Digital archival collections group purchasing scheme

A woman with a laptop in a library.

Collectively lowering the cost of acquiring digital archival collections.

When budgets are stretched, it's hard to buy primary source materials that complement libraries' journal and book resources to provide a richer experience for users.

The digital archival collections group purchasing scheme makes primary source materials and archives more affordable to higher education (HE). Participating publishers may also exercise the option to offer products to alternative HE providers. By digital archival collections, we mean static databases of texts, images, audio-visual material and data which libraries typically buy as one-off purchases (current subscriptions to journals and book collections are out of scope).

Group purchasing is a community-centred model, based on the simple market principle; the more products that are purchased per publisher by any institution, the lower the price for those participating. The scheme runs from November to July of each academic year and guarantees a minimum saving of 20% off the list price of all the products on offer, with the potential to expand to over 30% depending on uptake by institutions.

"At Manchester we have appreciated the price transparency and acquisition principles behind the Jisc digital archival collections purchasing model. We value the role of our trusted partner Jisc in mediating and simplifying these complex and costly deals."

Sandra Bracegirdle, associate director, collection strategies, University of Manchester Library

Benefits of the scheme

  • Substantial savings - to date participating members have collectively saved over £1 million on the cost of purchasing digital archival collections
  • A more efficient and transparent approach to the acquisition of digital archival collections
  • Automatic 20% discount on all products offered through the scheme
  • Members of the scheme collectively help each other drive down the cost - the more they individually buy, the deeper the discount for all who participate
  • All titles are a one-off perpetual purchase with no recurrent platform/hosting fee
  • No need to negotiate prices – the fees have been Jisc banded to allow all UK HE, and optional alternative HE providers, to participate
  • Jisc model licence provides a consistent and standard approach to procuring and licensing collections from multiple publishers

Case study: "Our digital resources have a much wider reach than we ever imagined”

Six years ago the University of Exeter’s library launched a programme to improve student and researcher access to primary digital resources and it has made strategic investments year on year in quality collections. The ripples from this are spreading widely into the academic community, helping library users achieve more and enhancing the library’s reputation. Read the full story (pdf).

Who is this scheme for?

The scheme is primarily open to all UK higher education members; and optionally on a publisher-by-publisher basis to alternative HE providers, as defined in the Jisc banding information.

Available collections

The scheme has now closed for the year 2022/23. Information on the scheme for 2023/24 will be published in due course.

Find out more

For more information contact Karen Colbron, subject matter expert – digital collections, Jisc (