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Role of Co-Investment

As a co-library of the University of California, the California Digital Library participates with the ten UC campuses in co-investing in digital resources. The CDL and campuses follow broad principles in determining co-investment contributions:

  1. The CDL uses funds strategically to further the goal of creating a shared digital collection that is available to all UC faculty, students, and staff regardless of their campus affiliation. For an expensive digital resource with no print counterpart, the CDL negotiation and contribution enables the large campuses to participate to advantage over a single campus price and the small campuses to acquire unaffordable resources.
  2. Campus collection decisions are integral to all investments; there is no system-wide collection without co-investment. The CDL advisory structure assures that CDL funding is strategically aligned with campus priorities and sufficient in specific cases to reach the goal above. Co-investment models are devised by the campuses and are generally proportional to library materials budget size.
  3. The CDL uses its funds to facilitate implementation of campus collection decisions in the transition from print to digital collections. For example, the CDL funds the “electronic premium” when costs are based on campus library print investments. Universitywide licensing is our primary strategy for resource sharing of journals. This strategy has led to the addition of hundreds of titles for campuses with no analog print subscriptions.


Building the shared digital collection is far from straightforward. The marketplace presents myriad, complex, and evolving business models. There are probably no two journal publisher contracts that are the same. There are several with an electronic surcharge, funded by CDL, that require commitments to 90% of the print base over three years in exchange for price increase caps for two years. In other cases, the electronic fees are higher but all print can be cancelled. Many digital resources have no print analogs or represent extraordinary enhancements to print in functionality. They can represent substantial new costs for all. The marketplace is extremely fluid and the success of negotiations on business and other terms unpredictable so it is extremely difficult to do budgetary planning. Continuous evolution is the only certainty.

Future Challenges

  1. Devising co-investment models as pricing moves to electronic only.
  2. Addressing faculty expectations that digital resources are available system-wide that are not.
  3. Devising co-investment models to sustain the primary source collections.
  4. Providing an mechanism for Scholar-led innovations in scholarly communication.