NB135-20-00978 – Sources Sought – Seeking Sources for Subscription Management Services

Aug 29, 2020 | Sources Sought

 Serials Subscription Service

  1. Background

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Research Library is seeking sources to provide comprehensive serials services for print and electronic periodicals, continuations, publishers’ series, online databases, and other electronic resources, and continuing titles (hereafter referred to as serials).

  1. Purpose/Objective

The purpose of the procurement is to obtain a Contractor to acquire and manage the NIST Research Library’s journal collection, both in print and electronic format including electronic journal management services. Services include, but are not limited to, set-up, access maintenance, registration/activation, license agreement issues and related reports to enable effective management of the NIST Research Library’s collection and include reports for collection development and management at the NIST Research Library’s locations on the Gaithersburg, Maryland and Boulder, Colorado campuses.

Number of Researchers (Users):  2,100

Number of Full Time Equivalents (FTE):  3,300

  1. Contractor Requirements
    1. Customer Service
      1. The Contractor shall assign a specific, in-house account representative to act as the main contact for handling issues involving access, orders, cancellations, claims, requests for reports, invoicing, questions, etc. The in-house representative shall respond to all inquiries within one (1) business day, by e-mail is preferred.
      1. The in-house account representative shall be knowledgeable of the serials industry and have a minimum of three (3) years of experience providing serials subscription services to a federal library, for both print and electronic journals from domestic and foreign publishers.
      1. The Contractor shall maintain accurate and current records of the NIST Research Library’s active orders in the Contractor’s online subscription management database system.
      1. The Contractor will provide on demand, at least three (3) years of historical serials subscription data to the NIST Research Library when requested to include past invoices, subscriptions, payment history, etc.
      1. The Contractor shall handle correspondence with publishers regarding duplication, cancellations, claims, address changes, adjustments, and other service communications such as title migrations and publisher changes.
      1. The Contractor will provide an in-house Customer Relations Manager who shall visit the NIST Research Library, upon request and at intervals agreeable to both parties, to discuss service to the NIST Research Library’s account and other serials management issues. When in-person meetings are not feasible due to the NIST campus and visitor access status, the meetings shall take place through a NIST-approved online software collaboration tool.
      1. The Contractor’s in-house Customer Relations Manager is a professional librarian who will provide onsite and/or virtual training on the Contractor’s web interface and provide knowledge and training on specific enhancements to the Contractor’s portfolio of products and services.
    1. Orders
      1. For new orders in an online format, Contractor will acknowledge new orders within two (2) business days and access permissions to the title shall be delivered to the NIST Research Library within ten (10) business days of the order submission to the publisher.
      1. For new orders in print format, the first issue of a new order should be delivered to the NIST Research Library within eight (8) weeks for North American publishers and ten (10) weeks for other publishers, or when the NIST Research Library has designated that the next volume should begin.
      1. The Contractor shall be able to prepay for subscriptions not within the task order’s calendar year (should a multiyear contract option be selected). The contractor must have a demonstrated financial capability to prepay serial subscriptions.
      1. The Contractor shall serve as a fiscal agent with publishers, including prepayments, processing refunds, claims, site licenses, supplemental and bill-later charges immediately upon receipt of task order and serve as the fiscal pass-through agent for consortium deals.
      1. The Contractor shall provide, in the form of an attachment with the invoice, the required information listed on the Government-provided Excel spreadsheet template.
      1. The Contractor shall have the capability to ingest/upload the NIST Research Library’s most recent three (3) year historical subscription data into the Contractor’s subscription management system within thirty (30) days of receipt of the Government-furnished report (GFR). The historical data contains subscription information about the NIST Research Library-owned serials, i.e., publisher, title name, ISSN, electronic ISSN, format, term, subscription date, etc. The GFR will be provided in an Excel spreadsheet format.
      1. The NIST Research Library’s most recent 3-year historical data from the Government-furnished report (GFR) will be available through the Contractor’s subscription management system and made accessible to the NIST Research Library through this system.
      1. The Contractor must be able to manage the NIST Research Library’s negotiated package subscriptions and work with publishers within guidelines set by the NIST Research Library and the publisher. For publishers with whom the NIST Research Library has negotiated prior pricing, the Contractor will assist in fulfillment of the order and act as the liaison between the NIST Research Library and the publisher to ensure that packages and any changes within those packages are transitioned smoothly from year to year, without access interruption.
