Frequently Asked Questions

Consortium Management (13)

A consortium is a collective group of libraries that can accomplish more together than they could do on their own. The consortium membership can encompass libraries of a single type or of different types and sizes, and the consortium may be local, regional or national in scope.

The benefits the consortium provides will depend upon the specific programs and services that the consortium chooses to offer. Typical benefits include:

  • Reducing in costs through group purchasing (e.g., of electronic resources)
  • Increasing the ability through collaboration to advocate for the needs of libraries
  • Improving the capacity and expertise of the members by providing professional development programs for library staff
  • Encouraging the sharing of resources among members (including content, technology, expertise, and funding)
  • Creating opportunities for joint advocacy, marketing, and fundraising for libraries
  • Undertaking special initiatives of importance to the group, such as digitization, technology implementation, information sharing, or creation of a union catalog

The members of a consortium are libraries as organizations. The members of library associations in most country are individual library staff members.

EIFL is a global network of sustainable national library consortia. We are a network of consortia to be sustainable organization that can accommodate the needs of many countries, to encourage consortial developments within our countries, and to build a powerful community that can interact effectively.

Through this network of consortia we can enable members to: lower the financial barriers and increasing the access to electronic information; enhance the professional growth of our members; increase the capacity of members to employ technology effectively; expand member knowledge about emerging trends in information and technology; accelerate the ability of members to advocate for effective intellectual property laws, and lower the financial barriers.

Ordinarily, there may only be one member consortium per country. Within the country, however, there may be multiple consortia that come together under an umbrella country consortium. 

EIFL has developed a consortium road map that provides guidance and resources from the planning stage to managing and sustaining a successful consortium. You can see the planning stage portion of the roadmap here. We will work with you to implement the other steps of consortium development after you join EIFL. 

EIFL’s strengthens libraries through the power of collaboration. We promote sustainable access and exchange of knowledge through global leadership of libraries to improve the development of society and the economy in developing and transition countries. 

The benefits of joining EIFL are:

  1. Access to a wide range of commercial e-resources at a greatly reduced, and in some cases no, cost.
  2. Eligibility for grant opportunities to support the development of library services.
  3. Free consortia website hosting.
  4. Invitation to attend the EIFL General Assembly, an annual learning and knowledge sharing event.
  5. Gain expertise in creating and managing an effective and sustainable library consortium.
  6. Training, consultation, and participation in important library areas including e-resource negotiations and licensing, open access, copyright, and open source tools.
  7. Enhance your professional knowledge and share best practices about emerging trends in information policy and technology
  8. Become an effective advocate for libraries and benefit from opportunities to participate internationally in policy making.
  9. Gain access to up-to-date information and specialized resources via EIFL’s mailing lists and members only website.
  10. Raise your institution’s visibility by becoming part of a global network.

An application form for new countries [DOC]. Please contact us for more information at info [at] eifl.net.

Files / Images: 

Members pay an annual fee to support the work of and partake in the programs and services of EIFL. This fee is calculated according to three main factors: GDP (Gross Domestic Product), GNI (Gross National Income) and the Education Index. There is a minimal annual participation fee of €378 and a maximum of €5411. 

Yes. If a group of libraries is in the process of forming of a consortium and is seeking EIFL’s assistance, that country provisionally can become a member prior to the establishment of the consortium. This entails a mutual commitment that EIFL will provide all member services as are available to regular members, and the consortium will demonstrate by the end of the year significant progress to establish an operational consortium. 

No. Unfortunately we do not have the capacity to accommodate individual library memberships. If a library is interested in EIFL, we encourage you to contact us so that we can discuss why you are interested in joining EIFL and how we might be able to help.

It is the responsibility of the library community in the country to identify sources of funding to cover the cost of initial and ongoing activities to manage the consortium. EIFL can help you identify ways to do this. For example, the demonstrable savings that your country can achieve through resource sharing and consortium licensing should convince funding agencies (usually a ministry).

In many EIFL countries, the member consortia and their libraries redistribute their costs through equitable cost sharing models. In some cases, international agencies are willing to give a grant for the start-up of a library consortium. EIFL provides member consortia with access to a proposal template and a tip sheet on applying for funding for consortium activities.

EIFL-Licensing (0)
General (9)

Through the EIFL-Licensing Programme, we negotiate licence agreements with publishers and vendors of commercial e-resources on behalf of library consortia (and their member libraries) in partner countries.

Through direct negotiations, we achieve free or highly discounted access to a wide range commercial e-resources, plus fair terms of use. 

In 2011, we enabled our partner libraries to save an estimated US$175 million in subscription fees, and we achieved an average discount of 97%. 

Our work also results in efficiency gains across the network - for example in terms of time and legal fees.

Other key priorities for the EIFL-Licensing Programme include:

  • Working with partner library consortia to promote greater awareness, participation and usage of e-resources across the EIFL network through a wide range of initiatives.
  • Building local capacity in the licensing and management of e-resources.
  • Developing effective tools to support advocacy.

We have negotiated agreements with over 20 vendors for more than 50 commercial e-resources.

Our portfolio of licensed resources covers a comprehensive range of subject areas and types of content  – for example e-journal and e-book collections, and reference and bibliographic databases.

EIFL-negotiated agreements are open to members of our partner library consortia in eligible countries.

The catalogue page for each licensed resource (click here for a list) indicates the list of eligible countries i.e. those that are covered by the agreement.

A list of licensed resources available to each of our partner library consortia will be available soon. 

If your institution is a member of the EIFL-partner library consortium in your country AND your country is eligible for the resource of your choice, you should be able to subscribe. 

Please contact the EIFL-Licensing Coordinator in your country for further details.

If your institution is eligible to subscribe to a particular resource, please contact the EIFL-Licensing Coordinator in your country.

They will be able to help you through the subscription process.

Pricing is only available to EIFL-Licensing Coordinators.

If your institution is eligible to subscribe to a particular resource, please contact the EIFL-Licensing Coordinator in your country, and they will be able to advise you about pricing. 

Most vendors are pleased to offer 30-day free trials of their resources to institutions that are members of EIFL partner library consortia

If your institution is eligible to subscribe, and if you are interested in a free trial, please contact the EIFL-Licensing Coordinator in your country.

You can find out whether individual journals are included in collections available through EIFL-negotiated agreements here.

Access (5)

Access to commercial e-resources can only be granted via a secure route – ie via the IP address/es of a subscribing institution.  

