CzechELib has been a six-year project subsidised from the EU Operating program with a total subsidy of almost 50 million euro in the years 2017 to 2022. The main goal is to establish a national centre for electronic resources. The first year 2017 was devoted to setting up and equipping the centre and negotiating the resources for the years 2018 to 2022. The grant supports both the establishment and the operation of the centre throughout the whole time span of the project. The acquisition of electronic resources was supported by EU funding in the years 2018 till 2020. Starting January 1st, 2021, the subsidy is financed through the state budget.
From January 1st, 2023 onwards both procurement of e-resources and operations of CzechELib will be funded from the state R&D budget (project National Centre for Information Support of Research, Development, and Innovation - NCIS R&D&I, funded by the state budget trough Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic in the years 2021 to 2027).
CzechELib is the only channel through which the central state subsidy for purchase of e-resources shall be allocated from the year 2018 on. At the same time, CzechELib shall become the sole negotiator for such supported e-resources. This role has been officially assigned to NTK/CzechELib by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic. It is not ruled out that institutions will form their separate consortia, but they cannot receive the state subsidy.
At the end of 2016, all possible candidates (including all members of current consortia) were invited to take part in this project and to let us know what e-resources they would like to subscribe to. In January 2017, we opened the first round of electronic resources nominations and since then the electronic resources nominations are repeated at the beginning of each calendar year. Based on these nominations, we then send out a request for a preliminary quote to all the publishers whose resources appeared on the list of nominations and meet the criteria of 3+ nominating institutions.
For the initial project (2018-2022) the agreements were signed till the end of 2022 only (or shorter, in special cases). In the upcoming years, we expect more diverse and flexible lengths of contracts (1-3-year, depending on Open Access elements and regulations of the Board of experts). We do not expect or condone institutions to drop out from the contract either, however, in special cases and only if the publisher/supplier agrees to it, such a withdrawal from the consortium can be allowed. Furthermore, there is a special, opt-out clause regarding financial hardship defined in the standard license contracts.
Yes, institutions can nominate some new resources to CzechELib at the beginning of each calendar year of the project. When the requirement of 3 or more institutions showing a binding interest in the new e-resource is met, and it is approved by the CzechELib Expert Council (in the case of a new resource that is not already subscribed by CzechELib) for subsidy allocation, and funding is available, CzechELib will start the acquisition process of the EIR and negotiate a new license agreement.
We want to keep CzechELib as open and flexible as possible. In principle, yes, although such a step must be within the limits imposed by the Public Procurement Law. More information can be found on the NTK website in the document Methodology for expanding the CzechELib consortia.
This would depend mainly on contract conditions of a particular project, which must be considered. In general, we will gladly incorporate them into the CzechELib consortium, however, if their financing is funded from an EU project, we cannot subsidize the resource in the sustainability period of their project, and they have to finance it solely from their own funds during such period. However, we would like the publishers to treat them as full members of the respective CzechELib consortium.
As this consortium has been supported from R&D funding, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic decided that in order to be eligible for receiving the state subsidy via CzechELib the institutions were required to have a status of a research organization as defined in the Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 Chapter I, Article 2, (83). (Institution that either does research and/or disseminates results of the research). From April 2019 the scope of eligible institutions has been extended by institutions which meet the “status of a professional public institution” defined as "representatives of public specialist and specialised libraries whose main activity is the provision of library services at the national level, in accordance with a specific legal regulation, Act No 257/2001 Coll., on libraries and the conditions of operation of public library and information services (Library Act), as amended’. Compliance is approved (at least till the end of 2022) by the subsidy provider MA (Managing Authority of the Operational Programme Research, Development and Education) of the operation programme. Institutions that meet neither the status of a research organization nor the status of a professional public institution can still be part of CzechELib consortia, but are not eligible to receive the subsidy.
The state subsidy for the participating institutions is 70% for citation databases and analytical bibliometric tools and 50% for the other resources in the years 2018-2022. Systemic decrease of subsidy is expected for the next phase 2023-2027.
