PECAN - Pilot for Ensuring Continuity of Access via NESLi2

A central task for academic and research libraries is to have assurance of continuity of access to e-journal content: both long-term digital preservation and access to back content in the event of cancellation of subscription. PECAN is a JISC-funded project to investigate how best to support libraries and their patrons through access to e-journal content post-cancellation.

The PECAN project is continuing under two separate but parallel strands of activity. The JISC Collections activity is focused on data obtained from publishers and verification of the extent of entitlement and the rights granted between publishers and subscribing institutions. The EDINA activity is to implement a prototype of the registry software needed to store, manage and access the entitlement information.

About the Project

In order to assist UK HEI’s with the procurement of electronic scholarly material, the JISC and JISC Collections support a scheme called NESLi2. It is proposed that this framework could be extended to provide the basis for more robust post-cancellation access arrangements between publishers and consumers of e-journal material.

To improve provision of post-cancellation access, two new infrastructural facilities are envisaged: a registry of entitlement (which has reliable information on the journal content that has been subscribed by libraries via NESLi2) and a secure/virtual archive (providing secure and robust access to back journal content).

Project Objectives

  • To examine the complexities of defining institutional entitlement to post-cancellation access, and to scope the required policy and procedures needed to establish an accurate registry of subscription information.
  • To examine and propose governance arrangements for administering and monitoring post-cancellation access.
  • To examine and propose a candidate technical infrastructure that would provide controlled access to licensed material, in a robust and secure manner.
  • To consult with publishers and other stakeholders to establish whether the proposed measures could form part of the NESLi2 licensing deal, and to enlist their support in supplying subscription information and journal content for the purposes of post-cancellation access.

JISC Collections, Content Complete Ltd and EDINA are partners in this project.

Project Deliverables

Deliverables were assigned to the relevant project partner and involved:

  • A report that examines the issues of post-cancellation access for UK HEI’s, the complexities of keeping track of subscription statuses over long periods of time.
  • A report that proposes governance arrangements for establishing and operating the PECAN initiative.
  • A report and indicative demonstrator of a candidate technical infrastructure to underpin the PECAN initiative: a registry of entitlement and a secure archive.
  • A report that describes the response from a sample of six (6) NESLi2 libraries about the PECAN proposal, containing information on their subscription information for individual titles in libraries' core subscriptions and the titles they have access to in Big Deals
  • A report detailing the response from NESLi2 publishers with regards to the PECAN proposal and their compliance.

Update: These deliverables have been compiled into the PECAN Final Report

Project Team

Content Complete Ltd
Paul Harwood (
Albert Prior (

Peter Burnhill (
Adam Rusbridge (

JISC Collections
Liam Earney (
Lorraine Estelle (

PECAN Consultation Event

On Thursday 8th October JISC Collections, EDINA and Content Complete Ltd held a consultation event at the JISC offices in London with an invited list of stakeholders to review a variety of scenarios that could provide an effective mechanism for post-cancellation access to e-journals and agree the most practical and widely accepted.

The participants were made up of publishers and librarians who discussed the issues associated with post-cancellation access, an entitlement registry, technical infrastructures and potential governance. Below are three presentations from the project partners giving an introduction to the issues, feedback from publishers and libraries and an overview of the entitlement registry, information architecture and potential governance. Notes from the event will be posted soon.

About NESLi2

NESLi2 ( is the UK's national initiative for the licensing of electronic journals on behalf of the higher and further education and research communities, 2003-2010. NESLi2 is a product of the JISC and underwritten by the Higher Education Funding Council for England on behalf of the Funding Bodies.

Clause 8.5 explicitly specifies the principals of post cancellation access of licensed material, either by:

  • Continuing online access on the Publisher's interface
  • A central archiving facility operated on behalf of the UK HE/FE community or other archival facility
  • Supplying the Licensee with archival copies

About the Project Partners

JISC Collections (
JISC Collections mission is to support UK education and research by delivering affordable, relevant and sustainable online content.

Content Complete (
Content Complete is the official Negotiation Agent for the UK's electronic journals licensing initiative, NESLi2. Acting on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council, CCL is responsible for negotiating electronic journal agreements on behalf of the Further and Higher Education and Research Council communities in the United Kingdom.

EDINA is the JISC national academic data centre based at the University of Edinburgh. Its mission and purpose is to ‘enhance the productivity of research, learning and teaching’ across all universities, research institutes and colleges in the UK.

Related Activity

The purpose of the PEPRS project, jointly conducted by EDINA and the ISSN International Centre, Paris, is to scope, build and test a pilot for an E-journals Preservation Registry Service [PEPRS].

The overall aim is to provide librarians and policy makers with information on provision for continuing access all scholarly work published in e-journals. The project will pilot an online facility that would let a range of stakeholders check the archival provision for e-journals and to identify the gaps in such provision.



content complete

images © iStockphoto 2009