In order to gain access to commercial e-resources, subscribing institutions must provide the static and external/public IP address of their secure network

Access is not available by username and password as these details can be easily shared, and the resources on offer through EIFL-Licensing have a very high commercial value.  

IP addresses are allocated to any device participating in a computer network – both private networks and the public internet.   

IP addresses can either be internal/private or external/public.  An external/public IP address is one that is accessible from the internet.  An internal/private IP address is one that is accessible only from the internal institutional network.

Only external/public IP addresses are suitable for providing institutional access to licensed commercial e-resources because they are the only ones that are accessible from the internet.

IP addresses are either static or dynamic.  A static IP address is one that is fixed and never changes.  Dynamic addresses are assigned every time users log on to the network or internet.

Only static IP addresses are suitable for providing institutional access to licensed commercial e-resources because they don't change.

 Find out more about IP addresses

We recommend that you ask your IT department to provide you with the external/public IP address/es of your institution's network.  

Please note that in order for your institution be able to subscribe to, and access, commercial e-resources, the IP address/es you provide must be external/public, static and only provide access to your institution’s secure network.

Please contact us at subscriptions [at] eifl.net if you have any questions.

 

In order to access commercial e-resources, subscribing institutions must provide vendors with their external/public IP address/es as these are used to access the internet.  

The most basic format includes a simple set of 4 blocks of numbers with a minimum of 0.0.0.0 and a maximum of 255.255.255.255 (although neither of these are valid for use for commercial e-resources).

A typical IP address would look like this: 122.140.201.66

IP addresses can also be shown as a range, for example:     122.140.201.66-144 or 122.140.201-205.* (* represents 0-255)

IP addresses can also be shown in CIDR format for example:

122.140.201.0/24 (this represents 122.140.201.*)

For many institutions, the external/public IP address is the address of the proxy server (see Wikipedia entry).

Individual computers which are part of an institutional network may have internal/private IP addresses linking them to the proxy server.  Internal/private IP addresses are not visible on the internet so cannot be used to gain access to commercial e-resources.

The following are examples of internal IP address ranges:

10.0.0.0 – 10.255.255.255 (CIDR = 10.0.0.0/8)

172.16.0.0 – 172.31.255.255 (CIDR = 172.16.0.0/12)

192.168.0.0 – 192.168.255.255 (CIDR = 192.168.0.0/16)

 

EIFL-licensed resources are only available to members of our partner library consortia in eligible countries (i.e. ones covered by agreements for individual resources).

If your institution wishes to take part in an agreement, you should contact the EIFL-Licensing Coordinator in your country. They will be able to help you through the process.

However, in general terms, the standard subscription process is as follows. (Please note that it may be slightly different in some cases.)

Eligible institutions need to:

1. Review the terms of the relevant licence. The licence is for reference only and does not need to be signed.

2. Sign the licence acceptance form.

3. Send the signed licence acceptance form either to the EIFL-Licensing Coordinator or to the person/address listed on the form.

4. Arrange payment (if applicable).

Once payment has been received (if applicable), vendors will notify subscribing institutions/EIFL-Licensing Coordinators (as appropriate) by email when access has been set up.  

We recommend that institutions save this notification email as it will contain important information about access, how to use the resource, how to change account details (for example IP addresses), and how to generate usage reports.

Model licence (23)

EIFL model licences are the licences we use as the starting point for our negotiations with publishers and vendors of licensed e-resources on behalf of library consortia (and their member libraries) in EIFL partner countries.

The EIFL model licences reflect the latest international best practice in the licensing of e-resources, and offer much improved access provisions for users than standard commercial licences.

Click the links below to view each EIFL model licence (updated September 2013).  

The terms and conditions governing who can use a resource, and how, are similar in all licences.

Journals (subscriptions and backfile purchase)

Datasets and E-books (subscriptions)

E-books (purchase) 

  • Institution licence [.doc] - please note that this is a draft version which will be finalised following the webinar on 23 January 2014

University, public, national, and governmental libraries, and research institutions, which are members of EIFL-partner consortia are included in the definition of "Eligible Organisations" in the EIFL Model Licences.

Drafted by Emanuella Giavarra, EIFL's legal adviser and an expert in e-resource licensing, EIFL model licences reflect the latest international best practice in the licensing of e-resources.  

They incorporate more generous terms and conditions than standard commercial licences, and provide a consistent approach to the access and use of e-resources.

EIFL model licences also save our library partners time and money. Why?

  • EIFL model licences are drafted as an offer by the publisher to the consortia and/or individual institutions. This means that the publisher does not have to sign the licences. It also means that library consortia and/or individual institutions simply have to complete the one page Acceptance of Licence Form and either fax, email or post it to the publisher.
  • Partners can be confident that EIFL model licences represent the latest best practice, and also that any modifications which are made during the negotiation of agreements have been approved by EIFL's specialist legal adviser.

EIFL model licences are the starting point for our negotiations with publishers. While every effort is made to retain all the clauses, occasionally amendments are made. However, this only occurs after consultation with EIFL's expert legal adviser to ensure the interests of EIFL’s members are protected.

Although the terms and conditions of the EIFL model licences are invariably achieved, it is the responsibility of each consortium/institution to check the precise wording of the terms and conditions of each licence, and if necessary to seek legal advice, before signing an EIFL-negotiated licence.

The Model Consortium Licence represents the agreement between a consortium and a publisher.

It includes the same terms and conditions of access and use of the resource as the Model Institution Licence.

To sign up to a licence, a consortium needs to complete the Acceptance of Licence form.  This includes providing a list of consortium members that wish to subscribe and indicating the material they want to subscribe to. THe completed form must then be sent to the publisher by email, fax or post.

The Model Institution Licence represents the agreement between an individual institution and a publisher.

It includes the same terms and conditions of access and use of the resource as the Model Consortium Licence.

To sign up to a licence, institutions need to complete the Acceptance of Licence form and send it to the publisher by email, fax or post.

EIFL is not a party to the Model Licences. However, EIFL signs the Model Contract with each publisher to secure the prices negotiated for a specific resource and the use of the EIFL Model Licences.

  • What the resource can be used for
  • Who is authorised to use the resource, and how it can be accessed
  • What authorised users and institutions can and can't do 
  • The responsibilities of the institution/consortium
  • The responsibilities of the publisher
  • Customer support for subscribing institutions and their authorised users
  • The provision of free electronic user documentation (for reproduction and circulation with appropriate acknowledgement)
  • A warranty by the publisher that all intellectual property rights ("IPR") in the resources are either owned by or licensed to the publisher
  • An indemnity by the publisher to protect institutions if they are sued by a third party for IPR infringement for using the resource in accordance with the agreed terms and conditions in the Licence

The licences also include other terms and conditions in accordance with best practice for a licence of this nature such as the duration of the agreement, grounds for termination, acknowledgement of IPR, warranties and indemnities, Force Majeure and governing law.

