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Platform/Hosting/Access charges


#1

I’ve been wondering about various costs and charges associated with ERM that are not directly for content. So ‘hosting’, ‘platform’ and/or ‘access’ fees and the like

  • What are the different types of charge here?
  • How do they relate to the agreements?
    • Would each charge relate to a single agreement, or would some charges relate to multiple agreements or be attached to some other aspect of ERM (e.g. Platform)
  • If/when charges apply across multiple agreements, how would you want to see these charges represented when calculating the total cost of the agreement or doing analysis such as cost per use?

#2

Here’s a first pass at some of these kinds of charges and how they relate to one another:

  • Annual access fees (aka hosting fees, aka platform fees, aka maintenance fees, aka continuing service fee)
    • Fee for all content on specific platform - I could see these being associated with a platform rather than some sort of content-related record.
    • Fee for specific content on a platform
  • Combined annual access fee + content update fee - the annual fee for accessing the content is bundled with a content update fee.
  • Membership or participation fee - these fees are for access to discounts, services, or other things, but not specifically for content. However, they may be related to a certain agreement that also covers actual content paid for separately. Hard to say what kind of records these should be attached to. Almost should be at the organizational level (e.g. CRL, NERL, LYRASIS for consortial membership fees).

Platform fees might need to be associated with multiple agreements if there are multiple agreements for content on that platform. One example would be Wharton Research Data Services. WRDS hosts a lot of different datasets on that platform. You pay a base fee for access to the platform, then make one time purchases of data that is accessible via WRDS. For each data vendor that hosts its data on WRDS, there might be a separate agreement, as well as an agreement with WRDS itself.

These are just a few ideas, I’m sure others will have more examples.


#3

There might be access fees that you pay for annually - as part of the package invoice. In many cases these fees are no longer charged as an extra cost on your invoice, but are just part of the total costs without further mention (e.g. JSTOR). In any case, access fees are related to one agreement each. This is a fee for specific content on a platform.

In contrast, platform fees are charged for accessing all content on a specific platform. These may relate to several agreements.

With eBook packages there often are set-up fees for setting up the platform. As far as I can tell they are related to the platform instead of the agreement, that is why they may relate to several agreements.

Then there may be service charges like if you buy a Taylor & Francis package via EBSCO. Service charges are related to one agreement.

Would each charge relate to a single agreement, or would some charges relate to multiple agreements

Platform or setup fees may relate to several agreements.
As they do not have a strong impact on the total costs, their costs may just be related to one agreement - the one they were charged originally with. But there may be other opinions on that.


#4

I have a question about this discussion - this cost information is going to be pulled from acquisitions and is not going to be entered in the ERM correct?

In regards to platform fees, there are a couple of infrequent use cases that may complicate things a bit but you may want to consider them:

  • With some publishers/vendors, once you hit a certain threshold or purchase enough products you cap out on platform fees. For example, with ProQuest, we’ve purchased a number of their Historical Newspapers products and continue to pay hosting/update fees on them. However, we hit a threshold a few years back so we no longer have to pay the hosting/update fee on a few of them or on any new purchases.

  • Rather than paying an annual hosting fee in perpetuity, some publishers (Adam Matthews is an example) allow you to pay a larger, one-time hosting fee.


#5

ehartnett wrote:

I have a question about this discussion - this cost information is going to be pulled from acquisitions and is not going to be entered in the ERM correct?

That’s correct (although the exact integration and where you do what isn’t finalised, all order/invoicing aspects will be dealt with by Acq)


#6

I’ve also seen the cases described by Virginia and Martina, and I think those are good summaries.

One additional use case we have a lot: Sometimes a platform fee is waived for one or more years. We don’t have a good way to remind ourselves that we’re going to need to begin paying it sometime in the future. Currently, we create a $0 PO that rolls from year to year. Hopefully, we’ll get around to reviewing open POs, see it’s not paid, and remember why. Then when the fee comes due again, we can change the PO from $0 to the real cost. It seems like there should be a way to set up a PO for a fee, enter the waiver period, and then have it become encumbered once the waiver is over.


#7

We don’t have any other use cases than already mentioned by Virginia and Martina.

Some comments:

  • It would be helpful to add information on the consequences of a cancellation of certain fees
  • There was some doubt on the possibility to always distinguish between different kind of fees: access/hosting/platform - we also have metadata charges,… Maybe it shouldn’t be mandatory to decide on a type of charge.

If/when charges apply across multiple agreements, how would you want to see these charges represented when calculating the total cost of the agreement or doing analysis such as cost per use?

It would be great to have something like a checkbox “include access charges” to see both possibilities, as they are equally interesting.