Reader Agreement for Universities 2017 through 2020

Reader Agreement for Universities 2017 through 2020

by | 19 Dec 2017

Easy Access regulations for citing copyright-protected material for teaching purposes 

The Dutch universities have reached a new agreement with the PRO Foundation regarding the reuse of teaching material subject to copyright protection. Through this
Easy Accessagreement, a larger portion of these extracts can be licensed at once, meaning institutions will need to request permission for extracts less frequently. This is intended to reduce the administrative burden; at the same time, the goal is also to gain additional insight into actual reuse in order to keep citation costs for the universities at a manageable level.

As a lecturer/course coordinator, you will often make use of copyrighted content in your teaching activities. If your faculty makes use of the Reference List, the UM Library arranges this for you. In other cases, you will supply the reader to your faculty yourself, in either paper or digital form. A large amount of content is posted directly to EleUM as well.

The latter is often done in PDF form, in what is known as an ‘extract’. In most cases, such extracts can be replaced by a link to the e-book or e-journal in the Online Library instead. The copyright for this kind of use is already covered by the licenses the UM Library has purchased from publishers.

Three types of extracts

The new agreement is an expansion of the previous arrangement that was in effect until 1 January 2017. This earlier agreement established that institutions of higher education are permitted to make use of a maximum of 50 pages or 25% of a work. Within this percentage, we make a distinction between ‘brief extracts’ and (this is new) ‘medium-length extracts’.

Any and all use within these categories has been paid for via a lump-sum arrangement; your faculty will not need to pay additional costs or arrange permission for this use. This applies to extracts in both paper and digital form. Each year, UM receives an invoice for this lump sum. The university then settles these costs with the individual faculties.

If you wish to reuse more than 25% of the total work, this falls into the category of ‘long extracts’. For these extracts, you must request permission from the PRO Foundation in advance. This is because long extracts are not covered by the lump sum payment. When you make use of a long extract, the PRO Foundation will invoice your faculty directly.

National agreements between universities

One component of this new Reader Agreement is the agreement that all Dutch universities will strive to reduce the total number of extracts by 5% each year. In order to achieve this, the VSNU recommends linking to a text you wish to cite rather than saving and offering it as PDF.

Call to reduce PDF use

As a lecturer / course coordinator, you will naturally decide for yourself which material to include in the course readers. However, you can help by greatly reducing the number of PDFs in EleUM, which will prevent your faculty from being billed for steep additional costs.

We depend on your cooperation in this matter. We ask that you explore the possibility of providing this teaching material via a link. E-books and e-journals are available to UM in the Online Library to an increasing extent. To create this kind of link, go to the search results in LibSearch. The UM Library will be happy to help you with this. Contact us via Ask your librarian.

If no link is available at this time, the Online Library might have an equally viable alternative on offer.

The UM Library can lighten your workload 

UM Library offers you the Reference List service. Course coordinators can store all literature related to a course there. Every course coordinator has access to this UM Library service in order to add the needed literature. Students can make use of it through EleUM.

If your faculty uses Reference List for your course, library staff will do the Copyright check for you. If UM has online access as part of a license agreement, the library replaces those PDFs by an online link to the website of the supplier. The copyright on the remaining PDFs will be checked.

Questions or advice? 

The new arrangement might raise some questions for course coordinators/lecturers like yourself. In that case, feel free to contact Reference List. We will be happy to offer you further assistance.

Related information


The new agreement distinguishes three types of extracts, on paper or in digital form, from copyrighted works for use in education

Brief extract

  • from a book: maximum of 10,000 words, no more than one third of the original publication [based on the number of pages]
  • from a journal: maximum of 8,000 words
  • from literary works: maximum of 100 lines of poetry or 2,500 words of prose, no more than one tenth of the complete original publication
  • sheet music: maximum of one verse and one refrain for a song; maximum of five staves for musical notes and symbols
  • images, graphs, tables, figures and similar: maximum of 25 from any single original publication/several publications by the same author
  • in cases involving a combination of text and images, each image will count as 200 words.

Medium-length extract 

  • an extract that does not qualify as brief
  • maximum of 50 pages in length
  • up to a maximum of 25% of the book or magazine
  • in cases involving a combination of text and images, each image will count as a half-page.

Long extract

  • any extract longer than 50 pages
  • and more than 25% of the work in question.

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