The Licences refer to Authorised Users. These fall into two categories based on their relationship with an institution:

These are:

1) An individual who is authorised by the Institution to have access to its information services (whether on-site or off-site) via Secure Authentication and who is:

  • a current student of the Institution (including undergraduates and postgraduates) or an alumni of the Institution;
  • a member of staff of the Institution (whether permanent or temporary including retired members of staff and any teacher who teaches Authorised Users registered in the country where the Institution is located);
  • a contractor of the Institution.

2) Walk-in Users. Any person who is permitted by the institution to access its secure network from computer terminals within the premises of the institution. This person is referred to as a Walk-in User because they can access the resource by "walking in" to the library.

The Model Licences allow the institution to provide 24/7 access for multiple users, simultaneously using secure access to all Authorised Users except for Walk-in Users.

Walk-in Users can only use the resource while physically located within the premises of the institution, using computer terminals on the secure network. This is because Walk-in Users are not members of the institution; consequently their conduct cannot be regulated while off the premises, making it impossible for the institution to ensure that the terms and conditions of an EIFL negotiated licence is met.

The Model Licences allow resources to be used for Educational Purposes only.  

Authorised users can use parts of the licensed resource for:

  • Their own private study
  • Teaching and training staff and students whether on campus or not
  • Student course work (including project work and dissertations)
  • Research activities
  • Presenting research professionally eg at conferences or in academic papers

The licensed resource must not be used for any Commercial Use. This means use of the whole or parts of the resource with a view to a commercial gain.

 

The institution is allowed to make a local cache copy. This is particularly helpful where staff wish to use a resource during a teaching session, and want to guarantee speedy and reliable access by using a local copy of the resource (rather than relying on access via the web). Access to the cached version must still be via a secure network and is subject to the same terms and conditions as any other use.

Staff, students and Walk-in Users can:

  • Search the resource and look at their results on screen;
  • Save portions of the resource electronically, these can be saved to a computer hard drive, floppy disk, CD-ROM, USB flash drive etc;
  • Print out single copies of portions of the resource, for example journal articles, book chapters, search results etc.

Staff can "incorporate" parts of the resource in printed and electronic course packs, in teaching materials (printed and electronic),and use parts of the resource in Virtual Learning Environments providing it is appropriately acknowledged.

Teachers and lecturers are also allowed to integrate parts of the resource into traditional teaching materials such as reading lists and other handouts. It also means staff and students can ‘cut and paste’ from a range of resources into a single teaching resource or course assignment, as long as appropriate acknowledgment is made for each item (and the Licence for each resource contains the relevant terms and conditions).

Staff may reproduce extracts in a format that aids accessibility, for example Braille.

Any provision of course materials online must be through a secure network. You will need to check the licence agreement because in some cases it is necessary to delete electronic copies of teaching materials at the end of the licence period.

Students can cut and paste parts of the resource in printed or electronic form in projects, assignments, portfolios and in dissertations. Students are also permitted to make a copy of their assignments for their private use and library deposit. Students must include the details of the source, title listing and copyright owner in their coursework, assignments, portfolios, theses, etc.

Staff and students can search and look at their results on screen to support their study and research. They may also:

  • Save extracts electronically to a computer hard drive, floppy disk, CD-ROM etc;
  • Print out single copies of extracts from the resource, for example journal articles, book chapters, search results etc;
  • Publicly display or present as part of their work at seminars, workshops or conferences.
  • Inter library loan and electronic document delivery of a single copy provided that the electronic file is deleted after printing;
  • Provide printed and electronic copies of parts of the resource at the request of staff and students;
  • Download extracts from the resource for training and promotion;
  • Make copies of training materials in print or electronic format.
 
  • Make the resource available off-site to anyone other than staff and students;
  • Remove or hide or change copyright notices or remove acknowledgements;

Note: When ‘cutting and pasting’ extracts from the resource, any form of acknowledgment associated with the item must be included (e.g. copyright caption with an image).

  • Allow the resource to be viewed in any way other than on the institutions secure network;
  • Use the resource for Commercial Use or for any purpose other than Educational Purposes;
  • Display any part of the resource on a publicly accessible website or network.

All of these restrictions continue after the end of the licence agreement.

When an institution signs an EIFL negotiated Licence it agrees to:

  • Issue passwords only to staff and students;
  • Make staff and students aware that they cannot share their passwords with anyone else;
  • Only allow Authorised Users access to the resource through a secure network;
  • Make sure that Authorised Users are aware of what they are and aren’t allowed to do with the resource;
  • Let the publisher know immediately if they are aware of unauthorised access or use of the resource. Also to take the appropriate steps to ensure unauthorised access or use is not repeated.

A breach of a Licence is a serious matter and can be grounds for termination of the agreement. This places the rights of other users in jeopardy.

EIFL negotiates access to journals and backfiles after the expiry of an EIFL-negotiated licence. 

Perpetual access to the full text will be provided free of charge by the publisher either: a) by continuing online access via the Publisher’s server; or b) by supplying the electronic files to each subscribing Institution in an electronic medium mutually agreed between the parties. Institutions can network the archive within their institution at their own cost. Continuing archival access and use is subject to the terms and conditions of the expired Licence.

Sometimes EIFL’s negotiated licence will differ from the EIFL Model Licences. It is important to check each Licence that you sign, especially the permitted uses, restrictions and perpetual access provisions.

This guide should be used for information purposes only. It does not provide legal advice. Always check the relevant section of the licence that your consortium/institution has signed before you provide access or allow use of a resource and in doubt, please seek legal advice.

EIFL - OA (0)
EIFL-OA (3)

EIFL-OA is a programme of EIFL. The purpose of the program is to advocate for open access to promote knowledge sharing. Working closely with a network of EIFL-OA country coordinators we build capacity to launch open access repositories and to ensure their long-term sustainability. We offer training, share experiences and expertise, and develop support materials on open access policies and practices (open access journals and open access repositories). We empower library professionals, scholars, educators and students to become open access advocates. And we advocate nationally and internationally for the adoption of open access policies and mandates.  

EIFL-OA works in partnership with library consortia in more than 45 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. See "Where we work" for information about EIFL member consortium.

