In a landscape where some publishers are already simply forenomy of licensing their distribution practices, SERU can be used to improve transactions that are not contractual. Clarifying common behaviours and common areas of expectation reduces the pressure on licensing contract development. Licensing agreements inevitably colour the relationship between publishers and librarians. The ongoing negotiation of each transaction generates a perception of persistent conflicts, even if there are no cases requiring the application of the licensing conditions. Seru (Shared Electronic Resource Understanding) is a recommended NISO practice that is designed as a “mechanism that can be used as an alternative to a licensing agreement. The SERU statement expresses a general understanding of the content provider, the subscriber institution and authorized users; The type of content The use of materials and the improper use; Privacy and confidentiality Online delivery and service delivery Archive and permanent access. The SERU document also contains an introduction and transposition guidelines. Although the development process has resulted in substantial feedback from different interest groups, the absence of differences of opinion with the fundamental categories indicates that they are really the main areas of general consensus between publishers and librarians. Not surprisingly, these areas have often been discussed by a large number of library organizations and publishers in statements on licensing principles and standard licensing agreements. Licensing negotiations require significant resources for licensing management, and an agreement cannot be reached without a longer delay, delaying publishers` payment and access to libraries.
Where agreements are limited to a limited number of expensive information products, resources and process delays may be acceptable conditions for the business. However, scientific publishing has always involved a large number of small businesses and research libraries must at least acquire publications from publishers of all sizes and shapes. For many electronic resource transactions, the cost of negotiating the licensing agreement can be reasonably close to the cost of producing content. For libraries facing hundreds or even thousands of transactions per year, the resources needed to manage contract negotiations for each transaction significantly undermine the resources available to purchase content.