Core titles

A discussion about the subscription side of KB+ and the information it maintains and support at the recent Institutional Partners Meeting in October inevitably led to a discussion on core titles. Core titles are at the very heart of understanding many ‘big deal’ journal subscriptions and are crucial when looking at post-cancellation access. However, core titles are very complex issue and vary from institution to institution and publisher deal to publisher deal, so we have decided to try and get to the bottom of our understanding core journal titles.

The NESLi2 model licence defines a core title as, “the core collection of journals selected by the Institution from the Licensed Material. The core collection will be updated by the Publisher in consultation with the Institution at least annually. The Publisher will list the selected journals in the core collection of each Institution in Schedule 2 of such Institution’s NESLi2 Licence for Journals.” (1)

So basically, the core titles are the ones we had before the big deal – any title that is subscribed to individually (either as electronic, print or electronic and print) and is invoiced individually. Core titles can also be found both outside the negotiated big deal – this is where we have a part of the deal, say the STM collection, but the publisher requires us to keep subscriptions to all of their content (see below).

Post-cancellation access to subscribed content is dependent on whether the title is core or part of a package. Generally for titles that are part of negotiated deals, once the deal has ended you will only retain access to the electronic issues for the years that you were paying. For example, if a deal is negotiated between 2009-2012 for access to a group of journals covering the years 1990-present, while you are paying for the deal you will have access to all the electronic issues between 1990 and the present, however once the deal has expired if you don’t renew your subscription you will only retain access to electronic issues between 2009-2012.

Core titles, as historical individual subscriptions, allow you to retain access to all the issues for the years that you have subscribed to. So for the core titles within deals you will still retain access to the years you have paid for. Obviously post-cancellation access is completely dependent on if the publisher allows it or not.

Cancellation allowances are governed by core and non-core titles and can vary dependent on an institutions subscriptions and are never consistent between publishers. For example, Huddersfield subscribes to the STM collection from Wiley and has core titles within this collection and also within the SSH collection which we do not subscribe to. Generally we are not allowed to cancel any core title inside the collection we subscribe to or outside, although as we have a cancellation allowance specified in licence we can cancel 5% for 2012 and 2.5% in each of 2013 and 2014 of our core titles within the STM collection and the SSH collection. However, for any title cancelled within a package all access is lost. These rules apply to any titles with an e-element.

The Oxford University Press NESLI 2012/13 deal differs in that it is e-only content and is based on the JISC pricing bands rather that core subs pricing. This has eliminated the idea of core subs until the end of the deal. During the deal all core subs are identifiable but are in a limbo state until the end of the deal. When the deal expires all core titles will be returned to their previous status and will be invoiced individually unless we cancel them or another deal is negotiated. Within this deal access to the titles as part of the deals will be available for the years you have subscribed to but access to those titles identified as core will be retained from any previous access you may have had in addition to the years of the deal.

The other publishers Taylor and Francis, Elsevier and Springer also have the notion of core titles within their deals. While the definition of what constitutes a core title remains the same throughout the different publishers, each individual publisher will impose different regulations and restrictions about post-cancellation access and cancellation allowances on their core titles. As demonstrated above Wiley and Oxford differ in cancellation allowances and post-cancellation access rights for their core titles but further variants can be found with the other publishers Taylor and Francis, Elsevier and Springer.

The question is – how do we translate this complicated process to KB+ and 360 Resource Manager? Especially when we have core titles that either don’t exist for the deal (the OUP model) or that are not even in the deal (the Wiley model).


1. JISC Collections, “The Model NESLi2 Licence for Journals”,

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