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Re: We have met the enemy...

John Cox is right... Fear is the underlying driving force for many of us
who have had financial responsibility for launching electronic journals. I
should have stated it as fear of loss of revenue in the new and untried
arena of electronic journals which drives many of us. In this new arena,
in which we are all still experimenting to find things that work, lawyers
are often not helpful.

When we at the American Astronomical Society set out to develop our
license in 1995, we held extensive discussions with the library community
(including Ann Okerson, than you Ann). We wanted to avoid burdensome
restrictions and make it easy to start using the electronic journals. It
was our publisher's lawyers who wanted us to insert all kinds of
restrictive provisions, even though we owned the journal. We prevailed in
the end, saying that we were willing to take any risks involved in keeping
the license simple.

It was the feedback from our library community, who assured us that they
would continue to subscribe in paper, which gave us the necessary
confidence to approach these negotiations with a sufficient lack of fear
that we could make a sensible license. These discussions between us
(publishers and librarians) had the tone of mutual collaborative partners
in the information chain trying to find the best ways to make the most
effective use of the new electronic environment. In fact, coming up with a
simple, mutually acceptable license was an enjoyable exercise which
strengthened the bond between us and our library community. Knowing this
was a time for experimentation, we were willing to start with simple terms
and to rely upon the libraries not to abuse the new capabilities. In
retrospect, our move to electronic publishing has not been particularly
risky, certainly not as risky as it seemed at the time.

As for John Cox missing the Pogo reference, I don't suppose the Chauncey
M.  Depew* ever made it across the Atlantic...


* The name of Pogo's rickety boat in which he traversed the swamp, went 
fishing, etc.
Peter B. Boyce    -   Senior Consultant for Electronic Publishing, AAS
email: pboyce@aas.org
Summer address:                                Winter: 4109 Emery Place,
33 York St., Nantucket, MA 02554        Washington, DC 20016
Phone:  508-228-9062                           202-244-2473