The EIFL partner consortia nominate EIFL-OA country coordinators.  OA-country coordinators form the backbone of the network, and are a focal point for national open access initiatives, as well as providing input into international fora. EIFL-OA country coordinators identify national open access projects and local partners; provide feedback to the EIFL-OA programme manager. EIFL-OA provides training in open access practices, strategies for advocacy and creating partnerships; an opportunity to participate in open access task forces on a regional and international basis; tools and resources to support the advocacy activities. See EIFL-OA coordinators for names and contact details. 

Open access (18)

Digital, online and free for users literature doesn’t have the price barriers for the users, but still has permission barriers (e.g. registration, copyright and licensing restrictions, no reuse rights). E.g. you might have free access to research literature via HINARI, AGORA, OARE and other international initiatives because somebody paid on your behalf, or the publisher was generous to provide free access to you, or this was a result of negotiations. If you are asked to register, provide IP address, or sign a license, this is not open access.

By 'open access' to literature, we mean its permanent free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited (open access definition from the Budapest Open Access Initiative). 

More information: see Briefing Paper What is Open Access? written by Alma Swan for OASIS [PDF]

To achieve open access to scholarly literature, there are two complementary strategies.

I.  Open access Journals. Journals that use a funding model that does not charge readers or their institutions for access (subscription or access fees). Users can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the journal articles. These journals do no longer invoke copyright to restrict access to and use of the material they publish. Instead they use copyright and other tools to ensure permanent open access to all the articles they publish. For the journal publishers, open access brings increased readership and, with that, increased citations, and maximum visibility and impact for a journal's contents. And it means that the best possible dissemination service is being provided for research.

II. Open access repositories. Open access repositories (or archives or digital repositories) contain research output, not only refereed journal articles, but also theses and dissertations, unpublished reports and working papers, conference and workshop papers, books, chapters and sections, multi-media and audio-visual material, learning objects, datasets, software, patents, etc. They might be institutional or thematic. When these repositories conform to standards created by the Open Archives Initiative they are interoperable, forming a global research facility. Common metadata protocol allows other web applications, such as data mining. Scholars and students deposit their research outputs in open repositories – a practice commonly called self-archiving.

More information: see Briefing Paper What are Institutional Repositories? written by Alma Swan for OASIS.

Completely. The short answer is that copyright law gives the copyright holder the right to make access open or restricted, and we seek to put copyright in the hands of authors or institutions that will consent to make access open. The long answer depends on whether we are talking about open access journals or open access repositories.

Open access journals will either let authors retain copyright or ask authors to transfer copyright to the publisher. In either case, the copyright holder will consent to open access for the published work. When the publisher holds the copyright, it will consent to open access directly. When authors hold the copyright, they will insure open access by signing a license to the publisher authorizing open access. Publishers of open access journals will have such licenses already prepared for authors. For more information see Report on the implementation of open content licenses in developing and transition countries.

Open access repositories. Authors of preprints hold the copyright to them and may post them to open access repositories with no copyright problems whatever. If the preprint is later accepted for publication in a journal that requires authors to transfer copyright to the publisher, then the journal may or may not give permission for the refereed postprint to be posted to an open access archive (SHERPA RoMEO site provides information about publisher copyright policies & self-archiving – use this site to find a summary of permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement). If permission is granted, then again there is no copyright problem. If permission is denied, then the preprint may remain in the open access archive because it is a different work from the postprint and the author never transferred the copyright on the preprint. Moreover, the author may post to the archive a list of corrigenda, or differences between the preprint and postprint. This is not quite as convenient for readers as seeing the whole postprint online, but it provides them with the equivalent of the full text of the postprint and is infinitely more useful than no free access at all.

We do not advocate open access for copyrighted literature against the will of the copyright holder or in violation of copyright law. Nor do we advocate for any changes in copyright law. We seek to maximize access within existing copyright law, in accordance with the wishes of the copyright holders.

(Based on the Budapest Open Access Initiative: Frequently Asked Question)

For more information see Author's Rights and Author Addenda in the OASIS  and Copyright and authorsʼ rights: A Briefing Paper [PDF] written by Kevin L. Smith, J.D. & David R. Hansen, J.D., Duke University for OASIS.

Completely. We seek open access for peer-reviewed literature. The only exception is for preprints, which are put online prior to peer review but which are intended for peer-reviewed journals at a later stage in their evolution. Peer review is medium-independent, as necessary for online journals as for print journals, and no more difficult. Self-publishing to the internet, which bypasses peer review, is not the kind of open access that we seek or endorse.

(From the Budapest Open Access Initiative: Frequently Asked Questions)

Completely. Open access is online access, but it does not exclude print access to the same works. Open access is free of charge to readers, but it does not exclude priced access to print versions of the same works. (Because print editions are expensive to produce, they tend to be priced rather than free.) Open access does not exclude printouts by users or print archives for security and long-term preservation. For some publishers, print will exclude open access, but the reverse need never occur.

(From the Budapest Open Access Initiative: Frequently Asked Questions)

Completely. The short answer is that the same factors that create high standards and high quality in traditional scholarly publications can be brought to bear, with the same effects, on open access literature. The long answer depends on whether we are talking about open access journals or open access repositories.

Open access journals. The quality of scholarly journals is a function of the quality of their editors, editorial boards, and referees, which in turn affect the quality of the authors who submit articles to them. Open access journals can have exactly the same quality controls working for them that traditional journals have. The main reason is that the people involved in the editorial process, and the standards they use, do not depend on the medium (print or electronic) or the cost (priced or free) of the publication. This is clearest in the case when the very same people who edit print or limited access journals also edit open access journals, either because their journal appears in two versions or because they resigned from a journal that didn't support open access and created a new open access journal to serve the same scholarly community. Open access journals do not differ from toll access journals in their commitment to peer review or their way of conducting it, but only in their cost-recovery model, which has no bearing on the quality of the articles they publish.

Open access repositories. Scholars self-archive either unrefereed preprints or refereed postprints. Let's take these in order.

(A) By calling preprints "unrefereed" we mean, of course, that they are not yet peer-reviewed. Their quality has not been tested or endorsed by others in the field. But this is because they are unrefereed preprints, not because an open access repository gives open access to them. As long as they are labelled as preprints, there is no misleading of readers and no dilution of the body of refereed or peer-reviewed literature.

