations, and perhaps new definitions of the players' roles in the negotiation process (authors, publishers, vendors, libraries, etc.), along with new understanding of the delicately dynamic balance of these roles, will be of utmost importance in furthering effective licensing agreements and satisfactory working conditions for researchers when they are dependent on electronic information resources.

8. Special Interest Groups involving Publishers

In contrast to the initiatives of the learned societies' working group on electronic journals, the German Serials Interest Group (GeSIG) represents primarily publishers, subscription agents and librarians who are interested in achieving enhanced understanding of the sometimes conflicting marketing and purchasing / licensing issues concerning periodicals in general and especially in the field of electronic journals. Initial discussions for forming this group were held at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1998, with a founding meeting in Regensburg on February 4, 1999, as a satellite event in connection with the above-mentioned Regensburg Workshop. A board of officers was elected, including Hartmut Walravens of the ISSN Office in the State Library of the Prussian Cultural Properties, Anne Bein of Swets, and Dr. Stephan of the University Library in Stuttgart. A web-site has been established23 and meetings have been held at successive German Librarians' Conferences.

9. Conclusion

The consortia formation in Germany and research projects on the use and acceptance of electronic resources in German universities and research institutions followed a parallel path. At the same time, the dynamic, but delicate balance between the producers of scholarly articles, editors of scientific journals, publishers, whether commercial or not-for-profit -learned societies, the libraries as disseminators, and the students, researchers, faculty, learned societiesas users or consumers has been undergoing shifting dimensions of strength at the various levels. Publishers, libraries, researchers and learned societies have been intensely involved. But precisely this has enabled the building up of consortia and some of their success - at least in Germany. The success of such negotiations relies heavily on the presence of the openness, fairness, and an optimal "win-win" balance between the partners. In initial negotiations, fears, lack of transparency and often unjustified pricing policies prohibited reasonable negotiation positions. The above-mentioned attempts from the Learned Societies, the GeSIG, the publishers, the librarians and the authors to reinstate professional respect for the delicate balance between the interests of the groups involved has led to testing and pilot installations. The cooperation between the librarians has further achieved a stronger standpoint for the librarians' end of the negotiations. Furthermore, the advocacy role of the authors and researchers themselves, partially voiced through the scientific societies, through publications documenting the statistical analysis of use and acceptance have strengthened the negotiation position of libraries and consortia, and have helped to redefine the exact needs of the individual partners. Still needed is the publishers' willingness to respond with large-scale supraregional (or national) licensing conditions which can be subscribed to under favorable conditions for each partner in a consortia according to its own individual information needs. Thus publishers and content providers must be willing to scale down costs and offer innovative scientific research support tools and integrate new developments to achieve similar results of licensing and consortial success in other countries.

Irina Sens (GBV) has suggested considering nation-wide consortia of "same-type" libraries or libraries with similar collections to subscribe to electronic journals in specific subject areas. 24 A variation of this would be if the German Research Foundation (DFG) in its continued support of the distributed special subject area collections would consider supporting national site licenses for scholarly electronic journals, since this is essentially the same principle which covered collection development and nationwide access to these journals in print version. Such a program should not be completely financially supported by the DFG, but rather coordinated and co-paid for by the Länder ministries and in cooperation with the major research societies (Helmholtz, Max Planck, etc.). Obviously, administrative costs would be reduced, access would be guaranteed to every researcher and student regardless of his place of employment or study, and financial as well as personnel resources would be set free to be allocated to other aspects of improving information provision and services in libraries.

In conclusion, just as in other countries, librarians, researchers, and publishers will need new models for licensing and pricing policy. Perhaps a national site license is indeed possible despite the political structure in Germany. Greater cooperation between publishers and libraries would be to the advantage of all members of the scholarly community. Ideally, greater involvement of researchers, faculty and students would heighten the awareness of the licensing problems connected with electronic journals and bring greater understanding or even play an active advocacy role in negotiations. Archiving policies and procedures are still unresolved and must be organized in a satisfactory manner. The provision of standardized metadata at the article level may bring publishers, database producers, indexing services, and libraries into even greater competition with each other. Furthermore, the development of innovative electronic journals at the university or research institution may provide a substitute to existing difficulties or even have a balancing effect on the marketing strategies of publishers of electronic journals. Finally, perhaps more cooperative production efforts between learned societies and university presses, computer centers, and libraries could relieve some of the budgetary pressures.

Changing paradigms can be observed not only in library work with the subsequent shift of information provision sources from print medium to electronic, but also in the procedures connected with scholarly publication and scientific research methods. Furthermore, there are also changing paradigms in building adequate business models for information provision. These factors, together and individually, may necessitate closer cooperation among the stakeholders and unified structures in order to achieve and maintain the quality of service and efficiency being demanded of libraries by their user communities.


