Understanding the value of the licensing in the higher education sector

Last year myself, Chris and Elizabeth Gadd undertook a piece of research commissioned by the Universities UK / GuildHE Copyright Negotiation and Advisory Committee (CNAC) to inform their negotiations with the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) over the terms of the Higher Education Licence. We were also supported by SCONUL, Jisc Collections and RLUK to undertake the work as the scope was broader than just the terms of the CLA Licence. We have already spoken about some of the findings from the study at the Talis Insight conference in May, but are now able to publish the Final Report [PDF] and also an Executive Summary, including the Recommendations and Conclusions [PDF].

The report presents findings from the study which should be of interest to Library Directors and senior managers in higher education, acquisitions librarians and copyright specialists. It primarily concerns the ways in which institutions make multiple copies of readings from books and journals to support their teaching activities. It considers the role of the CLA Licence in those activities and explores issues such as e-book licensing models and the future role of open access in teaching. It explores the role of copyright exceptions as a way of making content available for teaching purposes and includes an international comparison of educational licensing with several other countries around the world.

The research also sought to explore the value of secondary copying more broadly, at a time when higher education institutions are increasingly preferring to purchase primary digital resources. The term ‘value’ is used in the broadest sense to mean the benefits this licence provides to the higher education sector as well as the ‘value for money’ it offers. In addition to the findings and conclusions, there are 17 recommendations from this study.

We are grateful to all the institutions that took part in this study, and also to the CLA for their commitment to supplying us with the large data set that underpins much of the research. The National Acquisitions Group (NAG) were also kind enough to allow us to present some initial findings from the study and collect further data through a workshop we ran last November at the NAG Forum.

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