What’s it worth? Estimating the value of coursepack permissions in e-journal licenses.

Poster Session for NASIG, 4-7 May 2006, Denver, CO

Athena Hoeppner
University of Central Florida Libraries


Articles in coursepacks require either copyright payments or permission from the copyright holder. E-journal licenses frequently permit inclusion of articles in coursepacks. The author estimated the monetary value of the permissions using these four steps:

  1. Survey coursepack article content
  2. Determine overlap between coursepacks and e-journal articles,
  3. Estimate copyright charges for the article content, and
  4. Calculate the potential copyright value.

Survey of Coursepacks

The UCF Bookstore has all coursepacks used from 1999 through 2005. I examined each pack page by page and entered data about each item in the pack into a spreadsheet, especially noting articles.

Example of information recorded for articles in coursepacks

Course Number COM6467
Academic Term Spring 05
Pack price $14.50
Pages in pack 162
Nature of item Article
Pages in item 7
Item citation Boster, Fraklin J.; Effectiveness Of An Altruistic Appeal In The Presence And Absence Of Favors; Communication Monographs; 2001 vol. 68(4) p.340 2.

Coursepacks and E-journal Articles Overlap

I constructed an OpenURL for each article and used it as a quick method to check for online availability. If OpenURL did not find online options, I checked the catalog and used alternative ways to search for full text. I entered data about the availability of the article as full text and in our holdings, whether it can be found via UCF’s SFX menus, the source and format of the article, and the number of pages.

Example of information recorded for articles online

Online Y
Available in print Y
Full text source EBSCOhost
Format PDF
Pages online 7
OpenURL http://sfx.fcla.edu/ucf?sid=sfx:citation& genre=article&title=Communication Monographs& date=2001&volume=68& issue=4& spage=340

Copyright Charges for Coursepack Articles

I looked up copyright fees on the Copyright Clearance Center’s Quick Price form for every article. Calculating copyright fees for each article required 4 data elements:

  1. Journal title
  2. Publication year
  3. Pages
  4. Number of students to use the pack

Copyright Clearance Center Quick Price form

I recorded the CCC price per page and other fees, the price for 1, 30, 100, 300 students.

Copyright fee information recorded for each article

Source Communication Monographs
Year 2001
Pages 7
CCC per page $0.12
1 copy $3.84
30 $28.20
100 $87.00
300 $255.00

For 63 out of the 150 articles, no copyright fee could be provided. In those cases, I used the average cost per page to calculate an estimate.

Estimating copyright fees

CCC service fee: $3.00
Average CCC fee per page: $0.12
$3 + (0.12 x students) = Estimated price

UCF’s Institutional Research Center makes our enrollment data available on the web. I entered the 2004/2005 enrollment for each course that used a pack. When there were multiple sections for a course, I summed the enrollment for all sections. For some classes no exact enrollment was provided. In those cases I used an enrollment of 30. UCF’s average class size in 2004-2005 was 31.9.

Enrollment and copyright cost based on enrollment

Course Term Enrolled Copyright fee
COM6467 S05 30 $28.20

The number of pages ranged from 1 - 22, and the CCC per page price ranged from $0.02 - $0.60. A handful of articles used a per-article fee instead or in addition to per page fees.

Prices for coursepacks for 0 to 300 students

Number of pages in the article, cost per page, and number of students affect the copyright fee to use an article in a coursepack.

Potential Copyright Value

I focused on academic year 2004/2005 because I had enrollment data for the courses, the coursepacks were the most likely to be used again, and they were the most likely to have had full text available at the time of the pack creation. There were 110 articles in the 2004/2005 packs, and 67 of them were available online.

Academic year 2004/2005 article and copyright fee totals

  Articles Fees
All articles 110 $5,357.44
Online articles 67 $3,417.68

Of the 67 articles, 23 come from free web sites. While the articles from those sites may require copyright fees if they are included in coursepacks, the library will not have any license for the content. For 2004/2005, only 44 articles were covered by UCF licenses. 11 vendors provided all 44 articles online, with the top 3 coming from aggregators.

Number of articles and copyright fees per licensed full text source

Licensed Package Articles Copyright Fees
Elsevier ScienceDirect 1 $13.80
Emerald 1 $43.50
Wilson OmniFile FT Mega 1 $4.02
CSA SAGE 2 $157.20
Highwire Press 3 $120.60
ProQuest 3 $288.50
IEEE 4 $184.80
Newsbank 6 $505.20
InfoTrac OneFile 7 $1,387.62
EBSCOhost 8 $457.72
GaleGroup InfoTrac OneFile 8 $134.37

Many licenses now give universities the rights to include articles in printed or online coursepacks. I checked the Terms of Use or license for the full text sources for each article available from a licensed source. Of the 44 articles that come full text from licensed journal packages 22 come from packages that specifically allow use of articles in coursepacks. Because many licenses have confidentiality clauses, I cannot consistently report which licenses allowed coursepack use.

Number of articles and copyright fees from licensed sources

  Articles Fees
Licensed online articles 44 $3,297.33
Coursepacks allowed 22 $1,907.49


The amount required for coursepack copyright fees was surprisingly low for an academic year. I expect that the exact dollar amount will vary greatly for different universities, depending on their size, the prevalence of coursepack and article use, and their licensed content. In addition, I have no data about online coursepack, which are becoming prevalent. However, the data for printed coursepack shows that only 52% of the copyright costs for licensed articles were avoided because the license grants us the right to use the content for coursepacks. A university that makes heavy use of articles in coursepacks may save more than UCF by negotiating coursepack rights in their licenses.

Value of Coursepack Rights for UCF 2004/2005

Current value of licensed coursepack rights: $1,907
Potential value of coursepack rights: $3,297
Copyright fees paid because licenses disallowed coursepacks: $1,389
Copyright fees that can be avoided by using links: $5,357

Athena Hoeppner
University of Central Florida Libraries Orlando, FL