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Pricing Models

Pricing models are a key point of negotiation with vendors. Typically vendors come to the negotiating table with their company's “standard” pricing model. e-HLbc’s approach, whenever possible, is to encourage vendors to accept an e-HLbc licensing model as the way to determine prices for individual member  libraries.

e-HLbc Licensing Model Overview

Needing to meet the needs of its diverse membership, e-HLbc's licensing model understands the differences between health and post-seconadry library communities and tries to find a cohesive pricing model that is equitable, rational, and makes sense.

Post-Seconadry institutions are divided into tiers based on (1) type of institution and then (2) FTE (fulltime equivalent students). Many tier models used by both vendors and other consortia follow the same approach. 

Health Authorities are also divided into tiers based on the Patient Safety & Learning System Cost Sharing Formula, which is the formula used by the Ministry of Health to allocate the global BC health care budget.

Government & Health Professional Organizations are priced by head count and often align with tiers used in the post-secondary sector.

Tiers and Definitions

The e-HLbc Post-Secondary tier structure is as follows:

  • Institutions with predominantly two-year programs:
    • Tier 1A: Colleges up to 2,000 FTE
    • Tier 1B: Colleges from 2,001 - 4,000 FTE
    • Tier 1C: Colleges from 4,001 FTE +
  • Institutions with predominantly four-year programs
    • Tier 2: Regional Universities and Institutes with 4-year programs
  • Universities
    • Tier 3 - Small Universities
    • Tier 4 - Medium Universities
    • Tier 5 - Large Universities

The full-time enrolment figures corresponds to funded FTEs and is taken from AVED institutional budget letters (whenever possible).

The e-HLbc Health Authority Tier Structure follows:

  • Tier 1 - Small health authority receiving <10% of BC's global health care spending
  • Tier 2 - Medium health authority receiving between 10 and 20% of BC's global health care spending
  • Tier 3 - Large health authority receiving >20% of of BC's global health care spending

Other Pricing Models

In general e-HLbc’s approach is to encourage database vendors to use the e-HLbc pricing model. However, for a number of licenses this has not been possible. In some cases the vendor is unwilling or unable to show flexibility in their standard model. In other cases e-HLbc is using a model which predates the development of our tier model, or a model negotiated at a national level. Therefore e-HLbc licensed products display a wide variety of pricing models.

In each case the Trial/Renewal page for the product makes clear the pricing model used. The following list outlines a number of licensing models in use by vendors and consortia across North America: 

  • FTE: A fixed price per FTE. Variations include weighted FTE (some types of institutions receive a “discount” on their FTE) and capped FTE (minimum and maximum prices). FTE in some cases may be based on particular programs such as nursing, medical, and allied health.
  • Tier: Institutions are divided into tiers and priced accordingly.
  • Flat fee: In the flat fee model, a vendor grants access to a group of libraries in exchange for a fixed price. The libraries are free to divide that cost however they like, without reference to the vendor. 
  • Bed count:  Used frequently in the health sector, this model bases pricing on the number of beds (chronic, acute, or both) in a hospital or health region.
  • Simultaneous user: In this model a library, regardless of size, buys a certain number of “seats” or simultaneous users to access the product.
  • Usage-based: A library or consortium buys a “block” of uses, e.g. 10,000 fulltext downloads. Alternately they may pay a fixed price per download.
  • Collections budget: A few products are priced according to the collections budget of the library, with “richer” libraries paying more.
  • Existing spend: This model uses a library’s pre-existing spend on a publisher’s products as a baseline for determining the price of a new or expanded product. This model has been common in the transition from print to ejournal subscriptions.
  • Hybrid: Some pricing models combine several of the above approaches.