We have applied a fair and non-discriminatory single unified rate of subsidy for all institutions. This has proved to be the most transparent approach and we expect to continue in the same way. The institutions receive preliminary quotes and then they will decide whether they want to proceed with the acquisition of the e-resource or not.
Each electronic information resource has to be approved by the Board of Experts as an essential resource supporting science and research. Agreements which include Open Access (such as Read & Publish agreements) will deserve special treatment. More information can be found on the CzechELib website in the documents EIR selection methodology and Methodology for the selection of individual journals 2018+ (in a nutshell - the rule is nominations and final interest by 3+ institutions for now).
Currently we do not provide such service. We have quite a strict bottom-up approach and are waiting for nominations of e-resources from institutions (we do not proactively offer e-resources to our members).
Member institutions have the option to communicate with each other via the Google Groups discussion platform which we have set up for them. In case they are unsure whether their EIZ will receive the minimum number of nominations (see more in EIR selection methodology) they can look for other possible candidates to join their nomination via this discussion platform.
Member institutions should specify the required platform/s at nomination. We will prefer such a vendor who is able to provide all or most of the nominated platforms.
Most publishers provide the price proposal per institution partitioned for each resource. If you prefer to give us the lump sum for a set of institutions for a particular resource, we will have to recalculate it. In most cases we expect the price to be split for individual institutions. If you wish to provide us with a proposal of an unlimited nationwide license too, we will gladly evaluate it.
It is up to you. We do not mind the prices rising according to the world/EU inflation. We are accustomed to different models. In case a new consortium will be created as a result of the tender in later years for the same resource, we expect the same terms and conditions including pricing as it is in the original agreement. So the same conditions will apply to the members of both consortia. The Covid-19 related issues have brought - as in other countries - a huge slump in public finances that has impacted all our member institutions (either directly or indirectly). As a result we kindly ask for the following:
We expect your usual currency. Whichever you use.
We will pay annually, in the year when you deliver the content. We expect to work with a single invoice issued at the beginning of a calendar year in which the access to the content will be provided. However, as the institutions are receiving their money in March or April, we will be able to pay no earlier than in mid-May.
We also suggest the possibility to pay in two partial payments within one invoice with the following maturity: 50% on March 15 (it will be paid mostly from the state budget) and 50% on May 15th (it will be paid by collected contributions from the institutions).
Depends on how clearly the offer is defined (some e-resources may have several parameters which need further fine-tuning even in the preliminary phase) and how reasonable the pricing is. Sometimes we fine tune the proposals already in the preparation phase, sometimes later - during the formal procedure.
Year 2022 will be the last year under the EU project, therefore just 1-year contracts will be signed for 2022.
In the upcoming years (2023-2027), more diverse and flexible lengths of contracts (1-3, depending on Open Access elements and regulations of the Board of experts) are expected.
With regards to funding from the EU operating program and through the state budget, all contracts entered by CzechELib must be subjected to a public tender process under Czech law. If you already have a valid contract with some set of institutions here in the Czech Republic and they would like to continue in cooperation, we still have to re-tender it. Everything we shall finance must pass through a public tender procedure.
Since January 2021, we have been using state co-funding for e-resources purchases instead of previous EU co-funding. The subsidy coming from the state budget requires just fulfillment of the law and thus the threshold contract values triggering demanding paperwork (on publisher’s side) are higher than it was in the years 2018-2020. The limit where “above-threshold public contract” starts is approximately 3.5 million CZK w/o VAT. If the total contract size is below such value, the whole process (“below-threshold public contract” which could be either “market research” or “small-scale public contract”), could be quite hassle-free from the bureaucratic point of view and could allow easy direct contract between publisher and the consortium.
We are glad to announce that we must not discriminate against anyone based on the language if both parties agree (you and us) on the language for both negotiations and contract (the only condition is that we are not allowed to rule out Czech language). Therefore we expect most of the tender procedures and the negotiations to be conducted in English. The text of the contract itself may (and we prefer it) to be in English language as well.
