Experiences from Nicaragua

#inaspPrinciples 1 & 2: understanding country context and negotiating with consortium

Since publishing the INASP Principles for Responsible Engagement, many INASP partners have offered perspectives on the principles. Contributors will be kept anonymous.

“One of the characteristics that make the consortium in Nicaragua stand out is that it brings together all the university members of the National Council of Universities (CNU) and that the actions of the consortium are coordinated from this national body. This type of consortium is unique in Central America. Despite that fact that we are a small region, the legal and political contexts are different, although we do share the same objectives and problems associated with budgetary issues and the poor research culture in Central America.

“A relevant issue to highlight in terms of learning about our country is the necessity of mastering the language.  It is also important to establish contact and relationships with members of the consortium. These two steps should be permanent undertakings from publishers because building relationships with the consortium will lead to a better understanding of the market, and, for the consortium, it will give us the necessary information to achieve our objectives.

“In Nicaragua the institutional budget is a major weakness and threat for many.  When working as a consortium there are better opportunities for purchasing information resources; member institutions’ opportunities are equalized – those with higher budgets and those with more restricted budgets. It implies that everyone undertakes the same responsibilities in the achievement of the budget and policy advocacy, strengthening the universities, and, in the end, the country.

“It is possible to identify an ‘opportunistic agent’ and in the context of this market you know that it happens very often. When an agent negotiates with individual institutions the majority will not benefit from the subscription in question. This tells us that, in the majority of cases, negotiations should be done through the consortium […] to make sure that [any] institutions requiring the resource [fit] under the same framework: affordable prices and according to the realities of the country.”

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