(B) Refereed postprints have been peer-reviewed by journals. The standards by which they have been judged and recommended are those of journals in the field, and these standards do not depend on a journal's medium (print or electronic) or cost (priced or free). The quality of the articles endorsed by these standards depends entirely on these standards, not on the fact that an open access repository provides open access to them.

If the real question here is whether those who call for open access are really calling for the abandonment of peer review, or for a kind of self-publication to the internet that bypasses peer review, the answer is no.

(Based on the Budapest Open Access Initiative: Frequently Asked Questions)

The field of High-Energy Physics (HEP) has explored alternative communication strategies for decades, initially via the mass mailing of paper copies of preliminary manuscripts, then via the inception of the first online repositories and digital libraries. In 1991, Paul Ginsparg, then at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, conceived arXiv, an internet-based system to disseminate preprints. arXiv was first based on e-mail and then on the web. Nowadays the research cycle in HEP is approaching maximum efficiency as a result of the early and free availability of articles that scientists in the field can use and build upon rapidly:

 

“Brody has looked at the pattern of citations to articles deposited in arXiv, specifically at the length of the delay between when an article is deposited and when it is cited, and has published the aggregated data for each year from 1991. As more papers are deposited and more scientists use the repository, the time between an article being deposited and being cited has been shrinking dramatically, year upon year. This is important for research uptake and progress, because it means that in this area of research, where articles are made available at – or frequently before – publication, the research cycle is accelerating.”
(From: Brody, Tim; Harnad, Stevan; Carr, Leslie. Earlier web usage statistics as predictors of later citation impact. Journal of the American Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), 2005, Vol. 57 no. 8 pp. 1060-1072; and Open Access: What is it and why should we have it? - ECS EPrints ...Open Access: What is it and why should we have it? Swan, A. (2006) Open Access: What is it and why should we have it?).

Anne Gentil-Beccot, Salvatore Mele and Travis Brooks analysed almost two decades of use of preprints and repositories in the HEP community in “Citing and Reading Behaviours in High-Energy Physics. How a Community Stopped Worrying about Journals and Learned to Love Repositories” and provided evidences that

  1. “submission of articles to an open access subject repository, arXiv, yields a citation advantage of a factor five”;
  2. “the citation advantage of articles appearing in a repository is connected to their dissemination prior to publication, 20% of citations of HEP articles over a two-year period occur before publication”; and
  3. “HEP scientists are between four and eight times more likely to download an article in its preprint form from arXiv rather than its final published version on a journal web site”.

No. The author's consent to open access for a given article is manifested by self-archiving the article in an open access repository, by publishing it in an open access journal, or by some explicit statement attached to the article. Open access repositories and journals will help readers by making clear that they offer open access to all their contents, and they will respect authors by offering open access only to the works for which their authors have consented to open access. However, if a copyrighted work is on the internet but not in such an archive or journal, and there is no other indication of the copyright holder's wishes, then users should seek permission for any copying that would exceed fair use.

(From the Budapest Open Access Initiative: Frequently Asked Questions)

In the early days, some authors worried that open access would increase the incentive to plagiarize their work.  But this worry made no sense and has not been borne out. On the contrary.  Open access might make plagiarism easier to commit, for people trolling for text to cut and paste.  But for the same reason, open access makes plagiarism more hazardous to commit. Insofar as open access makes plagiarism easier, it's only for plagiarism from open access sources.  But plagiarism from open access sources is the easiest kind to detect.

(From Open access and quality written by Peter Suber, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #102, October 2, 2006.)

In fact, plagiarism is diminished as a problem. It is far easier to detect if the original, date-stamped material is freely accessible to all, rather than being hidden in an obscure journal.

(From the Open Access Frequently Asked Questions, DRIVER — Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research)

It is easier to detect simple plagiarism with electronic than with printed text by using search engines or other services to find identical texts. For more subtle forms of misuse, the difficulties of detection are no greater than with traditional journal articles. Indeed, metadata tagging, including new ways of tracking the provenance of electronic data and text, promise to make it easier.

(From JISC Opening up Access to Research Results: Questions and Answers [PDF])

More information: see JISC Electronic Plagiarism Detection project)

Open source software, like free software, is a kind of software whose source code is available for inspection or modification. Some open source software is available for a fee, but much of it is available at no cost. To read more about free and open source software see http://www.eifl.net/foss
Open access is a kind of access or availability. This kind of access could apply to any digital content, such as software, music, movies, or news. But we only calls for open access to a certain kind of scientific and scholarly literature. To read more about open access see http://www.eifl.net/openaccess

(From the Budapest Open Access Initiative: Frequently Asked Questions)

The Directory of Open Access Journals provides the author service: go and search or browse by journal title or by subject open access & hybrid journals to find where to publish your research as open access. You can search and browse all the journals, or only the journals that don’t charge publication fee.

You can deposit your research papers in the open access subject (disciplinary) repositories. Browse the list of open access disciplinary repositories in the Open Access Directory (OAD).  Unless otherwise noted, they accept relevant deposits regardless of the author's institutional affiliation. Or search and browse the Directory of Open Access Repositories to find the disciplinary repositories (in the Any Repository Type box choose Disciplinary).

You can also deposit your research papers into the OpenDepot.org an assured gateway to make research open access. It provides two main services: a deposit service for researchers worldwide without an institutional repository in which to deposit their papers, articles, and book chapters (e-prints); and a re-direct service which alerts depositors to more appropriate local services if they exist. The first time a researcher visits the OpenDepot.org, the repository will automatically check with OpenDOAR, the registry for open access repositories, to find a more appropriate local repository. If none exists then the author will be invited to deposit their research in the OpenDepot.org. The OpenDepot.org is OAI-compliant allowing deposited e-prints to be 'harvested' by search services, and other repositories, giving them instant global visibility.

For researchers, open access brings increased visibility, usage and impact for their work. A number of studies have now been carried out on the effect of open access on citations to articles, showing the increased citation impact that open access can bring. Open access repositories also provide an excellent means for researchers to boost their online presence and raise their profile.

Please see the Benefits of open access for research dissemination in the OASIS or Impact section of EIFL-OA resources.

Research institutions benefit from open access in the following ways: increased visibility and presence on the Web; increased impact for research; the open access collection in the repository forms a complete record of the research output of the institution in easily accessible form, provides the means for the institution to manage its research programmes more effectively and to measure and assess its research programmes. Open repositories publicise an institute’s research strengths, providing maximum return on research investment. Institutions can mandate open repositories, speeding development.