      1. The Contractor shall place orders (i.e. contact the publisher and renew subscriptions for the titles displayed in the attached Title List) with publishers within (15) fifteen business days post task order award.
      1. The Contractor shall provide the NIST Research Library’s Internet Protocol (IP) address ranges to publishers to enable access to their e-journals and e-resources.  The Contractor shall contact the publisher immediately with any access issues and shall ensure that the access issues are resolved within one (1) business day.
      1. The Contractor shall order subscriptions in formats requested by the NIST Research Library and deliver titles in accordance with the subscription periods defined in the attached Title List. 
      1. For new orders in an online format, the Contractor will acknowledge new orders within two (2) business days and access permissions to the title shall be delivered to the NIST Research Library within ten (10) business days of the order submission to the publisher.
      1. The Contractor shall process orders for hard copy titles, both foreign and domestic, within seventy-two (72) hours of receipt. The Contractor shall work with the publisher(s) in facilitating the delivery of domestic print subscriptions within fifteen (15) business days of order placement; foreign print subscriptions shall be delivered within thirty (30) business days of order placement.
      1. New orders and payments to publishers shall be released to publishers within ten (10) business days of receipt of a new order.
      1. Renewal orders and payments to publishers shall be released to publishers sixty (60) days prior to the expiration date of renewed subscriptions. 
      1. The Contractor shall transfer renewals (including all electronic legacy back years) without gaps, delays or errors in receipt of issues at no cost to the government within fifteen (15) business days post task order award.  The Contractor shall provide access to the NIST Research Library’s current subscription data within fifteen (15) business days after task order award.   
      1. The Contractor shall accept new orders from the NIST Research Library at any time during the year, and these orders shall be merged into the next main renewal invoice.
      1. The Contractor shall regularly notify the NIST Research Library of the availability of supplementary materials related to subscriptions, i.e. supplements and special issues not included in the main subscription.
      1. The Contractor shall provide special and priority handling of rush orders.
      1. If part of the paid subscription, all indexes, supplementary numbers, and added volumes shall be serviced automatically as part of the subscription. The Contractor should notify the NIST Research Library of supplementary items not included as part of the subscription and indicate handling procedures for the same.
      1. If unable to supply a title, the Contractor shall notify the NIST Research Library within thirty (30) days for North American publishers and forty-five (45) days for other publishers.
      1. Order substitutions or additions of titles shall not be permitted unless expressly authorized by the NIST Research Library on a title-by-title basis.
      1. The Contractor shall alert the NIST Research Library of the presence of any license agreements before placing the order with the publisher and provide a copy of the license to the NIST Research Library within fourteen (14) days prior to placing the order.
      1. The Contractor shall alert the NIST Research Library to the possibility of online availability, any changes in the current online availability, and changes made to pricing models.
      1. The Contractor shall maintain up to three (3) years of complete records of all financial transactions processed.
    1. Invoicing
      1. Order invoices shall be accurate and clear with publisher information, subscription information (pricing, package information as applicable, and format).  Invoices should include the Order number and contract number.
      1. The following information shall appear on each invoice:
  1. The date the invoice is generated
  2. Name, address, and telephone number of the Contractor
  3. NIST Research Library bill-to address
  4. NIST Research Library ship-to address
  5. NIST Research Library account number assigned by the Contractor
  6. NIST Research Library purchase order number
  7. Title (including a breakdown of titles which are parts of memberships, combinations, or series)
  8. Publisher name, address and telephone number
  9. Frequency of the published title
  10. Number of copies being ordered for each subscription
  11. ISSN / ISBN
  12. Period covered (Inclusive dates)
  13. Volume number (beginning a new title)
  14. Price
  15. Service charge, if any
  16. Shipping and handling fees
  17. Summary page detailing total prices, total additional charges (if any) and net total
  18. Format
  19. Payment due date
      1. Order invoices shall be accurate and clear with publisher information, subscription information (pricing, package information if applicable, and format).  Invoices should include the Order number and contract number.
      1. The Contractor shall provide invoices for the NIST Research Library campuses (Gaithersburg, MD and Boulder, CO) when necessary.
      1. The Contractor shall provide invoices in an Excel spreadsheet format; alternatively, the Contractor may submit an invoice in PDF format along with the Excel spreadsheet.

