Blackwell Science has become the first publisher to sign a deal to provide university libraries with cheaper access to electronic journals.
The National Electronic Site Licence Initiative (Nesli) has been established by the funding councils' joint information systems committee and is managed by a consortium of Swets and Zeitlinger, a leading global subscription agent, and Manchester Computing, part of Manchester University.
Albert Prior, Swets manager of publisher relations, said publishers usually charged a site fee for electronic journals in addition to a national fee negotiated by the journals' distributing agent. For just the site fee, Blackwell is offering access to at least 130 journals.
Fred Friend, director of scholarly communications at University College London, said: "Nesli offers institutions the best chance of increasing the range of journals at no higher cost, and an efficient way of managing the transition from print to electronic journals."