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Re: Nature Journals: Versioning Vicissitudes

To clarify two important points:

1. The "front of the book" matter in Nature is in their case every bit as
essential--if not more so--than the rest. If they were to publish a
printed edition without it at say half price, I think they would get
exactly zero subscribers, personal or institutional.

2. When a university purchases campus wide access to a journal for all its
students and faculty to a journal, what they are buying is the use of that
content for all academic purposes by all students enrolled in all courses.
For a professor to include links to that in material for a specific course
is not a special additional benefit, but is implied by the basic license.
We need not urge other publishers to follow the example--We have been
buying this all along. I suppose the provision is included in licenses to
avoid ambiguity, but a license which prohibited it would not be a site
license in the first place.

This seems so patently obvious to me, that I would like to hear from any
publisher who disagrees. (I recognize that the situation for distance
learning may be more complicated.)

David Goodman, Princeton University Biology Library				
dgoodman@princeton.edu            609-258-3235


On Wed, 27 Sep 2000, Ann Okerson wrote:

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Kimberly Douglas <kdouglas@library.caltech.edu>
> To: "'liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu'" <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
> Cc: "'d.muscatello@natureny.com'" <d.muscatello@natureny.com>
> Subject: Nature Journals: Versioning Vicissitudes
> Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2000 17:40:22 -0700
> I am encouraged that Nature has apparently grasped enough of the research
> community's ire against publishers' restrictions on access to research
> articles to provide a mechanism in which that genre can be separated from
> the proprietary content so that it can be more available.  The specific
> statement in the Nature licence (cited by George Porter earlier) that
> allows teaching staff to make copies for coursepacks without further fees
> or permissions is a bellwether step that ALL publishers should emulate.  
> I view this as most definitely forward thinking.  Is it a perfect
> agreement, no. Does it challenge our assumptions of journal issue
> integrity, yes.  Do publishers need to work with other segments of the
> industry regarding implementation of innovative approaches, also yes.  
> Afterall, we, as individuals and as a society, are all struggling through
> the transition from print to digital network and care needs to be
> exercised as to what is abandoned and what is retained.  But change must
> come.
> Versioning or information service differentiation is an inevitable
> consequence of incorporating the network and associated computational
> tools in every aspect of our lives. Journals like Nature and Science have
> evolved into richly mixed information services containing advertising,
> research articles, news, commentaries, job postings, book reviews etc.  
> Nature, as Dana Roth pointed out, does not have society backing - so it
> must rely solely on market relationships to thrive.  It is a challenging
> case around which to wrap one's brain as to how it will move from the
> printing press model of information dissemination to the network model
> given the variety of services the journal provides.
> Shapiro's and Varian's description of "versioning" was presented in their
> book, Information Rules (1999), as a method by which an information
> service could penetrate NEW previously untapped markets.  This would allow
> for revenue increase (or replacement) without over-burdening the legacy
> market. Since advertising revenue plays such a large role in the finances
> of Nature, there could be more "versioning" opportunities along that
> revenue stream if the advertising audit models are up-to-speed. Perhaps
> Nature could charge for advertising space differentially depending in
> which service, research articles, versus news and reviews, online or
> print, the ad appears?  Such a revenue stream model might provide the
> financial basis for re-designing the entire service.  Nature also needs to
> think about what other markets there might be for parts of their journal
> and think through the necessary rights to take action.  Would online book
> vendors or the publishers be interested in licensing access to the book
> reviews?  This is where "versioning" has real economic potential.
> Kimberly Douglas
> Director, Sherman Fairchild Library and Technical
> Information Services
> Caltech Library System
> Pasadena, CA  91125
> voice:626/395-6414
> fax:626/431-2681
> email:kdouglas@caltech.edu