Call for Consultants
Models to enable students studying in further education to procure e-books to support education.
1. This document invites proposals for a review of the business models that will enable further education students to pay for the e-books needed to support their studies. The models may involve purchase of e-books by further education institutions, with a cost recovery model similar to library photocopying charges. Or further education institutions offering discounts to students who purchase electronic books in an agreement with publishers
The study should address the issues of equality of access; recommended models would support affordability and accessibility.
2. The main deliverable from this consultancy will be a report written for JISC Collections, further education institutions, e-book publishers and aggregators. It will suggest the business models that will provide students with affordable access to the e-books required to support their studies
3. Funding of up to £28,000 is available including VAT
4. The deadline for proposals is 12.00 noon on Monday 15th June 2009
About JISC Collections
5. Funded by JISC (the Joint Information Systems Committee), JISC Collections was established in recognition that online content is now an essential resource where significant economies of scale can be found by national procurement and delivery. The key ambition in establishing JISC Collections is to widen accessibility to online resources, to save the academic sector time and money, and to improve management of licensing by the sector. JISC Collections’ mission is to support UK research and education by delivering affordable, relevant and sustainable online content. JISC Collections specialises in digital library content, including electronic journals, e-books, primary research data, e-reference material, and multi-media including film, images and sound.
The Learning Skills Council and JISC have funded JISC Collections to manage the e-books for FE project.
6. The e-books for FE project will make a core collection of e-books freely available to all further education (FE) institutions in the UK for five years, four months.
7. In addition to the centrally funded core collection, the JISC Collections e-select: Framework Agreement will enable FE colleges to build upon the centrally funded collection by purchasing additional e-books at specially discounted pricing. The e-select Framework Agreement will allow collection building at a local level, to ensure that every FE college in the UK can provide its students with a highly relevant, usable and accessible digital library.
It is recognised by the e-books for FE Project Board, that as welcome as this initiative is, it will not be possible for FE colleges to provide all the e-book titles, required for the diversity of learners. In the print environment, there is a mixed model; FE students will purchase some books and borrow other books from the college library.
Enabling student to purchase e-books and use them effectively in their studies is the subject of this work.
8. A number of models might be used, with varying degrees of involvement by FE colleges and/or JISC Collections. This study will explore the various models, their likely take-up and effectiveness.
Objectives and Deliverables of the Consultancy
9. Given the diversity of courses delivered by FE it is unlikely that any college will be able to afford all of the e-books required for all students. However, the reliance on students to purchase their own textbooks will continue but it is increasingly likely that future textbook provision will be in e-format rather than in print. Indeed, a number of e-book aggregators are already selling to the student market, for example ebooks.com http://www.ebooks.com, Taylor and Francis http://www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk/html/scategory.asp and CourseSmart http://www.coursesmart.com
10. The sector might help students purchase relevant and affordable e-books through a number of models, two of which are outlined below:
- FE colleges could negotiate (perhaps via JISC Collections) with the vendors, to ensure that FE students have access to the relevant e-book titles under appropriate terms and conditions. FE colleges could then point students to approved e-book vendors. The Coursesmart model in operation in Ohio is an example of this model.
- FE colleges could procure (perhaps via JISC Collections) the e-books needed for its students but then recover the costs. Cost recovery might be through a pay-per-use model (rather as students now pay for photocopies) or it might be through a single payment per course. The advantage of such a model is that colleges would be able to leverage economies of scale; ensuring students have access to the e-book at a much lower cost than the standard single copy price (in e-format or print).
11. Work is required to scope the feasibility of these models and to investigate other possible models. The study should take into account the needs and requirements of all the stake holders in the supply chain and detail the methods of supply; and technical requirements to operate the methods of supply. The list below is not exhaustive, but indicates some of the areas for exploration:
- Should subscription to e-books be available for the duration of a course or available for outright purchase, (in perpetuity)?
- Students may need to access e-books via a variety of devices, these might include personal computers, computers within the FE college, hand held devices including mobile phones
- What measures can be taken to ensure equity of access? E-books should be affordable for the majority of students, and accessible to those with disabilities.
- How will teachers know which titles are available in e-book format, so that these books can be put onto reading lists and/or become a mandatory reading for a course?
- How can teachers integrate elements of adopted books into virtual learning environments and other teaching and learning materials such as e-portfolios?
- If the ‘Institutional purchase and cost recovery’ model were in place, how can this be administered in a cost effective and manageable way? What are the technical and administrative issues?
- How can library staff and/or JISC Collections be satisfied that the terms and conditions offered to students through third parties are adequate to support learning.
- What affordable option might there be for the library to buy limited concurrency of e-books for students who are unable to afford the purchase of recommended e-books?
- If students are to acquire e-books instead of print books, what are the advantages to publishers? How might such advantages translate into e-books that are cheaper than their print equivalents?
- What would be the role of booksellers in a move from print to e-books and would such a move be beneficial or harmful to this industry?
- Is there a role of a national organisation such as JISC Collections to negotiate on behalf of further education institutions and or their students?
The following timescale is to be followed:
- Submission of proposal by 12.00 noon on Monday 15th June 2009
- Evaluation of proposals received competed on week commencing
- Funding letter and contract issued by JISC Collections on Monday 27th July 2009
- Deliver and present to JISC Collections and/or the e-books for FE steering group findings and recommendations from stakeholder requirements on week commencing Monday 11th January 2010
- Deliver and present to JISC Collections a final report, which can be published and disseminated to further education institutions and e-book publishers and aggregators by 30th January 2010.
11. Total funding available for the consultancy (including travel and subsistence) is £28,000 including VAT. A suitable schedule of payment of the fee will be agreed following the award of contract.
12. Proposals should be a maximum of 6 A4 pages plus appendices, and no less than 10pt font. Proposals should include:
- A description of the proposed work
- A work plan of how the work will be carried out to meet the objectives. The work plan should include a schedule of work against milestones / deliverables.
- An assessment of the risks associated with the proposed work and how these will be managed
- A demonstration of competence in the field should be submitted and include a summary of relevant experience and knowledge
- A previous track record of working with the education sector and the publishing sector
- CVs of key personnel proposed for the work, including relevant experience and qualifications
- The total cost and a breakdown of costs
Proposals should clearly demonstrate:
- An understanding of the further education and publishing sectors
- An understanding of the e-books market and potential of e-books to support education
- An understanding of interoperable and technical standards
- Methodologies to be adopted
- Clear outputs and deliverables
Proposals should be sent by email to Anna Vernon (firstname.lastname@example.org) for receipt by
12 noon on Monday 15th June 2009. It is the responsibility of the bidder to ensure that the email has arrived by the deadline outlined above.
Evaluation Process and Criteria
13. An evaluation panel will be established with representation from JISC Collections and JISC. The criteria used to decide will include assessments of (in no particular order):
- Feasibility of the proposal within the given timescale
- Analysis of risks to the completion of the work
- Relevant experience and expertise of staffing resources
- Understanding of the academic and public sector markets
- Value for money
14. Queries regarding the bidding process should be addressed to Anna Vernon, e-books for FE Project Manger at email@example.com.
The JISC Collections reserves the right not to select any proposal to undertake this study.