News story

JISC's value to UK education and research: report published

Fri 2nd Feb, 2007

Value for money report reveals savings gained through the national provision of network, content and advisory services.

16th January, 2007. For every 1 spent on the JISC services budget, the UK education and research community receives 9 of demonstrable value. This is one of the findings of a newly-published value for money report commissioned by JISC to uncover some of the 'hidden' value of its activities in support of education and research.

Although many countries have centrally provided research and education networks, and some have provided supplementary services, no other country has a comparable single body providing an integrated range of network services, content services, advice, support and development programmes. This makes the calculation of value and comparison with other countries difficult. However, it is possible in some areas, such as network provision or e-resource provision, to compare an activity with other similar national and international activities, and in others to use a range of mechanisms to quantify value for money. The report has therefore used benchmarking techniques, cost comparisons, calculation of time and effort and other mechanisms to quantify JISC's value to the communities it serves.

The report comes up with some of its most impressive figures in the area of e-content provision. A sample analysis of some 22 resources which JISC provided through national agreement in the year 2004-05 reveals that the total savings to the education community through national agreements for these resources amounted to over 26m. With the annual costs for these resources less than 1m, such figures suggest that for every 1 spent on securing national agreements, the savings amounted to more than 26.

The report also analyses the time saved by the use of e-resources compared to the use of paper-based equivalents through interlibrary loans, institutionally held CD-ROMs, visits to libraries at alternative locations, etc, which all have time, cost and efficiency implications. These costs can be estimated through savings in staff time gained through the use of e-resources.

Using independent and publicly available figures, these access figures translate into efficiency savings for university staff active in teaching and research of nearly 156m in 2004-05. This suggests that the community is gaining some 1.4 million person/days by using e-resources rather than paper-based equivalents. Such a scenario suggests that for every 1 spent on e-resource provision, the return to the community in value of time saved in information gathering is at least 18.

The report also points to a number of examples of where the work of JISC advisory services translates directly into widespread savings. For example, TechDis provides advice and support to the education community in promoting equality of opportunity for students with disabilities or learning difficulties, running workshops and conferences, giving advice, making available tools, web resources, publications, software and much more. Comparisons, where possible, of these activities with those provided by the commercial sector, indicate that in 2004-05, for every 1 of funding received, TechDis saved the community at least 2.82.

Such figures are replicated across the many network and advisory services that JISC funds, says the report.

A summary of the value for money report is being sent out to all colleges and universities this week.

To read the full report, please go to: www.jisc.ac.uk/valueformoney

A separate study into the value of JISC's research and development activities is currently underway.

For further information, please contact: Philip Pothen on 07887 564 006 or p.pothen@jisc.ac.uk