Deal or No Deal – Licensing & Acquiring Digital Resources: License Negotiations Reprise

Kara Phillips, Collection Development Librarian/Associate Director at Seattle University Law Library since 1997, has worked for various state agencies in Washington as a contract librarian as well as the Gallagher Law Library East Asian Law Department and Lane Powell Spears Lubersky. Recipient of a Blakemore Fellowship, she studied Mandarin Chinese at the Stanford Center in Taipei, Taiwan in 1996 and during her sabbatical in 2007 will work in China, setting up an American legal collection at Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Law.

In my last Deal or No Deal column, I applied the techniques described in a classic book on negotiation, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury to the licensing context. In this follow up column, I will summarize some practical suggestions for licensing negotiations set forth in the library literature. While the topic of licensing negotiations is well covered in the literature, I feel that the tips contained in the resources below are worth reviewing and amplifying.

Tip 1: Do Your Homework

Create an electronic resource selection policy

Kristine Kenney, Negotiating with Vendors, 45 Public Libraries 11 (Sept/Oct 2006)

Obtain accurate institutional information on number of patrons, locations

Sharon Srodin, Let's Make a Deal: Tips and Tricks for Negotiating Content Purchases, 28 Online 16 (July/August 2004)

Research the vendor, its subsidiaries, and its product

Barbara Quint, Six Rules of Engagement: Negotiating Deals with Vendors, 10 The Bottom Line 4 (1997)

Identify vendor representatives with authority for executing sales and licenses and with expertise in technical set up and support

Barbara Quint, Six Rules of Engagement: Negotiating Deals with Vendors, 10 The Bottom Line 4 (1997)

 

Investigate the vendor's longevity, sales record for this product, market presence, fiscal year cycle

Kristine Kenney, Negotiating with Vendors, 45 Public Libraries 11 (Sept/Oct 2006)

Look into the competitors, their subsidiaries and their products

Barbara Quint, Six Rules of Engagement: Negotiating Deals with Vendors, 10 The Bottom Line 4 (1997)

Investigate aggregators, distributors, and other supplies, their products and platforms

Barbara Quint, Six Rules of Engagement: Negotiating Deals with Vendors, 10 The Bottom Line 4 (1997)

Find out whether the product includes onsite or remote training, technical support, training materials, and other enhancements

Kristine Kenney, Negotiating with Vendors, 45 Public Libraries 11 (Sept/Oct 2006)

Conduct a trial and evaluate product

Kristine Kenney, Negotiating with Vendors, 45 Public Libraries 11 (Sept/Oct 2006)

Tip 2 Seek Input

Evaluate your patron and institutional information needs for the product

Barbara Quint, Six Rules of Engagement: Negotiating Deals with Vendors, 10 The Bottom Line 4 (1997)

Determine who will be using the product as well as where and how they will be using it

Lesley Ellen Harris, How to Be a Better Negotiator, at Copyrightlaws.com: http://copyrightlaws.com/index2.html

Solicit patron feedback

Fiona Durrant, Negotiating an Online Contract, 3 Legal Information Management 10 (Spring 2003)

Obtain usage statistics

Fiona Durrant, Negotiating an Online Contract, 3 Legal Information Management 10 (Spring 2003)

Determine whether the product may be of use to other institutional departments (e.g. marketing, technology, development, career services) and create partnerships or better yet, add on to their subscription or license

Sharon Srodin, Let's Make a Deal: Tips and Tricks for Negotiating Content Purchases, 28 Online 16 (July/August 2004); Barbara Quint, Six Rules of Engagement: Negotiating Deals with Vendors, 10 The Bottom Line 4 (1997)

Find out whether there are other libraries using the product and get their feedback

Barbara Quint, Six Rules of Engagement: Negotiating Deals with Vendors, 10 The Bottom Line 4 (1997)

 

Tip 3 Work Out Pricing

Obtain quotes from vendor and competitors

Fiona Durrant, Negotiating an Online Contract, 3 Legal Information Management 10 (Spring 2003)

Examine your budget and ability to pay for the product over the long term

Barbara Quint, Six Rules of Engagement: Negotiating Deals with Vendors, 10 The Bottom Line 4 (1997)

Research pricing levels at other institutions and consortia

Barbara Quint, Six Rules of Engagement: Negotiating Deals with Vendors, 10 The Bottom Line 4 (1997)

Find out about payment options (lump sum discount; payment broken up over budget cycles, installment payments)

