IReL IT Mailing List

The mailing list is to facilitate discussion in relation to access procedures for IReL resources and other issues of relevance to librarians and administrators who work with e-resources. If you wish to join the list please enter your name and email address below.


If your query relates to matters specific to your own university then do not use this general form but send the query to the IReL rep. at your site:

Frequently Asked Questions

IReL FactSheet 2013


Q: What is IReL?
A: IReL, (the Irish Research eLibrary), is a government funded shared electronic research library.

Q: When was IReL established?
A: The first phase, focusing on resources in Science, Technology and Medicine (STM) commenced in 2004. The initiative expanded to include resources in Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) in 2006.

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Q: Who funds IReL?
A: Funding for IReL has come from the HEA (Higher Education Authority), SFI (Science Foundation Ireland), DJEI (Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation) and the IUA Council (Irish Universities Association).

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Q: How is IReL managed?
A: IReL operates within the structure of IRIS Electronic Information Services Ltd, a limited company with charity status that is wholly-owned by the seven Universities. The IUA Librarians' Group provides direction and oversight to a dedicated IRIS Team (of 2 FTE staff). In addition, an IReL Steering Group and a Monitoring Group, consisting of nominated representatives of each participating library, provide close supervision and monitoring, ensuring that value for money is being achieved in the case of every subscription, and the resources are being used and exploited fully.

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Comparison with other consortia

Q: How do IReL holdings compare with other consortia, and international university libraries?
IReL holdings compare favourably with other international consortia, and international university libraries. Please refer to the following list for a comparison of our holdings.

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Resources (selection & deselection)

Q: What resources are available under IReL?
A: IReL consists of a wide variety of resource types. The various resource types and the number of items included are listed below.

  • E-journals: 50 collections (from smaller society collections to Springer with circa 1,800 titles)
  • Databases: 26
  • E-books/Reference: 16 collections
  • Single journal titles: 4
  • The number of fulltext Journals totals c.25,000

Q: How are resources selected for inclusion?
A: Resources are selected for inclusion following consultation with researchers and academic staff at participating institutions.

Q: I am a researcher, how can I recommend a resource for inclusion under IReL?
A: Requests for new resources should be directed to staff at your institution's library.

Q: I am a publisher, and would like to recommend a resource to be added to IReL. How can I go about this?
A: Publishers should contact library staff at individual institutions with information on new products and resources.

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Q: How are decisions made on which IReL subscriptions to maintain?
A: The following criteria are applied when considering resources for renewal:

  • Value for money: based on the cost per download/search, calculated using the overall annual resource fee and the annual usage figures.
  • Usage: whether usage has increased or decreased year on year (based on examination of the most recent data)
  • Discipline of resource: to ensure that no single discipline is unduly disadvantaged by a decision to cancel a subscription.

Q: I am a researcher at one of the participating institutions and I cannot find a journal I used to use regularly. Why is this?
A: For queries regarding access to specific journals or database, you should contact library staff at your institution's library.

Q: I was interested to see what HSS and STM resources you have. However, some resources seem to appear on both lists. Why?
A: Some resources cover topics from both fields, and thus are listed under both headings.

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Q: Who can access IReL resources?
A: Staff and students of the seven participating universities. RCSI staff and students have access to a selected number of resources and should consult the RCSI library website for more information. Staff and students of the Institutes of Technology have access to Ebsco's Academic Search Premier and Business Source Premier.

Q: I am a librarian at an Irish institution, and wish to enquire about joining the consortium. How much would it cost?
A: Decisions on inclusion in IReL are made by the funding agencies, and currently IReL is a closed consortium. To register your interest, please complete the contact form on the IReL website.

Q: I am a student of an Irish educational institution, and would like to access some of the resources listed on the IReL website. Can I get login details?
A: Currently only staff and students of the seven universities, and for a limited number of resources, RCSI, can access IReL resources. Staff and students of the Institutes of Technology can access Ebsco's Academic Source Premier and Business Source Premier. Contact staff at your institution's library for information on how to access resources.

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Q: My library participates in IReL but I'm having difficulty accessing an IReL resource. Can you help me?
A: Access to IReL resources is managed by your institution's library so you should contact them for assistance.

Q: Not all the resources I use are listed on the IReL website. Why is this?
A: If your Library is part of the IReL consortium, you will have combined access to two distinct collections: IReL resources, and resources independently selected and funded by your library. You can access both seamlessly via your library's website.

Q: My Library participates in IReL. Can I access the resources via the links included under the resource profiles on the IReL website?
A: It is recommended that IReL resources are accessed via your institution's library website.

Q: I want to access a journal article published in 1975, but the publisher site is prompting me to login. Why is it not possible for me to access the full text of this article?
A: IReL provides access to e-journals published over the past 10-15 years, depending on the publisher (commonly referred to as 'the current file'). Access to articles published earlier ('back files') is usually only available from the following IReL publishers: American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, Institute of Physics and JSTOR. Please refer to your institution's library website and catalogue for information on the journal publication years accessible.

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Q: Do the list of journals under each resource on the IReL website include all journals published by the publisher or only those covered by the IReL licence?
A: Only those journals covered by the IReL licence are listed on the IReL website resource profiles.

Q: Do we continue to have access to the subscribed content once a resource has been cancelled?

A: It depends on the publisher's policy and type of deal signed. In the best case scenario, the publisher will provide 'post cancellation access' to all subscribed content. However, some publishers (particularly ‘Big Deal' publishers, e.g. Wiley, Elsevier) will only provide institutional ‘post cancellation access' to those core titles subscribed to historically by institutions. Aggregators (e.g. EBSCO: Academic Search Complete, Business Source Complete) do not provide ‘post cancellation access'. The resource licence agreement needs to be referred to in each case.

Q: If a journal title transfers from publisher A to publisher B, will it continue to be accessible?
A: Every effort is made to ensure access continues to be available. However, it is not always possible to access the title with publisher B, due to financial or administrative considerations.

Q: How are terms and conditions agreed for IReL resources?
A: Use of IReL resources is governed by a licence agreement. A ‘model licence' has been developed and is continually revised to meet changing needs. Publishers and providers are requested, during negotiations, to use this licence.

Q: Do publishers comply with the IReL ‘model licence'?
A: About 50% of publishers comply with the IReL model licence. Most publishers require some changes to the model licence.

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An initiative of the IUA Librarians

Dublin City University

The availability of the online IReL system which allows researchers to access a wide variety of scientific journals online has been a tremendous help and time saver for researchers at all levels.
Professor Martin Clynes, Dublin City University

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