Open repositories increase impact and usage of institute's research, providing new contacts and research partnerships for authors. Free and open source software is used to set up the repositories and institutions benefit from free technical support for installation and use. There are low installation and maintenance costs, repositories are quick to set up and gain benefits. And repositories provide usage statistics showing global interest and value of institutional research.

A recent JISC report authored by Alma Swan called “Modelling scholarly communication options: costs and benefits for universities” shows that a single large university could contribute around £3 million each year to the research community as a whole simply by sharing knowledge through a more open route. The study applied Open Access models to a representative group of universities, and reviewed the costs and benefits of each scenario. In terms of modelling, the work does two things: it identifies the costs and benefits of different scholarly communication scenarios; and it quantifies them, that is, it attaches actual values to cost elements in the processes involved and measures what economic outcomes emerge from modelling various scenarios. The outcomes of this modelling vary (eg by university) but, in all cases, Open Access options have the potential to save universities money.

Open repository can be a useful tool in day-to-day research management activities. Once research outputs are stored in the repository departmental research managers can use them as the definitive source of information for promotion panels and appraisals. It is part of a network, both formal and informal. Repositories could be linked to the institutional research management system (IRMS):  e.g. data from the finance office for research income, information on staffing from the human resources database and details of postgraduate numbers from the student records system. Using open access institutional repository in this way can lead to resource efficiencies across the institution. Without this arrangement the information about research outputs may otherwise need to be gathered from several individual departments or research groups.

(See the Briefing Paper written by Wendy White, University of Southampton Library, and edited by Alma Swan for OASIS [PDF]

For more information see: Institutional Advantages from Open Access in the OASIS; a Briefing Paper: What are Institutional Repositories? written by Alma Swan for OASIS [PDF]; and the Briefing Paper Institutional Repositories: Business Issues for Institutional Managers written by Alma Swan for OASIS [PDF]

Submit your research articles to open access journals, when there are appropriate open access journals in your field.

Deposit your preprints in an open access, OAI-compliant repository. It could be a disciplinary or institutional repository. If you have questions about archiving your eprints, then see Stevan Harnad’s Self-Archiving FAQ.

Deposit your postprints in an open access repository. The “postprint” is the version accepted by the peer-review process of a journal, often after some revision. If you transferred copyright to your publisher, then postprint archiving requires the journal’s permission. However, many journals have already consented in advance to postprint archiving by authors. Some will consent when asked. Some will not consent. For publisher policies about copyright and author archiving, see the searchable database maintained by Project SHERPA.  If you have not yet transferred copyright to a publisher, then ask to retain copyright. If the journal does not let you retain copyright, then ask at least for the right of postprint archiving. If it does not let you retain the right to archive your postprint, then ask for permission to put the postprint on your personal web site. The chief benefit of postprint archiving is reaching a much larger audience than you could reach with any priced publication (in print or online). Reaching a larger audience increases your impact, including your citation count. Many studies confirm that OA articles are cited significantly more often (on the order of 50-300% more often) than non-OA articles from the same journal and year.

Deposit your data files in an open access repository along with the articles built on them. Whenever possible, link to the data files from the articles, and vice versa, so that readers of one know where to find the other.

When asked to referee a paper or serve on the editorial board for an open access journal, accept the invitation.

If you are an editor of a toll-access journal, then start an in-house discussion about converting to open access, experimenting with open access, letting authors retain copyright, abolishing the Ingelfinger rule, or declaring independence (quitting and launching an OA journal to serve the same research niche).

Volunteer to serve on your university’s committee to evaluate faculty for promotion and tenure. Make sure the committee is using criteria that, at the very least, do not penalize faculty for publishing in peer-reviewed open access journals. At best, adjust the criteria to give faculty an incentive to provide open access to their peer-reviewed research articles and preprints, either through open access journals or open access archives.

Work with your professional societies to make sure they understand open access. Persuade the organization to make its own journals open access, endorse open access for other journals in the field, and support open access self-archiving by all scholars in the field.

Write opinion pieces (articles, journal editorials, newspapers op-eds, letters to the editor, discussion forum postings) advancing the cause of open access.

Educate the next generation of scientists and scholars about open access.

(From What you can do to promote open access written by Peter Suber)

Launch an open access, OAI-compliant institutional repository, for both texts and data.

Help faculty deposit their research articles in the institutional archive.

 Help to publish open access journals and create open educational resources.

Help in data curation and sharing.

Spread a word about open access.

Undertake digitisation, access, and preservation projects not only for faculty, but for local groups, e.g. non-profits, community organizations, museums, galleries. Show the benefits of open access to the non-academic community surrounding the university, especially the non-profit community.

(Based on What you can do to promote open access written by Peter Suber)

Every research funding agency should have an open access policy, many already do, and most are probably thinking about it.  Please see a guide to the major decisions which come up in framing a new policy, reviewing an older one, or thinking about policies elsewhere (it starts with the choice-points facing funding agencies (1-12), and then looks briefly at the choice-points which only arise for universities (13-18)): Open access policy options for funding agencies and universities written by Peter Suber, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #130, February 2, 2009.

In the open access repository policy you define an overall vision for your institutional repository, a collection policy, a submission policy, the content types that you will be including in your institutional repository, a deposit licence and policy and a re-use licence for your institutional repository, take-down policies and embargoes, a preservation policy, and rights, responsibilities and repository services, etc. 

When you have a publicly stated open access repository policy for the permitted re-use of deposited items or for such things as submission of items, long-term preservation, etc, it simplifies matters for organisations wishing to provide search services, which in turn increases the visibility and impact of the repositories.

Institutional open access policy may be voluntary (i.e. it requests that researchers make their work open access in the institutional repository) or mandatory (i.e. it requires that researchers make their work open access in the institutional repository). The evidence [PDF] shows that only mandatory policies produce the level of self-archiving from researchers that fill repositories. So, although voluntary policies were initially popular, new institutional policies are now usually mandatory. Mandatory policies, on the other hand, do bring the high level of self-archiving that provides a university with the increased visibility and impact that open access promises.

The first university-wide mandatory policy was implemented by Professor Tom Cochrane, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, in 2004. Since then, growing numbers of universities and research funders have followed suit. A list of policies developed by universities, research institutes and research funding agencies is maintained at the University of Southampton. As this is a self-registering service, supplemented by the list owners adding policies that they have discovered serendipitously, this list under-represents the actual number of policies in existence.

Mandatory policies should be coupled with a clear case explaining why the university wishes to collect its research outputs in one place – for internal record-keeping, for research assessment, as a central locus for access to the outputs of any individual, group or department, and so on.  In this way, a mandate becomes a non-controversial part of institutional operations. 

