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What are Chest Agreements?

A Chest Agreement is a contract that guarantees licence pricing and terms and conditions for valuable software and online resources, negotiated on behalf of education and research communities in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Features of a typical Chest Agreement

Preferential terms and conditions
  • Standard licence
  • Based on UK Law
  • Consistent and easy to understand language

Guaranteed pricing 
  • Transparent, fixed, banded 
  • Usually over 3-year term
  • Opt-out options or one year licences are common

  • Between the institution and the vendor or service provider   
  • Site licences cover use by all staff and students   
  • Use for administration and management allowed


In 1988 the first CHEST Agreement for engineering software was an immediate success with 98 universities benefitting from the cost savings and the favourable licence terms. Other vendors soon came to realise the advantages of our collaborative approach, and a permanent team, with licence knowledge and negotiation skills, was formed at the University of Bath to secure more deals. By the end of the decade Further Education Colleges were taking part and soon after online resources were added to the portfolio. Eduserv, the parent company of Chest, founded in 1999, was merged with Jisc in 2019. The Chest Team continue to negotiate Chest Agreements based on the original values.

In 2017/18 Chest Agreements saved the academic community an estimated £78 million in licence fees and efficiency savings. There are over 80 Chest Agreements from around 50 vendors. Around 740 universities, colleges and associated organisations benefit currently. Chest offers:

  • A dedicated Help Desk to answer all your licensing queries.
  • Bespoke eNewsletters the Online Resource and Software Messengers.

What kind of resources do Chest Agreements cover?

Online Resource Agreements

Include all types of digital resources: from eJournals, eBooks, backfiles, databases, reference materials, standards, to videos… and more.

Software Agreements

Cover products widely used in teaching and research. As well as generalist products from Microsoft and Adobe they include subject specific products in GIS, statistics and maths, qualitative data analysis, mind mapping and others.

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