Tips on Navigating Vendor Relationships for BUMC

Communicating and negotiating with scholarly resources publishers/vendors can have a significant impact on teaching, learning and research at BUMC in terms of providing access to quality scholarly resources service to our users by Alumni Medical Library and BUMC IT – Ed Tech and ensuring effective use of their resources. As such, it is important to keep a constant communication channel with publishers/vendors as well as maintaining consistent strategies for negotiations. It helps AML and Ed Tech to make good decisions in ordering and adopting sound strategies for negotiations. Therefore, it is important to consolidate communications and negotiations with publishers/vendors to AML and Ed Tech. 

There are also further advantages for consolidation as follows. 

  1. If there are several vendors that provide the same resource, AML and EdTech staff can choose a publisher/vendor with better pricing, license terms and user interface.
  2. AML and Ed Tech are members of several library and IT consortiums and can find a better deal if the resource is offered through a consortium. Consortium deals usually provide much better pricing and better license terms due to the power of group negotiations.
  3. Both AML and EdTech staff have expertise in negotiating better pricing and licensing terms as well as in identifying potential deal-breakers.
  4. AML staff can use several options in negotiating the price down. It could be using a consortium deal, making multi-year contract, or splitting the payment with other BU libraries. AML may engage BU Sourcing and Procurement as needed to leverage their expertise in negotiating a better contract. It is always required to engage BU Sourcing and Procurement at both IT or department levels for EdTech or IT-related licensing. 
  5. AML and EdTech staff can often identify potential problems with publishers/vendors. It includes privacy concerns, problematic license terms, or steep pricing. For example, due to privacy concerns, it is prudent to stay away from authentication methods that require creating an individual account on a vendor platform.
  6. Keeping leverage is important when negotiating with vendors. However, if there are multiple communication channels, we could give away some leverages and show our cards too early to publishers/vendors. It also makes it much harder for AML and EdTech to make and keep consistent negotiation strategies.
  7. AML and EdTech staff can identify overlaps and similarities between different publisher/vendor resources so they can ensure effective use of their financial resources.

The AML and Ed Tech teams are here to work with faculty/curricular teams to minimize stress and frustration of this part of the vendor relationship. Contact us today and help us help you! 

If you need to contact us for questions or feedback, please contact us at: 

For scholarly resources (such as books, journals, or databases) or library services contact 

The Library is funded fully by the schools and typically pays for university-wide access.  

For software, courseware, or tech support contact to make a help ticket.  For inquiry only, contact 

EdTech typically works with the requesting department to select and negotiate with vendors, but the requesting department funds the license/purchase. EdTech and IT may be able to drive highly discounted pilots for small groups.