(from Institutional Policies section in the Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook)

Please read about the main issues to take into account in developing an institutional open access policy here.

The Optimal Open Access Policy for Institutions.

Open access policy options for funding agencies and universities written by Peter Suber, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #130, February 2, 2009.

EIFL - IP (5)

EIFL-IP is a program of EIFL.net. The purpose of the program is to protect and promote the interests of libraries in copyright issues in developing and transition countries. EIFL-IP builds capacity among the library community in member countries, and has created a network of library copyright specialists. who advocate for national and international copyright law reform. The vision is that EIFL librarians will become activists for fair and balanced copyright laws and community leaders in promoting access to knowledge, especially in the digital age.

EIFL-IP works in member countries of EIFL. Currently this is in the regions of Africa, central, eastern and southern Europe, the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and south-east Asia. See "Where we work" for information about EIFL member consortium.

National EIFL-IP representatives are nominated by the EIFL member consortium. In some cases, this is the same person as the EIFL country coordinator. Representatives have received training in copyright issues and advocacy for libraries during three regional workshops. They form the backbone of the network, and are a focal point for national copyright issues, as well as providing input into international policy fora. See EIFL-IP National Copyright Experts for names and contact details. EIFL-IP is managed by Teresa Hackett with an Advisory Board (see Program Management).

EIFL-IP is concerned with copyright and related issues for libraries, with a special focus on developing and transition countries.

We advocate for national and international copyright laws that are fair and balanced, especially in the digital environment. Issues include:

  • the relationship between copyright and contract law: electronic resources and library consortia;
  • technological protection measures (TPMs);
  • copyright, the duration of protection and the public domain;
  • orphaned works;
  • collective rights management;
  • public lending right;
  • database right;
  • Creative Commons: an "open content" licence;
  • open access to scholarly communications;
  • copyright and trade agreements; 
  • international policy making: a development agenda for WIPO; 
  • national policy making: advocating for fair copyright laws.

For a brief description of each issue, the main policy aspects for libraries and links to library policy statements, see the EIFL Handbook on Copyright and Related Issues for Libraries.

Copyright is the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit the reproduction of artistic, dramatic, literary or musical works. Copyright may be held either by the original creator or their heirs, or else the creator may sell the rights to their works to a company e.g. a publisher. Copyright rules are set by international treaties e.g. Berne Convention; regional laws e.g. European copyright directive and national laws. See also here.

EIFL - FOSS (10)

EIFL-FOSS is a program of EIFL. The purpose of the program is to advocate for the use of free and open source software (FOSS) in libraries in developing and transition countries. It aims to raise awareness and understanding of FOSS options for a variety of library processes, facilitate EIFL member engagement with FOSS development communities, and undertake projects of special significance to EIFL members. Working closely with a network of EIFL-FOSS country co-ordinators, the program will build FOSS capacity in libraries; share experiences and expertise; and develop support material for evaluation of and migration to FOSS library software.

Free and open source software (FOSS) is software that is released under licences that ensure that end users always have the freedom to run the program, for any purpose, the freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to their needs, the freedom to redistribute copies of the program to others, and the freedom to improve the program and release those improvements to the wider community. Today FOSS is at least the equal of proprietary software in many sectors, and in some areas the leader. Typical examples include the Apache web server, on which the vast majority of websites in the world reside, the Mozilla Firefox web browser, and the OpenOffice productivity suite. There are also FOSS tools for libraries available, including FOSS Information Library Systems software such as Koha and Evergreen, and FOSS digital collections software like Greenstone and Dspace.

Yes. Libraries use a wide range of software. They benefit from FOSS that is not specifically for libraries as well as FOSS specifically written for libraries. The former includes such software as the Apache Web Server, the MySQL or PostgreSQL databases, and various content management systems such as Joomla or MediaWiki. The latter includes everything from repository software such as DSpace, ePrints, or Fedora, to integrated library systems (ILS) such as Koha and Evergreen.

Free and open source software is similar in all respects but one to proprietary software. Its difference resides in the licence under which it is made available. And that difference makes a number of things possible which might otherwise not be the case.

For example, FOSS tends to be developed in an open manner in which end users of the software are able to participate. They may participate by answering the questions of other end users. Or they may contribute to the documentation surrounding the software and its use. Or, if they are technically inclined, they may want to directly participate in the ongoing development of the code.

Each of these software development communities has its own rules of engagement and codes of practice. But virtually all are encouraging of new participation from all corners of the globe.

Another difference is that users of FOSS can modify their local copies with changes they would like to see implemented. They can do this because they have access to the source code, and because the FOSS licence under which they received that code permits them to make such modifications as they wish.

Another significant difference is that FOSS software can be passed on to others freely. This is true both for the original FOSS software package that may have been received as well as for modified FOSS software packages. As long as the (often minimal) terms of the FOSS licence are met, users can do what they like with this software. Since FOSS software has this redistribution freedom, it tends to be distributed at minimal or no cost.

And finally, but possibly most important, users of FOSS can learn from the programming genius of others and use that newly acquired knowledge however they like. Access to source code really is access to knowledge.

The "free" in "free software" refers to freedom, not price. "Free software" is the expression used by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) to characterize software released under licences that guarantee the four freedoms of the Free Software Definition:

  • The freedom to run the program for any purpose (freedom 0);
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1);
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour (freedom 2);
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3).

Open Source Foundations has an approval procedure for new licences to gain the right to use its certification mark. There are more than 50 approved open source licences. "Open source software" is the expression used by the Open Source Foundations to characterize software released under licences that meet the criteria of the Open Source Definition:
1) free redistribution of the program,
2) access to the source code is ensured,
3) permission to modify the software and create derived works distributable under the same licence under which the software was received,
4) integrity of the author's source code,
5) no discrimination against persons or groups,
6) no discrimination against fields of endeavour,
7) distribution of license,
8) licence must not be specific to a product,
9) licence must not restrict other software, and
10) the licence must be technology neutral.

Because there are two recognised groups, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Open Source Foundations (OSF), widely acknowledged as authoritative in this field, many prefer to use the broader acronym FOSS, which stands for "Free and Open Source Software". This is the practice that the EIFL-FOSS program is following. It is not intended to disguise the differences between the goals and aspirations of these two groups, merely to facilitate discussion of software released under licences recognized by one or the other. In practice, most well-used FOSS licences are recognised by both the FSF and the OSF. FLOSS, which stands for "Free/Libre Open Source Software", disambiguates between two meanings of "free" in English. Although free software is usually available at minimal or no cost, the free in free software really stands for freedom.

