Jisc partners with Unsub to evaluate UK university journal subscriptions

Jisc, the not-for-profit technology provider for research and education, has announced that it will be using Unsub, an analytics dashboard, to help evaluate journal agreements that UK universities hold with publishers. 

The dashboard, created in 2019 by the not-for-profit software company Our Research, can produce forecasts of different journal subscription scenarios, giving Jisc insight into the costs and benefits of subscription packages for each university and across the consortium. 

Caren Milloy, director of licensing at Jisc, says: “In this period of financial uncertainty, it is essential that we can support our members in evaluating the agreements they subscribe to. The new dashboard enables us to look at the value derived across all participating members and to assess the impact of different collection models. We are really pleased to support our members with centrally coordinated data provision, that will also provide insights to inform institutional decision-making.” 

Jason Priem, co-founder of Our Research, says: “We’re thrilled to help Jisc continue its tradition of information leadership in both the UK and worldwide. This new partnership helps further Unsub’s goal of supporting libraries in re-evaluating their Big Deals, giving them the opportunity to focus spending in support of the transition to open access.”   

Unsub is currently used by more than 400 research libraries worldwide, with the latest subscribing UK institutions being the University of Cambridge and Lancaster University. However, the new partnership will allow Jisc to extend Unsub’s data-driven insights beyond these individual universities, to encompass the entire UK higher education sector. In doing so, Jisc will join other consortia Unsub users, including CRKN (Canada), CAUL (Australia and New Zealand) and LYRASIS (USA), among others.   

The Unsub dashboard will streamline workflows and add new data to Jisc’s ongoing analysis efforts. Of particular value is Unsub’s ability to estimate the extent to which Open Access (OA) scholarly articles can replace existing subscription access. Due to growth of OA,  more than half of newly-published articles are now free to read.