Barbara Quint, Six Rules of Engagement: Negotiating Deals with Vendors, 10 The Bottom Line 4 (1997)

Explore incentives and discounts for participating in beta testing; providing an endorsement; subscribing to an additional product; utilizing a limited portion of the database; getting a longer subscription period for the same price; obtaining free training; capping inflation rates for a certain number of years

Fiona Durrant, Negotiating an Online Contract, 3 Legal Information Management 10 (Spring 2003); Barbara Quint, Six Rules of Engagement: Negotiating Deals with Vendors, 10 The Bottom Line 4 (1997)

 

Understand total institutional spending levels with that vendor and its subsidiaries for all products and services and bargain based on collective institutional expenditures

Willem Noorlander, Negotiate Your Way to the Best Price for Information, 10 Information Outlook 27 (March 2006)

Renew early before a price hike hits

Sharon Srodin, Let's Make a Deal: Tips and Tricks for Negotiating Content Purchases, 28 Online 16 (July/August 2004)

Conduct a cost benefit analysis

Seymour Satin, Negotiating From First Contact to Final Contract, 9 Searcher 50 (June 2001)

 

Tip 4 Manage Your Time

Familiarize yourself with renewal dates and notice requirements as well as institutional and vendor timelines, budget cycles, fiscal close requirements

Fiona Durrant, Negotiating an Online Contract, 3 Legal Information Management 10 (Spring 2003)

Identify institutional players (consortia, purchasing, legal, fiscal, technology) who should be involved in evaluating, approving and licensing the product and understand their deadlines

Barbara Quint, Six Rules of Engagement: Negotiating Deals with Vendors, 10 The Bottom Line 4 (1997)

 

Create schedule with duties and deadlines

Willem Noorlander, Negotiate Your Way to the Best Price for Information, 10 Information Outlook 27 (March 2006)

Don't waste time

Debbie Schachter, The Rules of Negotiation, 10 Information Outlook 8 (Sept 2006)

 

Tip 5 Set Goals

Examine the contract or forward to the appropriate department for review

Fiona Durrant, Negotiating an Online Contract, 3 Legal Information Management 10 (Spring 2003)

Make preliminary inquiries about flexibility with license terms

Fiona Durrant, Negotiating an Online Contract, 3 Legal Information Management 10 (Spring 2003)

List issues to cover with vendor

Fiona Durrant, Negotiating an Online Contract, 3 Legal Information Management 10 (Spring 2003)

Prioritize your goals as to pricing, terms, service, content, accessibility

Debbie Schachter, The Rules of Negotiation, 10 Information Outlook 8 (Sept 2006)

Prioritize negotiation objectives and points

Willem Noorlander, Negotiate Your Way to the Best Price for Information, 10 Information Outlook 27 (March 2006)

Prepare a list of points you can and cannot live without

Lesley Ellen Harris, How to Be a Better Negotiator, at Copyrightlaws.com: http://copyrightlaws.com/index2.html; American Association of Law Libraries, AALL Resource Guide No. 6, Negotiation in Law Libraries (Summer 2000)

 

Create a list of alternatives and other options

Lesley Ellen Harris, How to Be a Better Negotiator, at Copyrightlaws.com: http://copyrightlaws.com/index2.html

Play devil's advocate by anticipating alternative scenarios and questions

Seymour Satin, Negotiating From First Contact to Final Contract, 9 Searcher 50 (June 2001)

 

Tip 6 Just Do It

Set the stage for where and when the negotiations will occur

Lesley Ellen Harris, How to Be a Better Negotiator, at Copyrightlaws.com: http://copyrightlaws.com/index2.html

Take notes during the negotiation

Lesley Ellen Harris, How to Be a Better Negotiator, at Copyrightlaws.com: http://copyrightlaws.com/index2.html

Listen conscientiously and convey your points clearly

Lesley Ellen Harris, How to Be a Better Negotiator, at Copyrightlaws.com: http://copyrightlaws.com/index2.html; Seymour Satin, Negotiating From First Contact to Final Contract, 9 Searcher 50 (June 2001)

Negotiate honestly and fairly

Debbie Schachter, The Rules of Negotiation, 10 Information Outlook 8 (Sept 2006)

Avoid manipulation and intimidation

American Association of Law Libraries, AALL Resource Guide No. 6, Negotiation in Law Libraries (Summer 2000)

Respond without hostility or impatience

American Association of Law Libraries, AALL Resource Guide No. 6, Negotiation in Law Libraries (Summer 2000)

