Bibsam Consortium

Since 1996 the National Library of Sweden negotiates licence agreements for electronic information resources on behalf of Swedish universities, university colleges, as well as public agencies and research institutes.

95 organisations are a part of the Bibsam Consortium.

Since the Bibsam Consortium is not a legal body, the parties of an agreement are each individual organisation ("the Licensee"), and the vendor ("the Licensor"). A power of attorney from participating organisations allows the National Librarian to sign the agreements.


The National Library of Sweden has six members of staff dedicated to negotiate and administrate the 49 licence agreements for approximately 100 e-resource packages.

These include agreements with scholarly journal publishers as well as abstract and indexing databases, reference works and e-books.

The turnover is EUR 55 million (2022), and the 10 largest Universities account for 70% of the turnover.

Eight representatives (library directors and a vice-chancellor as chairperson) from the participating organisations form the Bibsam Consortium Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is focusing on developing strategies and overall principles regarding negotiations, price models and content.

Bibsam Consortium’s action plan 2022–2024

Research-intensive institutions with high publication volume see large price increases. The number of scientific articles increases year over year, both globally and in Sweden.

The global transition to a new publishing system is relatively slow. As a result, Swedish institutions will need to finance both the publication of open access articles and continued access to content behind paywalls for several more years.

  1. Continue to sign and follow up reading and publishing agreements for both hybrid and open access journals with a CC-BY licence.
  2. Sign more publishing agreements for fully open access journals.
  3. Explore and support alternative business models and publishing paths with learned societies/small publishers.
  4. Review copyright requirements to promote open access and support new ways of open publishing, such as immediate parallel publishing.

Selection criteria of e-resources

The selection of e-resources is based on the following criteria.

  • Should meet the demands of the participating organisations (e.g. a number of organisations must be interested in the e-resource offered)
  • The vendor should have exclusive rights to the licensed material
  • Offers must include both financial and administrative savings for participating organisations and provide favorable terms of usage
  • Price models should be transparent (e. g. FTE-based)
  • The licence terms must be in agreement with the Bibsam Consortium's fundamental principles

Bibsam Consortium’s fundamental principles

When negotiating with vendors the Bibsam Consortium acts according to a set of basic requirements and licensing principles.

The licence agreements should permit:

  • Printing and electronically saving parts of the licensed material
  • Scholarly sharing
  • Incorporating parts of the licensed material in Course Packs and on Virtual Learning
  • Environments
  • Document delivery between libraries (Inter Library Loan)
  • Walk-in use
  • Organisations to opt in, but also opt out of multi-year agreement
  • Self-archiving
  • Swedish law as governing law

The Consortium negotiates e-only resources and it is of importance that the vendors provide:

  • Usage statistic on a regular basis
  • Post-termination access
  • Metadata relating to the licensed material
  • In addition to these fundamental principles, we expect vendors to comply with basic technical requirements and industry standards.

Basic Technical Requirements and Industry Standards

In addition to the fundamental principles, we expect vendors to comply with the basic technical requirements and industry standards.



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