    1. Subscription Renewals
      1. The Contractor shall notify the NIST Research Library of excess price increases from the base price on the last renewal invoice before the order is placed with the publisher at benchmarks set by the NIST Research Library (e.g. over $500 or 100% price increases).
      1. The Contractor shall supply a list of all subscribed titles for renewal to include order number, renewal date, the NIST Research Library’s purchase order number, title format, and estimated price. Contractor shall provide the renewal list in the format(s) designated by the NIST Research Library, (e.g. printed, PDF, spreadsheet, etc.).
      1. The NIST Research Library reserves the right to not renew orders. The NIST Research Library may indicate by lining off the annual renewal notice, selecting ‘No’ in the Contractor’s online renewal module, or contacting the Contractor’s representative in order to prevent renewal for the subsequent periods.
      1. On the renewal list, the Contractor shall alert the NIST Research Library to any changes in a title’s format that may impact availability.

    1. Claims
      1. The Contractor shall provide a flexible, fast, and effective online claims service with reporting and reclaiming assistance features, including bibliographic and financial information. The NIST Research Library may claim missing issues through the Contractor or directly from the publisher.
      1. The Contractor will offer an online claiming system that tracks the status in real time of current and outstanding claims.  The system will have the ability to display the claim history of a title, search for claims and produce claim reports.
      1. The Contractor shall submit claims to the publishers within twenty-four (24) hours of receipt. Domestic claims should be resolved within seven (7) business days and foreign claims should be resolved within thirty (30) business days.
      1. The Contractor shall notify the NIST Research Library of the status of all outstanding claims via a monthly report. The Contractor’s representative shall also respond to individual requests for claims status.
      1. The Contractor will provide a copy bank or repository that offers replacement issues, is updated in real time, and offers replacement issues at no cost to the NIST Research Library.
      1. On claims for missing issues submitted by the NIST Research Library within the publisher’s specified time period, the Contractor shall secure replacements free of charge or provide a credit to cover the cost of purchasing the missing issues.

