This suite of model licenses was originally designed with electronic journals in mind. It resulted from a project sponsored by major subscription agents in 1999. It was originally launched in 1999, with a substantial update in 2000.

Since 2000, the scope of electronic resources has broadened beyond current journals to include journal archives, reference and e-books (monographs). The range of business models has grown to provide libraries with both purchase and subscription options for such products. Library consortia have become a normal – and significant – part of the business of licensing electronic resources. Developing technology has enabled users to apply new techniques to their research and teaching to remote group working (the ‘collaboratory’), information gathering (e.g. text mining), and use in virtual learning environments/course management systems. Clearly, a further update is required.

On this site you will find a suite of standard licenses designed for the acquisition of electronic journals, journal arives, e-books and other electronic resources, catering for different types of library: academic, public, and corporate/special libraries, together with consortia or multi-site library systems. There is also sample text to cover 30 or 60 day trials of new resources by libraries.

They contain the words needed to express most of the variables publishers and librarians – and the subscription agents who are experienced in handling the supply of journals – will meet in negotiating licenses.

There are six licenses:

Why these standard licenses?
These licenses were originally sponsored by and developed in close co-operation with major subscription agents: EBSCO, Harrassowitz, and Swets. Since that time, this site has been maintained and updated by John Cox and now by Ringgold as a service to publishers and to librarians.

How have they been developed?
Without the huge effort that has already gone into licensing during the 1990s, these licenses would not have been possible. The starting point was the UK’s PA/JISC model license, jointly developed by publishers and librarians from the Publishers Association and the Joint Information Systems Committee of the Higher Education Funding Councils. It was a vital source of format, concepts and model provisions. The US Principles for Licensing Electronic Resources from the American Library Association et al, and the Statements of Current Perspectives from the International Coalition of Library Consortia were both important sources of ideas, as were the LIBLICENSE web site and many publishers’ individual licenses. Grateful acknowledgement is due to all.

The 2009 updated licenses
Each of these licenses has been reviewed and/or developed based on a template developed by John Cox. The template was the subject of review and constructive criticism by Trisha Davis, Associate Professor & Head of Serial Electronic Resources and Rights Management at the Ohio State University Libraries. Trisha is an acknowledged expert on licensing. Her contribution to these updated licenses has been invaluable.
They have been prepared for this site by Laura Cox, CMO of Ringgold.

How do they deal with contentious issues?
They do not prescribe the outcome of those negotiations, but are designed to account for the varying needs of different types of customer, and the requirements and policies of different publishers. They contain a range of variables, so that the clause appropriate to each situation can be selected in compiling the license. They are the result of consultation in which librarians, publishers and subscription agents have been actively involved.

Are they international?
Scholarly publishing is truly international in its scope. But licenses have to take account of local circumstances and local legal requirements. These models have been written to express clearly and succinctly what has been negotiated. They contain optional clauses that may vary depending on the country, state or province where the license is to operate.

Will they change?
The licenses have been widely adopted by publishers and are familiar to librarians. They still cover all the issues that are likely to arise in respect when licensing electronic content. License development had been undertaken by John Cox Associates Ltd, an international publishing consultancy with particular expertise in licensing and content management. They are now static. Any comments, suggested amendments or additional provisions should be addressed to:

Ringgold Ltd
PO Box 334
Bristol BS9 1XX
Tel: +44 117-904-7203
E-mail: laura.cox @ ringgold.com
Web: www.ringgold.com

Do I need permission to use them?
No! They are in the public domain. They have been placed there by the sponsoring subscription agents to benefit the community. They are intended to help publishers, subscription agents and libraries to create agreements that express what they have negotiated.