The first phase of the 2015-2018 NHS national content procurement has completed. This is a pretty big deal both in terms of the sums involved (in NHS library terms), the duration and the scope of resources involved.
Given the tight, and tightening, budget situation in the public sector it is not a great suprise that some tough decisions are having to be made.
There are three main points likely to be stressing people out in the current announcement.
1. No CINAHL (with or without fulltext) – this is an important database for lots of searches / professions. Medline coverage has improved in some of the areas it covers and BNI access continues but it has generally been regarded as one of the basics. Hopefully this can come through in the second phase of procurement. It will be interesting to consider what happens if it does not with variation in access from Trust to Trust likely to be the result. After EBSCO stopped CINAHL being available on other platforms you have to wonder what they offered by way of pricing. If libraries end up buying CINAHL individually will it still be possible to search it via HDAS?
2. Medline moves to Proquest. This is a big surprise as Medline is normally an inexpensive resource on Ovid and other databases have been retained through this supplier. Given there will still be a contract with Wolters Kluwer you would hope they would find a way to chuck it in for the NHS. I have not tried to do much in the way of systematic searching via Proquest but it is not a prospect that fills me with excitement. Time to start polishing those PubMed skills perhaps. Proquest via OpenAthens also does not play nicely on machines that are IP authenticating other Proquest resources so there may be a problem anywhere this is the case.
3. No BMJ journal titles. This is the end of a long standing deal. Generally the NHS gets charged high prices for low usage by most publishers. The cost per use would be interesting for the past contract.
There is a strand of concern about how quickly the changes to the suppliers of databases can be robustly implemented on HDAS. I am less concerned about this – all of the suppliers are currently already working through HDAS so we have less change than when we transitioned away from DIALOG. Probably a bit brave given the regular HDAS wobbles but I think it should be alright.
We are obviously only part way through the procurement so it will be interesting to see what things look like by the end of the month. All support to the negotiators doing a tricky job. I hope suppliers take the time to consider their customers when pricing things up.