Skip to main content

SERU for Publishers

Why SERU for publishers?

Publishers wishing to streamline the process by which they sell their online content should consider the Shared Electronic Resources Understanding (SERU) as a replacement for licenses with libraries and library consortia. Now that e-journals, eBooks and online databases have become more widely used, the practical expectations surrounding their use have become more commonly understood. These expectations are stated in the SERU document. If both publisher and library are registered on the NISO/SERU website, they can proceed with the sale of online content using a purchase order and invoice. SERU use is completely voluntary and should be used only when mutually agreeable.

SERU Registration Task List

  • Read the (short) SERU document
  • Share the SERU document with key stakeholders within your operation, including your legal counsel, as SERU defers to US copyright law as the backstop for any legal actions.
  • Take a look at the SERU registry page to see which publishers and libraries are participating. If your clients, or prospective clients, are listed, then SERU could dramatically shorten your sales process.
  • Persons responsible for all client-facing activities (sales, marketing, customer service) should be briefed about SERU and how it will be used by your organization.
  • Examine the SERU registry and create a short statement. If you will be using SERU only for some products and not others, state that clearly: registering with SERU simply means you are willing to use it for content sales when it suits both you and your client.
  • It is not required that you be a NISO member to use SERU.
  • Assign a lead contact for SERU, and register him/her with SERU. This person should be ready to answer questions about your company’s use of SERU.

The SERU registry page includes additional information to assist you.

Using SERU

  • Alert the sales and customer service teams -- let them know they are now free to offer SERU as an alternative to a license for clients.
  • Insert the SERU logo on your corporate web site (especially on any client-facing pages) to let clients know you support the use of this purchasing tool.
  • Get clients registered. Be prepared to refer clients to the NISO SERU website if they are unfamiliar with it.
  • Once the client’s registration is complete, confer with them on what they will put on their purchase order (product name, period of access, description of purchased content, and any other business terms on which you both agree). It’s also useful to note on the PO that “In the absence of a separate license agreement, both parties follow the SERU guidelines, as published at the NISO SERU website (”
  • Generate your invoice. It’s recommended that the invoice includes SERU statement quoted immediately above.

In Summary

SERU is a recommended practice of the National Information Standards Organization. It has been crafted by librarians and publishers for use in the United States, but has possible applications for sales in other countries as well. SERU has been used successfully by publishers of all sizes since 2007. Comments or questions addressed to the SERU Standing Committee are welcome.