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Re: Confidentiality clause is back in at Nature


At the risk of wearing out everyone's patience, I assure you that I hear your point, but you are not hearing mine. You are saying that you don't want to be constrained from talking with other people about what you paid. And I am saying, Be careful what you wish for. My point is that transparency will not save you any money. The ONLY way to save money is to negotiate a particularly good deal and then not say a word about it. This, of course, may be good for your institution, but it won't be good for the others, whose negotiators are not as shrewd. If everyone has the same information, then the publisher will seek the same margin on all sales; hence inflexibility.

There are many, many ways to reduce costs for materials, but transparency is not one of them.

BTW, in the example of auto dealerships, you say that "you can certainly announce price data to the world." I do not believe that is true, though I have no way to prove it. It is probable that dealerships (unlike auto consumers) are bound by confidentiality.

Joe Esposito

On 10/4/06, Rick Anderson <rickand@unr.edu> wrote:
You can tell anyone you want how much you paid for a car, but if
you own a dealership, can you announce trade data to the world?
You can certainly announce price data to the world, and price
data are what we're talking about in this example.  Let me try to
save some bandwidth here.  I think I'm using the term
"transparency" differently than you and Dick are, Joe.  What I
mean by "transparent" pricing is a system that allows buyers to
talk freely and publicly about what they've paid.  I don't
necessarily mean a situation in which sellers all go out of their
way to broadcast publicly every detail of their wholesale and
retail practices.

A practical outcome of public posting of licenses is that there
can never be any negotiations.  Thus there never can be any
customization of contracts to account for special circumstances.
Transparency (as I'm using the term) doesn't require that
publishers publicly post every negotiated version of their
licenses.  It only requires that they not forbid their customers
from discussing license and pricing terms with others.  (And if
what you mean is that public posting of _standard_ license terms
precludes negotiations, then that's simply flat wrong.  I've
negotiated scores of licenses with publishers whose standard
license agreements are posted publicly, and who are yet willing
to negotiate a customized version with any buyer who asks.)
Nature's contention that secrecy is required in order for them to
do business is ridiculous -- scores of similar publishers
demonstrate this every day by doing business quite nicely without
secrecy.  It may be necessary in order for Nature to do business
in a particular way that Nature prefers, but it's Nature's choice
to do business that way.  And it's our choice whether or not
we'll help them by submitting to vows of secrecy.

Rick Anderson
Dir. of Resource Acquisition
University of Nevada, Reno Libraries