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Re: Nature Journals: User Name and Password (Super ID Access)

I have no direct knowledge of Nature, and the reasons lying behind the
terms of their latest license offering, but David Goodman's comments do
highlight an issue that affects access to the full content of many
magazines, including major titles that will be in many academic
collections.  David's comments highlight the library perspective; but it
vexes publishers just as much.

The issue is authors' rights, and third party rights.  It has been the
norm in magazine publishing to publish freelance journalists' articles on
a one time use only basis.  The publisher can use the article in the
magazine, but has no further rights in it - whether to syndicate the
article, republish it in print, or use it electronically.  This is quite
unlike the situation in academic journals, where copyright is assigned to
the publisher, or the author grants a broad license for multiple uses in
print and electronic media.  The problem is compounded by the widespread
use of photographs from picture libraries on a one time use basis only.

It is almost impossible for most magazine publishers to grant full text
access to every item in any one title.  Most publishers are reviewing and
renegotiating standard author and photograph license agreements, and are
developing digital rights management systems that will allow e-commerce at
the article or individual item level; but this takes time.  Meanwhile, the
underlying rights in many magazines comprise a patchwork of mindblowing
complexity.  And the publishers have to be exemplary copyright citizens
(remember Ryan vs CARL, Tasini etc...)

John Cox
John Cox Associates

-----Original Message-----
From: David Goodman <dgoodman@Princeton.EDU>
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>; ejtf-l
<ejtf-l@lists.Princeton.EDU>; d.muscatello@nature.com
Date: 17 September 2000 14:46
Subject: Re: Nature Journals: User Name and Password (Super ID Access)

>A year ago, the publishers of Nature attempted to offer a library license
>which permitted institutional electronic access to only the research
>articles in the the second part of the journal, but not to the news and
>review coverage in the first half.
>Nature is a weekly journal; its importance is not only due to the
>excellence of the primary scholarly scientific articles it publishes, but
>the extraordinary quality of the commentary and news coverage. This part
>of Nature is the unique attribute of the journal, and is what most
>scientists would consider the measure of scientific literacy. The
>pertinence and depth of Nature's content is the reason why people read the
>journal. As one could expect, the attempt to provide libraries with paid
>electronic access to Nature except for its unique and most valuable part
>did not meet with success, and I think that essentially no library
>This year the publishers are offering libraries what they appear to
>consider a more liberal version. It does provide access to the news and
>commentaries, but only after a three month delay. News articles are not
>improved by a three month delay, and the publishers seem to have a naive
>faith in the unwillingness of libraries to examine what they buy.
>Personal subscriptions to the journal include the full electronic content.
>Presumably the motive of the publisher are an unwillingness to risk a
>decrease in individual subscriptions. I have spoken to a number of
>individuals who have personal subscriptions; they all subscribe because of
>the desirability of receiving their own print copy of this excellent
>journal, even though the library also receives it in print, and would
>continue to subscribe even though the library also receives the entire
>journal electronically. This I believe, has been the experience of other
>This university library has never paid for a subscription to part of a
>journal in electronic form when the whole journal was available in print.
>Neither has it ever paid for a subscription to the electronic version of a
>publication where the appearance of the electronic content was delayed
>behind the print, nor where the material the library received was less
>than what personal subscribers received.  Why would we? The advantages of
>an electronic journal is the more rapid delivery and campus-wide
>availability of the content.  Our selectors have considered this offer,
>and regard the nature of this offer as reinforcing our commitment to our
>present policy. We most certainly will not subscribe. We cannot imagine
>why any library would.
>This posting represents my personal interpretation, except that the
>decision not to subscribe, and the reasons for it, are shared unanimously
>by all the relevant selectors here. :
>Institutions wrote:
>> The Nature Publishing Group has launched its institutional site licenses
>> our Nature titles: Nature, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Cell Biology,
>> Genetics, Nature Immunology, Nature Medicine, Nature Neuroscience, Nature
>> Structural Biology, and coming in October, three new review titles Nature
>> Reviews Neuroscience, Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, and Nature
>> Reviews Genetics.
>. All of the information on site licenses including ordering can be
>> found at: <http://www.nature.com/help/sitelicenses>
>                                    Nature Online:
>                                    The Americas
> Summary of Site Licence: Academic Libraries, Colleges and Universities
>                                    Included in the Licence:
>For the Nature site licence, the Nature Publishing Group offers online
>access to the Articles, Letters to Nature, Brief Communications,
>Scientific Correspondence, as well as material available to registered
>users on the Nature Website, including:
>naturejobs, Nature Science Update, Nature Table of Contents, Nature
>Feature of the Week, Nature Web Matters, Nature Debates, Nature Software
>Reviews, Nature World Conference on Science, Nature Supplementary
>Information, Nature International Grants Finder, and finally archives of
>this material through June 1997.
>Licensed institutions shall have immediate access to the peer-reviewed
>material on the date of publication as well as full functionality
>including searchability, the ability to view and download articles from
>the archives, etc. From time to time access may be granted to any
>additional material that the licensor makes available to the licensee.
>The entire content is available after a 12 issue delay from January 2001.
>This includes: Opinion, News, Correspondence, Commentary, Book Reviews,
>Features, Special Essays (e.g. Millennium Essay), News & Views, News in
>Brief, Reviews, Daedelus, 50 Years Ago, 100 Years Ago, Obituary, Art &
>Science, Autumn Books, Briefing, Careers and Recruitment, Film Review,
>News Analysis, New Journals, New on the Market, News Profile, News & Views
>Feature, Progress, Review Article, Spring Books, Technology and Techniques
>& Technology. One copy of the print journal Nature is provided as part of
>the Nature Online licence.
>> You are a valuable customer to us and we look forward to a continued
>> relationship.
>> Customer Support
>> institutions@natureny.com
>Dr. David Goodman
>Biology Librarian, and
>Co-Chair, Electronic Journals Task Force
>Princeton University Library
>dgoodman@princeton.edu         http://www.princeton.edu/~biolib/
>phone: 609-258-3235            fax: 609-258-2627