    1. Cancellations
      1. The Contractor shall cancel individual titles at any time during the subscription year when notified by the NIST Research Library.
      1. The effective date of cancellation will be determined by the NIST Research Library, except in the case of publishers’ restrictions.
      1. The Contractor shall acknowledge receipt of the NIST Research Library’s cancellation notice in electronic format through e-mail, letter, or regular report, delivered in electronic format. Cancelled titles shall be deleted from further renewal lists and invoices.
      1. The Contractor shall request refunds of any unexpired portions of orders. Refund credits for the full amounts refunded by the publishers shall be refunded to the NIST Research Library.
      1. The NIST Research Library reserves the right to cancel any renewal that has increased from the base price on the last renewal invoice over the benchmark established by the NIST Research Library (e.g. over $500 or 100% price increase) even if not advised of price increase before the renewal is placed with the publisher.
    1. Contractor’s Serials Management System
      1. The Contractor must provide an online serials management system (System) for maintaining serials subscriptions functions including ordering, claiming, invoicing, tracking of financial information, title/subscription verification, usage information and reporting capabilities.
      1. Contractor shall maintain at least three (3) years of the NIST Research Library subscription data.  If data is not in the System, then the Contractor must have the ability to load/ingest the NIST Research Library’s historical subscription data into their system.
      1. The Contractor must provide a System that provides extensive tools to manage the NIST Research Library’s collection as well as provide current and accurate information regarding journals such as publisher information, title changes, journal package information, frequency, format, country, ISSN, status, open access, claims, Library of Congress (LC) subject classifications, etc.
      1. The Contractor must provide a System that includes tutorials for self-instruction for NIST Research Library staff on various reports and other features used in serials management.
      1. The Contractor shall provide the NIST Research Library with the administrative and technical support to perform online subscription management operations including, but not limited to, direct transmission of online orders, electronic claiming, and report generation.
      1. The Contractor shall provide the NIST Research Library with the ability to search the System to determine availability, price, and other variables prior to placement of an order. The Contractor should provide training on how to use the System at no additional charge to the NIST Research Library.
      1. The System must provide a platform to track and submit questions about the status of billing and invoices and general subscription questions in real-time. The system will allow for direct communication to the in-house customer service representative. 
      1. The System must provide a complete history of a subscribed journal title that includes format changes and order history so that the NIST Research Library will be able to track perpetual access at the package and title level.
      1. The System must contain a comprehensive journal title database with ability to order publisher titles worldwide, including specialized titles.  The System must provide a database that can be used as a point of reference for serial titles.  This database should include all types of formats available, current foreign and domestic pricing, as well as other subscription information that can be used for ordering and collection decisions.
      1. The System will provide:
  1. Alerts that contain updates and changes with serials such as publisher takeovers, title changes, platform migrations, partnerships, and open access alerts, as well as new enhancements to the System.
  2. An interface that is intuitive and easy to navigate between content.
  3. Accurate and reliable information on pricing and format options, bibliographic information for titles such as ISSN, frequency, publisher, language, and format.
  4. Access to the NIST Research Library’s order history (3 years) including format changes so that perpetual access information can be tracked.
  5. Ability to denote if a title is a current subscription or past subscription and link to the history of that title.
  6. Ability to review online orders and activation status.
  7. Publisher’s registration and identification number.
  8. Links to the URL for online access.
  9. Online title registration information for third party platforms
  10. Provide an online interface to track claims and provide the entire claim history including claim status, claim activity, and comments from the Contractor.
  11. Provide an online interface that provides the capability for NIST Research Library staff to add note fields and interface directly with the Contractor’s customer service representative for resolution of issues.
  12. Ability to view publishers’ access terms and authentication options, URLs and instructions for registering and activating online orders.
  13. Provide tools to register, activate, manage and renew library e-journals and e-packages.
  14. Provide viewable terms and conditions in publisher license agreements.
  15. Provide information on permanent archival access, perpetual rights information, and coverage data for all titles regardless of source.
  16. Provide real-time, vendor-maintained title list of the NIST Research Library’s historical and current subscriptions with links to invoices.
  17. Provide titles, format options and coverage information for package collections.
  18. Provide NIST Research Library users with alerts/automatic notifications to the latest changes in journals, including publisher changes, title changes, platform migrations, partnerships, and open access alerts.
  19. Ability to control NIST Research Library staff access to the web interface by setting permission levels.
  20. Provide the ability to renew packages including viewing contract terms, title lists, format information, pricing by package and by title, manage consortia agreements and title lists.
    1. Reports
      1. The Contractor shall provide a web-based reporting interface that provides daily, on-demand reports for the purpose of evaluating the NIST Research Library’s collection. Reports should be comprehensive to aid in the analysis in the areas of collection development, serials management and analyzing expenditures (financial). This interface shall have the capabilities to view and print on demand and provide instruction (both written and video) on how to use various reports.  Reports should be easily customizable by NIST Research Library staff.
      1. The Contractor shall provide at-a-glance, analytic information and collection statistics about the NIST Research Library’s collection and can display information in the form of visual graphics and charts.
      1. The Contractor must provide custom requested fiscal and collection management reports in a timely manner within five (5) business days as requested by the NIST Research Library. Reports should be provided in spreadsheet format.
      1. Reports that must be readily available through the contractor’s System will be in the following areas:
        1. Collection Development:
  1. Collection assessment
  2. Abstract and Indexing
  3. E-Journal package changes
  4. Library of Congress Classification
  5. Journal package changes
  6. Online availability
  7. Ownership and access
  8. Publisher packages
  9. Subscription Data File
  10. Survey for customer titles
        1. Serials Management:
  1. Claims
  2. Processed claims
  3. Combination memberships
  4. Current subscriptions
  5. E-journal access and registration
  6. Licensing details
  7. Titles with claiming restrictions
  8. Summary of publishers by country/language
  9. Summary of publications
  10. List of membership titles
  11. Standing orders, bill later summary
  12. Subscriber list
  13. Summary of invoices
  14. Summary of new titles ordered
        1. Financial Reports:
  1. 3-year analysis by title
  2. Historical price analysis
      1. The Contractor must provide a monthly, customized report based on the NIST Research Library’s subscriptions that includes updates to serials changes in the publishing landscape: 
  1. Delivery Issues/Problems
  2. Frequency Changes
  3. Discontinued Titles
  4. Suspended Titles
  5. Split Titles
  6. Merged Titles (into/incorporated)
  7. Name/Title Changes
  8. Resumed Publication
  9. Miscellaneous Information
  10. New Titles
  11. Additional Volumes
  12. Title Number Changes
      1. Report output shall provide results in various file formats (XML, HTML, text, tab delimited, CSV)