We enter solely into public procurement without publication. Public procurement without publication may be announced only in the case of the only possible provider. For this reason, publishers have to appoint an exclusive supplier for Czech Republic, or solely for CzechELib purposes. This exclusive supplier can be a publisher itself or any provider appointed by the publisher.
We do not enter into public procurement with announcements, which allows any organisation to respond to the advertised notice, request/download the procurement documents and submit a tender, due to their financial constraints, bureaucratic burden and time consuming management.
Before announcing public procurement, we need to get approval from the Working Group on Transparent Public Procurement, from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and from the Government of the Czech Republic. This process usually takes a few weeks, sometimes even about 2 months, therefore we prepare and submit all documentation well in advance. We usually announce a public procurement call during September or beginning of October for the agreements commencing at the beginning of the following year. The time frame for the procurement itself can then be quite short, about 1 - 2 months, thus the license agreements can be signed by the end of the current year.
Usually, there is a section in the license agreement referring that both parties are to meet the agreement conditions from January 1st even in the case when the agreement is signed later on (e.g. publisher gives access and NTK will pay from January 1st). We have to guarantee the accessibility of resources from January 1st in any case.
The underlying principle is that at the first contact with the publisher and at the first official request for a price proposal, we always contact the publisher directly. At the same time we ask the publisher to decide whether it will enter the public procurement process directly (as an exclusive supplier) or it will appoint another company as an exclusive supplier. In case a publisher appoints another company as an exclusive supplier, then solely a single agreement between us and the Supplier can be concluded. In case that the Supplier is not able to provide us the license to your content, we cannot be asked to conclude one (business) contract with the Supplier and another (license) contract with a publisher.
Even in the case of an exclusive supplier we prefer to negotiate the essential elements of the contracts directly with the publishers or in trilateral negotiations CzechELib-Publisher-Supplier. This typically includes key license terms, prices and possible annual increase, flipping to open access and making changes in the list of participants or titles (this depends a lot on the complexity of the consortium). We understand that some publishers will authorize their agents to perform certain activities on their behalf and we do not mind the presence of agents during negotiations and later during operation of the contract but we insist on negotiating crucial issues directly with the publishers.
Yes, CzechELib will sign one licence for the particular resource/collection with the publisher, and part of the licence will be a list of the e-resources and a list of the participating institutions. A contract between the participating institutions and CzechELib gives CzechELib the right to do so. Current licences should cover the period by the end of the CzechELib project, i.e. by the end of 2022. For the next period (2023-2027), see I1.
This is relevant primarily if not exclusively to article/journal databases. We had the perpetual access clause in many contracts we have signed and it is not necessarily perpetual access on the site of the publisher. We believe that we should be entitled to having access to whatever content we had once paid for. As long as we have a valid agreement, the content is accessible on your site. As soon as our contract terminates, we have to have access to what we paid for on our site.
CzechELib signed on behalf of its member institutions several Read and Publish agreements or Read and Publish amendments to its ongoing license agreements. It is an ongoing goal of CzechELib to flip the traditional subscription deals to the transformative ones and to promote OA publishing.
Furthermore, Martin Svoboda, the director of National Library of Technology, has been appointed by the Research, Development and Innovation Committee as the main negotiator in Czech Republic concerning the negotiation of transformative agreements regarding EIRs. If you do have a Read and Publish offer, do not hesitate to contact us.
You can find more information at the CzechELib website in the section Open Access.
The CzechELib team will continue, being a stable part of the NTK. The state subsidy for EIRs is being secured from the state budget (not from EU project) from Jan 2021 till Dec 2027.
The Ministry's target is a slow gradual decrease of the state subsidy share in the years 2023-2027 (preferably to reflect the situation in the western part of Europe). We anticipate emphasis on Open Access agreements. We do not prefer abrupt changes, however it may happen that some changes will become inevitable.
Unfortunately no. We will have to open new public procurement processes, which will result in new agreements, but we expect that most of the agreed clauses will be simply transferred to new agreements from the current ones.