The how and why of evidence-based eBook purchasing

Get the details on evidence-based selection, including a case study from librarian Jiří Jirát, who shares results from adopting this strategy at UCT Prague in 2013.

As library budgets decrease and the amount of published research continues to grow, many libraries are turning to patron-driven business models in order to gain the most value for the money they have to spend. UCT Prague decided to adopt an evidence-based purchasing strategy that not only helped to
improve their researchers’ workflow but also substantially increased their eBook return on investment.

An Evidence-based success story

In 2013-2014 UCT began to review their purchasing strategy and chose ScienceDirect from Elsevier to expand their eBook collection. The library appreciated that Elsevier not only publishes key titles in their subject area but was also one of the first and only publishers at the time to provide evidence-based subscriptions (EBS) to their customers with no digital rights management (DRM) restrictions. Given the choice to open up all eBooks to their users or select three collections upfront, UCT decided to make the entire eBook collection on ScienceDirect, including the frontlist, available for a one-year period.

With a minimal initial payment, researchers and staff at UCT Prague were able to benefit from access to almost 10,000 of Elsevier’s more than 35,000 STM eBooks valued at close to €1.5 million. With fewer than 500 eBook chapter downloads in the November 2013 before implementing the Evidence-based Selection process, the number of downloads rose to 13,000 within just one year.

Download the case study to read their story

How to implement evidence-based eBook purchasing

With Evidence-based Selection for Books on ScienceDirect you can directly involve your users and align their interests with the eBook purchasing process without them having to change their behavior or make manual requests. You, the librarian, still retain the ultimate decision-making power for which titles are purchased in perpetuity based on analysis of usage statistics.

How does EBS work:

  • Evidence-based Selection lets you choose exactly which subject collections you want to "try-before-you-buy.”
  • Includes a year of access to your selected content for a minimal up-front fee.
  • At year’s end, choose content you wish to purchase based on detailed usage reports.

Contact your Elsevier representative


Contributed by:

Carol Roden

Carol Roden, Senior Channel Manager, ScienceDirect Books
STM Channel Marketer for ScienceDirect, covering library and information science issues, technology, best practices and trends.

Nancy Rubino

Nancy Rubino,  Marketing Manager, ScienceDirect Books
Customer engagement marketing at Elsevier for global web platform ScienceDirect, where we curate and disseminate science content from the world, for the world.