Author Archives: Leah

SafeNet entering 2015

The image below presents a broad timeline for the SafeNet project.


Over the last couple of months, we have been considering the most appropriate architecture for a SafeNet service and have begun technical development of the entitlement registry.  We plan to show a prototype to the Entitlement Registry Development Group when it first meets in Spring 2015.

The project team is working to establish a process that results in an authoritative database, yet is sufficiently flexible to accommodate variation in subscription arrangements and minimizes the resource and effort required from publishers to participate.  In order to create an entitlement registry that can be useful within the next two years, we make a clear distinction between the process needed to capture current subscriptions information from that of gathering historical entitlement information. This will be explored in a future blog post.

There are technical challenges associated with ensuring that the publisher site is the first port of call post-cancellation and that requests are directed through SafeNet when content is not available from the publisher site.

In recent months we have consulted publishers on issues associated with the archive and the entitlement registry.  We have received important feedback about a local load agreement and considerable enthusiasm about the entitlement registry.  There is widespread agreement from librarians and publishers that an entitlement registry will be extremely valuable – and that the challenges associated with populating it, identified previously by the PECAN project, remain to be addressed.  There is currently no source of actionable data about subscriptions on which both publishers and librarians agree.  Libraries often have no record of the specific titles to which they have subscribed, and publishers tend to store access data and subscriptions data on separate systems neither of which is set up to publish these data.

We will seek advice on guidance on all of these issues from a Community Advisory Group (CAG) and Entitlement Registry Development Group (ERDG). In early 2015, we will invite members to join these groups. We expect to consult both groups remotely before the first face-to-face meetings scheduled to take place in Spring 2015.  Throughout 2015, we will be working on service platform development and, following our initial consultation with publishers, will seek to secure publisher participation in SafeNet.

SafeNet gets underway

SafeNet is a Jisc ‘Service in Development’ to improve assured continuity of access for UK HE  institutions to the electronic journal articles for which they have paid.  The project started on 1st August 2014 and runs until July 2016.

We are now approaching the Christmas break and have had a productive four months. We have been appraising options for the technical components and securing the input of key stakeholders in designing a valuable service.  We’ve been looking at what exists in the global community, learning from initiatives such as Scholars Portal and LOCKSS and considering how the components of SafeNet will fit within the broader Jisc suite of services for managing e-journals.

There are two key components to SafeNet: the entitlement registry and the infrastructure for storing local copies of journals to be accessed post cancellation.  The challenges associated with building a registry of actionable entitlement data have been explored by the PECAN project.  Recommendations from PECAN and conversations with the Scholars Portal have given us some intelligence about how we will tackle those.  It’s essential that the service is accepted by all stakeholders involved in the relevant transactions and workflow processes.  Accordingly, we have been preparing Terms of Reference for an Entitlement Registry Development Group to bring expertise on the workflows and systems used by UK HE libraries as well as by international and UK-based publishers.

Jisc have adopted a co-design approach towards service development, and we are keen to embrace that here.  We have drafted Terms of Reference for a Community Advisory Group to provide guidance on community priorities and workflows, to develop a process for identifying content priorities, bring awareness of related initiatives, and to champion SafeNet within the UK HE community. In short, this group will be both outward and inward focused.

Finally, the project must also establish effective governance and ensure the sustainability of the Jisc shared service to be developed by the SafeNet project.  In this, we are grateful for the advice and guidance of the Jisc Electronic Information Resources Working Group (EIRWG).  In the immediate future, the project team will seek to define access triggers with reference to the scenarios in which PCA is needed.  These will inform negotiation with publishers throughout the rest of 2015.