NAAL uses several licensing strategies:

  • NAAL negotiates the license details and group cost; NAAL signs the license on behalf of its members
  • NAAL negotiates the license details and the group cost; but each member must complete its own agreement
  • NAAL coordinates the group and sometimes cost allocation, but the license is offered through another entity (e.g. SOLINET NOTE: There may be a central license at SOLINET or members may need to complete an individual license. In a few cases, NAAL has negotiated a group change to the SOLINET license.)

Each agreement has a common expiration date for all group participants. Members may add a database at any time during the year, and the term will be adjusted to maintain the group’s common expiration date.

NAAL adheres to two principles for allocating a group cost to members.

  • NAAL should make it possible for as many members as possible to subscribe to needed databases by seeking the lowest possible group cost and allocating individual costs as equitably as possible.
  • No member should pay more than an individual subscription would cost.

NAAL has developed several formulas to allocate the group cost to the individual participants in each group. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

The FTE Model: For this model, the total group cost is distributed using the institutions’ student FTE data. Each institution pays the percentage of the cost that represents its percentage of the group’s total student FTE.

The FTE Model results in the lowest possible cost for the smallest members and the highest possible cost for the largest members. While easy to apply, the FTE Model generally violates NAAL’s second principle: It results in costs for the larger schools that are higher than they would pay for individual subscriptions. If NAAL used the FTE model, the larger institutions would drop out of the group and the price quote for a smaller group would increase. Also, it is unfair to use total student FTE for most graduate-level databases. The FTE Model works best when all group participants are about the same size.

Equal Model: For some databases the group cost is divided equally among all participants in the group. This model works best for products that generally are not used by students, such as Books in Print or Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory. This model is also used for online products that have a comparable print cost. The other formulas would generate an individual institutional cost that would be higher than continuing to buy the print material, for example Mental Measurements Yearbook.

50/50 Model: In this model, the one-half of the group cost is divided equally with one-half of the cost allocated using the FTE calculation.

This model redistributes some cost from larger schools to smaller schools. It has the advantage of being more equitable in distributing costs, but not quite as radical as the equal division. It almost always results in costs that are lower than the cost of an individual subscription for either the larger or smaller schools. This model works best of all possible models--and is becoming NAAL’s "preferred" way to allocate costs except under unusual circumstances.

Variation: On the rare occasion that the 50/50 formula allocates a cost greater than the individual subscription would cost a larger school, NAAL sets a minimum cost for that all participants must pay regardless of the formula allocation.

Bid Model: NAAL has completed several successful group agreements by asking members to "bid" the amount that each can pay to be part of the group. In several cases, members with existing subscriptions have continued to pay their individual costs in order to help the smaller members join the group. To make sure that many members as possible can participate, some members offer to pay more than the 50/50 formula allocates. This allows them to benefit from the lower group cost and not incur the higher cost that a smaller group would be charged. Over time, NAAL tries to redistribute ‘bid" model allocations to the 50/50 model. This is usually done by allocating any renewal price increases to those schools that pay less than the 50/50 model and holding the cost level for those paying more than the 50/50 model allocation.

Vendor Model: Occasionally, vendors present price quotes that stipulate the price for each institution. Vendor pricing is most often linked with access controlled by simultaneous users with a set number of users assigned to each participant.

NAAL seeks to license databases for unlimited campus wide access with remote access for users authenticated by the institution. In some instances, access is controlled by a set number of simultaneous users (ports). Access to all licensed databases is through each institution’s campus network and is restricted to the AUTHORIZED library users of the institution.

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