From many places. The Sourceforge website hosts a wide variety of free and open source software. Each tool also usually has its own site, often created and maintained by volunteers who coordinate or moderate further development of the tool. Discussion boards and lists are also common, to enable people who want to modify software to communicate with people who may already have done it, or who may be able to help in some way.

Yes, there are regional communities based around specific tools (such as the South Asia Support System for Greenstone), specific environments or needs (such as the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa and the African Digital Library Support Network) or particular to one region but with a wide interest (such as the Arab Support Centre for Free and Open Source Software, Ma3bar).

The main concern for any software user is the security offered by the software used. FOSS is no more and no less susceptible to security weaknesses than any other. On the one hand, the availability of the source code means it is very easy for hackers to search for vulnerability or weakness, on the other hand the availability of the source code means that any vulnerabilities or weaknesses are more likely to be rapidly spotted and mended by the development community, perhaps before the hackers have found them. A very interesting discussion on this topic can be found here.

EIFL - PLIP (14)

The Public Library Innovation Programme – or PLIP – supports public libraries to implement community development projects that use technology to improve lives and livelihoods.

We provide support and small grants to public libraries so that they can provide innovative services for their communities. These services are for people of all ages, in areas such as health, education, employment, livelihoods and agriculture.

We encourage the sharing of experiences and best practice so that successful projects can be replicated in other libraries.

Public libraries can change lives and build strong communities because they are uniquely positioned within communities. They are gateways to knowledge and information and have the advantages of public trust, public funding and skilled staff. With limited additional resources, libraries can extend their services to hard-to-reach and marginalised communities.

In developing and transition countries where the need is greatest, public libraries are under-resourced. Many struggle to integrate ICT into their services. Obstacles include lack of knowledge and skills, outdated hardware, poor infrastructure, the high cost of commercial software applications and scarcity of funds.

Innovative library services using ICT can make a difference to the quality of people’s lives. Everyone should be able to reap the benefits of technology and the digital age.

We work in developing and transition countries.

EIFL-PLIP has given funding support to 39 services in 23 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

Africa: Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia.

Asia: Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal.

Europe: Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Serbia.

Latin America: Chile, Colombia, Mexico.

Public libraries can play – and are playing – a vital role in community development and in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Information is essential to development, and libraries are a crucial information service. Libraries are also providing a wide range of training and support services that are helping people find jobs, build small businesses, increase productivity and communicate. These services are benefiting young people, women, health workers, students, people living with disability, farmers and many others. Libraries also provide space and opportunities for people to meet and share knowledge and experience. They are a vital link between communities in need, service providers and experts.

Library services supported by EIFL-PLIP in 23 countries show that through their public libraries, people can learn new skills, find jobs, build small businesses, improve at school, modernize their farming methods and increase produce sales, discover history and culture, understand current affairs, improve their health, meet other people and connect to new sources of knowledge and information.

We fund a range of services that aim to encourage libraries to use technology creatively to improve people’s lives. For example, EIFL-PLIP supported the Kenyan National Library service to set up e-health corners in Eldoret and Kisumu. Health workers are now able to access important information relating to their profession and community health.

In Macedonia, the Braka Miladinovci Public Library in Radoviš addresses unemployment, especially among women. The library has installed computers and is training jobseekers to use the Internet to find and apply for jobs. The library has also created a website that links jobseekers to employers, with space for advertising skills and vacancies, and online application processes.

In Chile, Panguipulli Public Library No 269 takes computers to farmers in remote areas of the Andean mountains and builds farmers’ ICT capacity. The farmers have set up a social network to exchange information and to market their produce.

In Tamale, Ghana, the Northern Regional Library builds young people’s leadership and ICT skills, improving their chances in life and employment potential. 

Replication means drawing on the vision, experience and practice of other projects or services and creating and implementing a similar project or service in your community. It does not mean the exact copying of a project or service.

EIFL-PLIP encourages development of innovative projects and services whose model, approaches or practices can be replicated by other public libraries. We want to test how ideas travel, how services can be replicated in different geographical and cultural environments, and how public libraries can be innovative in meeting their users’ needs.

One way in which we encourage replication is by inviting public libraries to apply for grants to replicate innovative services that other libraries are providing. For example, in 2011, we invited public libraries to apply for small grants to replicate innovative services developed in 2010 by our first group of 12 grantees.

We also gather and share stories and case studies about innovative public library services. We are always keen to hear about innovative services that can be replicated. If you know of such services, we would be happy to hear from you. Please let us know by contacting plip [at] eifl.net.

EIFL-PLIP invites public libraries to apply for grants. We only accept applications in response to our calls or invitations.

We publicize our grant invitations as widely as possible, using media, our contacts, our website and social networks. Watch our website for announcements and/or link to our networks for alerts.

EIFL-PLIP’s Innovation Awards programme invites public and community libraries that offer innovative community development services to compete for awards. We are especially seeking services that promote and improve community economic wellbeing, community health, social inclusion and open government.

The awards are open to applicants from the following countries, listed on Wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Developing_country] as emerging and developing economies, and to countries where EIFL has a presence, see http://www.eifl.net/where-we-work

Public and community libraries may enter the competition.

A public library is a library that is open to the general public, and which makes all kinds of knowledge and information available. The main source of funding is local/regional/national government.

A community library is a library which is primarily supported by community contributions, and which makes all kinds of knowledge and information available to the community.

ICT – Information and Communication Technology – refers to all kinds of digital technology used for communication and / or to collect, store and dissemination information. Examples include personal computers and laptops, cell phones and Smart phones, tablets like iPads, web portals, multi-media applications including audio, film, video, games etc., VOIP communication systems like Skype and e-mail, social networking tools like Facebook and twitter, and media like radio and TV.

EIFL is an international not-for-profit organisation dedcated to enabling access to knowledge through libraries in more than 60 developing and transition countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. PLIP is a programme implemented by EIFL that promotes the use of technology to improve people’s lives and sparks innovative ideas for public library services.

Yes. PLIP and EIFL carry out advocacy at international and national policy levels. We also encourage our grantees to carry out policy advocacy in their own countries. We use evidence about what works well from the new services we support in our advocacy. We especially want to ensure that policy-makers hear the voices of librarians from developing and transition countries, so that they understand libraries' potential and needs, and can provide appropriate, development-oriented support.