Large-scale copyright review requires sustained funding over a long period of time, and your institution must be prepared to make a substantial financial commitment to this activity. Start-up costs for copyright review can be high, as they include legal research, developing review tools, building management infrastructure, and training reviewers. The core of CRMS’s success—over 450,000 volumes determined—was made possible by continued financial commitment beyond the start-up phase of the project.

While CRMS has been the beneficiary of generous and sustained funding, we would also like to note several elements specific to cost-share funding that your project team should consider when developing your project and considering its administration.

Cost-Share Reporting

Many grants require the applicant to provide matching funds for the grant activities. A 1:1 match is a typical arrangement. Cost-share occurs when this match is spread out across multiple institutions, through the commitment of personnel time or other financial contributions.

One significant administrative element of multi-institution cost-share collaboration is documentation. You must carefully document the cost-share of partner institutions, monitor their progress toward the cost-share commitment, and work with institutions if and when they are not meeting their cost-share obligations. Given the contractual nature of cost-share, it is very important that all partner institutions meet their commitments.

As the number of institutions formally committed to a project grows, the administrative workload for cost-share will also grow. While the payoff in multi-institution collaboration is worth the additional administrative workload, it is a substantial administrative workload, can be very time consuming, and must be considered as part of your project planning.

Challenges to Flexibility

The second significant issue to consider—also tied to cost-share—is that staff positions at institutions change over time, and the set financial commitment represented by a cost-share commitment can be a challenge to the flexibility of the project.

Although a cost-share commitment is represented as a percentage of staff time, individual compensation rates often differ. This can be a challenge to staffing when an employee earning a higher rate retires or is replaced by an employee earning a lower rate.

As an example, if University A has made a commitment of 25 percent of a given employee’s time to your project, and that commitment equates to a $15,000 per year cost-share commitment, what happens if that employee retires? University A is still committed to a $15,000 per year cost-share with the project. But if University A tries to substitute a graduate student working ten hours a week at $15 per hour, that substitution would only represent a $7,800 commitment per year. University A would need to make up the difference of $7,200 each year.

This issue requires a clear understanding of the metrics used to manage and document a project. It is advisable to consider this at an early stage of planning. Closely collaborating with supervisors, setting expectations, and giving frequent progress updates will help cost-share partners meet their commitments.

Institutional Funding

Long-term institutional funding of copyright review provides a number of advantages in terms of project strength and flexibility. The institution’s financial commitment creates a stable environment for project management, training, and maintenance. Flux in the project team will threaten the continuity and expertise of the project. A lengthy break in funding would demand a substantial investment of resources and time to restart the activity.

If systematic copyright review is to continue as a long-term priority for your institution, we believe the institution must eventually fund the work directly, rather than primarily relying on grant funding resources.