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Frequently Asked Questions - EIFL Model Licences FAQ's

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.
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)

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

  • ​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.

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.

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.
  • Interlibrary 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