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1 It should be noted that technically speaking only one real, legal consortium exists in Germany (the Friedrich Althoff Consortium which has a legal contractual basis). However, the group efforts whether initiated and/or led by the governments or by the libraries themselves will be referred to as "consortia" here because of the nature of their group efforts and the collective representation in the licensing negotiations and contracts with database providers, publishers, and aggregators.
2The German Mathematical Society ( DMV), the German Society of Physicists (DPG), the Society of Computer Scientists (GI), and the Society of German Chemists (GDCh), see http://www.iuk-initiative.org.
3 During the 1980's, the Ministry of Research and Technology, today the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology, supported various programs for subject information centers and development of bibliographic databases, primarily in the areas of mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc. Further programs in support of the subject information services were supported financially in the early 90's especially for expansion and integration of the former GDR states.
4 See also "Springer-LINK in NRW: Eine Chronologie". ProLibris 4 (1998), 245-246.
5Licensing contracts are now not accepted if cancellation of print subscriptions is not possible. See Werner Reinhardt: [Summary] Workshop: Elektronische Zeitschriften in wissenschaftlichen Bibliotheken. http://www.bibliothek.uni-regensburg.de/iuk/nrw.html
6See Friedrich Bode: Die Digitale Bibliothek Nordrhein-Westfalens. In: Innovation durch Kooperation - neue Projekt, neue Partner, neue Perspektiven. 6. GIB-Fachtagung vom 29.-30. Oktober 1998 in Soest. Eds. A. Botte, D. Rusch-Feja, R. Theers. Berlin: Gesellschaft Information Bildung, 1999, pp. 50-54.
7See Rolf Griebel and Richard Mai: "Konsortialvertrag mit Academic Press". Bibliotheksforum Bayern 27 (1) (1999), 17-32.
8 See Griebel and Mai (note 7)
9The Consortium name honors Friedrich Althoff, a department chairman in the Prussian Cultural Ministry in Berlin, mainly famous for his plans for libraries while in the Prussian ministry.
10This should not be confused with the Cooperative Berlin-Brandenburg Library Consortium (KOBV) which since late 1997 has had the task of developing an interface and common library catalog basis to integrate the library catalogs of Berlin and Brandenburg.
11Library of the Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University Library, Library of the Federal Institute for Materials Research, Library of the Fritz-Haber-Institute, Library of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Potsdam University Library, University Library of the Technical University of Berlin, WIAS, and the Central Environmental Library of WISTA.
12Consortial agreements in Germany usually regulate general conditions for the member libraries and only for these. Other libraries within the region or state may only participate under agreement with the publisher and the university or other "parent" institution as libraries are not the legal signing partner, but usually the institution itself (i.e., the university, research institute, etc.). Special conditions may be individually negotiated by the individual libraries which then require individual contracts, signed again by the legal representative of the "parent" institution.
13See F. W. Froben: Das Friedrich-Althoff-Konsortium. Workshop: Elektronische Zeitschriften an wissenschaftlichen Bibliotheken, 4-5 February 1999. http://www.bibliothek.uni-regensburg.de/iuk/berl.html and http://www.physik.fu-berlin.de/~froben
14The participating Länder include Lower Saxony, Hamburg, Bremen, Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania, Schleswig-Holstein, Thüringen and Saxony-Anhalt.
15The GBV includes a larger number of libraries (255) than those participating in the consortium for negotiations for electronic journals.
16These are the State Library of Baden in Baden-Baden and the State Library of Württemberg in Stuttgart.
17See Bärbel Schubel: "Erfahrungen beim zentralen Einkauf von Datensammlungen in Baden-Württemberg." ekz-konzepte, 8. Hrsg. ekz-bibliotheksservice, Reutlingen, pp. 117-121.
19After the Second World War during the reconstruction phase, a plan by the German Research Foundation allowed supplementary funding of certain university libraries willing to take on national-wide interlibrary loan and information provision responsiblities for certain subject areas which were distributed among approximately 20 university libraries usually also compatible with educational areas of emphases in these universities. These university libraries have received additional funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) since that time for the acquisition of foreign periodicals in the individually assigned subject fields. This program is called the Special Subject Area (SSG) Program.
20A similar graphic depiction of the use of E-print servers would be an inverted pyramid of this type.
21See http://www.dfg.de/foerder/biblio/heidelberg/epub.html
22See http://www.global-info.de
23See http://gesig.ub.uni-konstanz.de/
24Sens (op cit.).


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