Build trust, goodwill and lasting relationships

Lesley Ellen Harris, How to Be a Better Negotiator, at Copyrightlaws.com: http://copyrightlaws.com/index2.html; Debbie Schachter, The Rules of Negotiation, 10 Information Outlook 8 (Sept 2006)

Ask open ended questions and request clarifications and additional information as needed

Lesley Ellen Harris, How to Be a Better Negotiator, at Copyrightlaws.com: http://copyrightlaws.com/index2.html

Agree on common goals

American Association of Law Libraries, AALL Resource Guide No. 6, Negotiation in Law Libraries (Summer 2000)

Identify mutual interests

American Association of Law Libraries, AALL Resource Guide No. 6, Negotiation in Law Libraries (Summer 2000)

Work toward a win-win situation

Seymour Satin, Negotiating From First Contact to Final Contract, 9 Searcher 50 (June 2001)

Examine body language for cues

American Association of Law Libraries, AALL Resource Guide No. 6, Negotiation in Law Libraries (Summer 2000)

Summarize progress made and points agreed upon at appropriate intervals

American Association of Law Libraries, AALL Resource Guide No. 6, Negotiation in Law Libraries (Summer 2000)

Question the underlying basis or justification for a proposal or particular term rather than criticizing it

Seymour Satin, Negotiating From First Contact to Final Contract, 9 Searcher 50 (June 2001)

Use silence when appropriate

Seymour Satin, Negotiating From First Contact to Final Contract, 9 Searcher 50 (June 2001)

Keep negotiations on track and limit small talk

American Association of Law Libraries, AALL Resource Guide No. 6, Negotiation in Law Libraries (Summer 2000)

Don't divulge strategic information at the outset

Seymour Satin, Negotiating From First Contact to Final Contract, 9 Searcher 50 (June 2001)

Brainstorm creative solutions and maintain flexibility

Seymour Satin, Negotiating From First Contact to Final Contract, 9 Searcher 50 (June 2001)

Clarify misunderstandings

Lesley Ellen Harris, How to Be a Better Negotiator, at Copyrightlaws.com: http://copyrightlaws.com/index2.html

Don't make assumptions

Lesley Ellen Harris, How to Be a Better Negotiator, at Copyrightlaws.com: http://copyrightlaws.com/index2.html

Hire a professional or outsource negotiations to consortia if needed

Seymour Satin, Negotiating From First Contact to Final Contract, 9 Searcher 50 (June 2001)

 

Tip 6 Follow Through

Make sure the license is signed, filed and accessible to those who need it; pay the invoice; ensure the product and content are available to patrons; publicize and provide training

Willem Noorlander, Negotiate Your Way to the Best Price for Information, 10 Information Outlook 27 (March 2006)

Walk away from the table if it's a "no deal" or consider asking for institutional help from purchasing, business office or the legal division

Sharon Srodin, Let's Make a Deal: Tips and Tricks for Negotiating Content Purchases, 28 Online 16 (July/August 2004); Kristine Kenney, Negotiating with Vendors, 45 Public Libraries 11 (Sept/Oct 2006)

Thank those involved in the process

American Association of Law Libraries, AALL Resource Guide No. 6, Negotiation in Law Libraries (Summer 2000)

Summarize and reflect on your experience and prepare for the next round

American Association of Law Libraries, AALL Resource Guide No. 6, Negotiation in Law Libraries (Summer 2000)

 

Cited Resources on Electronic Resource License Negotiation

Lesley Ellen Harris, How to Be a Better Negotiator, at Copyrightlaws.com: http://copyrightlaws.com/index2.html

Sharon Srodin, Let's Make a Deal: Tips and Tricks for Negotiating Content Purchases, 28 Online 16 (July/August 2004)

Willem Noorlander, Negotiate Your Way to the Best Price for Information, 10 Information Outlook 27 (March 2006)

Seymour Satin, Negotiating from First Contact to Final Contract, 9 Searcher 50 (June 2001)

Fiona Durrant, Negotiating an Online Contract, 3 Legal Information Management 10 (Spring 2003)

Kristine Kenney, Negotiating with Vendors, 45 Public Libraries 11 (Sept/Oct 2006)

American Association of Law Libraries, AALL Resource Guide No. 6, Negotiation in Law Libraries (Summer 2000)

Debbie Schachter, The Rules of Negotiation, 10 Information Outlook 8 (Sept 2006)

Barbara Quint, Six Rules of Engagement: Negotiating Deals with Vendors, 10 The Bottom Line 4 (1997)