    1. Pricing

The NIST Research Library reserves the right to obtain supporting documentation on pricing from the Contractor at any time during the contract period.

    1. Shipments
      1. Delivery of all materials shall be made FOB destination inside the NIST Research Library’s campus premises (Gaithersburg and Boulder) as specified by the NIST Research Library.
      1. The NIST Research Library shall not be held responsible for shipments lost in transit or otherwise not received. The Contractor shall provide replacement copies at no charge for the defective, mutilated, or damaged issues, or for those that are not delivered within publisher policies.
    1. Other
      1. Upon request, the Contractor should provide the NIST Research Library with trial access to future serials management services, modules, and other peripheral services as they are developed.
  1. Government Responsibilities
    1. The Government will provide:
      1. NIST IP addresses
      2. List of NIST Research Library subscriptions for renewals and legacy titles with applicable date ranges for the past three (3) years.
      3. Excel spreadsheet template for Contractor’s use to provide the following information as an attachment to the Contractor’s invoice: Title, Publisher, ISSN Number, Format (Print, Online), Cost, Subscription Range
      4. Report in an Excel spreadsheet format with historical subscription information
      5. Any pricing received from publishers regarding packages
  1. Period of Performance

Calendar Year 2021 January through December (CY2021)

  1. Program Management and Control Requirements

The Contractor shall provide uninterrupted access to the periodicals listed by the Government, in all formats ordered, commencing on January 1, 2021. 

  1. Inspection and Acceptance Criteria
    1. Contractor’s web portal shall include a reporting feature that displays all active print and on-line subscriptions.  The NIST Research Library will review this report on a monthly basis to confirm that all print copy journals are being delivered on-time and that all e-journal titles are accessible.
    1. The NIST COR will notify the Contractor by e-mail if access problems to any subscribed e-journal title is encountered or if any subscribed print journal is not delivered.
  1. Attachments

CY2021 Title List of the NIST Research Library Subscriptions and Current Legacy Titles for continued access.

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