The Keepers Registry service will be ending on 31 July 2019. Keith Cole, Executive Director Digital Resources Jisc, has issued a statement explaining the rationale for Jisc's decision to end its funding of the Keepers Registry.
Following consultation with the HE sector via SCONUL & RLUK, Jisc has decided to end its funding of the Keepers Registry service on 31st July. From the 1st August 2019, the Keepers Registry service will no longer be available. The purpose of this post is to provide a bit more information about the rationale for this decision.
We regularly review our portfolio of services to ensure that we are well placed to respond to continuing downward pressures on funding and also to provide headroom to enable new services emerging from our innovation pipeline to become part of the Jisc portfolio such as Learner Analytics and the Open Research Hub and also to support major transformation projects such as the establishment of the NBK and the development of the associated Library hub services.
In early 2017 Jisc undertook a widescale review of which services should be in the Jisc core subscription and which services should be optional as part of the HE consultation on the Jisc subscription. Whilst a number of HEIs used the Keepers Registry and found it useful, there was not sufficient sector demand for its inclusion in the core subscription - unlike other library related services such as JUSP - where usage was more or less universal. So as a result, the Keepers Registry was designated as an optional subscription service from 2017/18 but it continued to be heavily subsidised by Jisc.
As part of our standard internal service review process, we conducted an initial review of the Keepers Registry in December/January. This review demonstrated that not only did UK institutions make up a minority of the overall global usage of the Keepers Registry but that their usage was declining and occasional, with only a very small handful of institutions using it in any one year. For example, in 2017/18 there were 249 sessions from 63 UK HEIs with around 50% of those HEIs only recording only one session per year. This usage by UK HEIs only represented 20% of all interactions with the service with 80% of activity being traced to users from outside of the UK. The continued allocation of funding to subsidise the delivery of a free international service is no longer well aligned with Jisc’s primary role as a provider of value-for-money digital services to its UK HE member organisations.
In February Jisc indicated to SCONUL and RLUK the outcome of its review and its desire to approach institutions to seek further feedback from the library sector on its proposed decision to cease subsidy of the Keepers Registry. We received responses from a range of HEIs which we have reviewed. There was only one HEI that felt Keepers was potentially a useful resource – although they did not currently subscribe to it/use it. In light the evidence reviewed, the feedback received and the overall budgetary context in which we, like all of you, are operating we have regretfully taken the decision to cease our funding of the service at the end of July. We had hoped to extend the service until the end of December but it was not cost effective to do so given such low usage.
As part of our journal negotiations, we ensure that the preservation and post-cancellation access status of all journals are included in all agreements and the means of access are documented in each licence agreement. This information is also captured in the licence management module of Knowledge Base+. We also have agreements in place for the LOCKSS Alliance and Portico to support preservation and post-cancellation access, in the latter case Portico offer a holdings comparison service to institutions wishing to check the coverage of their holdings in Portico.
In addition to this existing activity, we will be undertaking a review of what preservation services are required by our members and our role in their provision. In the event that the type of functionality provided by the Keepers Registry is required, we will provide this in-house as part of the new Library hub platform.
We appreciate the inconvenience that this decision will cause but given constrained funding we need to be able to invest in developing new services for libraries.
Please feel free to get back to me directly on any aspect of the funding decision.