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IDEAL Charter and WHO initiative

Carole Richter, David Goodman:

You may have seen the announcement today of a major WHO initiative
involving six major publishers, including Harcourt. E.g. see
Harcourt's involvement is an extension of its IDEAL Charter program, on
which you commented earlier in this list. You asked about the pricing.

Harcourt has a simple formula for the license fee for Low-Income
Countries, i.e. those with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita less
than US $760, and total GDP less than $50 billion.  The formula is:  fee =
$3000 + $250 x (GDP in billions US $).  For the approximately 50 countries
that qualify under this formula and have ratified the Berne Copyright
Convention, the fees range between $3000 and $14,000.  The fee provides
access to some 320 journals from the Harcourt Health Sciences companies
(W.B. Saunders, Mosby, and Churchill Livingstone) and Academic Press for
all not-for-profit institutions in the country. Once the fee for a country
has been paid, each institution must separately register and sign a
license agreement. Harcourt reserves the right to determine final
eligibility for a Charter license.

Although the fees are low, they still cannot be afforded by many of the
eligible countries. We very much welcome Carole's adopt-a-country idea. In
fact, we are actively looking for sponsors for individual countries or
groups of countries. If you are interested, please contact one of the
licensing representatives listed at
http://www.apnet.com/www/ideal/charter.htm.  Another problem is to
determine with whom the license agreement for a country can be made. This
could be at the governmental level, or it could be that a particular
institution in the country would take the lead. If members of this list
can identify particular individuals in these countries who could take this
kind of lead role, please again contact the rep for that area.

Ken Metzner, Vice President, Electronic Publishing Platforms, Harcourt
Worldwide STM Group.


I wondered about the 'real' cost also. My extremely limited knowledge of
Internet access in Ghana would lead me to wave banners and cheer wildly if
producers are willing to provide basically break-even access to developing
courntries for the near term future. Educated Ghanaians whom I met (during
a brief visit) were extremely excited about digital information
access...it truly is completely impractical for them to manage print
journal collections...think of shipping alone! Not to mention binding,
storage, preservation conditions...digital access is truly the *only*
practical access. On the other hand, Internet access is terribly limited
at this point in time. Hugely appreciated, but terribly limited. Even if
one is fortunate enough to be in a situation where access is possible, the
time to sit at a screen to read an article is probably as unavailable as
the printer to print it out! Charging almost 'any' amount of money at this
point seems like the wrong approach.

EBSCO has a program for access to their full text databases for developing
countries that is extremely low. Probably it is fair to say it is at near
cost-recovery level (eg @ $6,000 for the whole country of Ghana). I can't
help but wonder if there is any interest in the library world in some kind
of 'adopt-a-country' concept, where a number of libraries might subsidize
that kind of cost for a minimum of say 2-3 years. Possibly one piece of
the cost could include sending a librarian to the country for a month of
training at various educational and communication centers.

While I've heard the suggestion that developing countries need basic
health support more than computer-related gadgets, I'd have to counter
that the intense interest is in fact present. Access to information IS a
critical piece of making responsible decisions (think of AIDS if nothing
else). If we have any desire to play even a small role in closing the very
real information gap, this might be a project that could really make at
least a small difference. I believe there are already a few libraries in
the US (and other countries) making such efforts on an individual basis,
but possibly shared support for such small initiatives country by country
might hold some appeal?

University of Notre Dame was privileged to hear Kofi Annan, eminent
Ghanaian and Secretary-General of the UN, speak at commencement last year.
About infrastructure cost, he said that "information technology is cheap,
compared to other forms of capital. It depends less on hardware...and more
and more on human brainpower -- the one form of capital which, thank God,
is fairly distributed among the world's people.' An investment in
education and computer availability can enable many poor countries to
leapfrog some of the long and painful stages of development that others
have had to go through.' Perhaps this is sheer idealism, but I believe
there is enough truth in this to command our attention.

I'm not at all sure this kind of message is appropriate to send to
license-l...I have no wish to clog up a working listserv with strings of
off-topic messages, however well intended. I feel reluctant to send this
message for this reason. On the other hand, license-l DOES seem like the
listserv that represents librarians and publishers alike who have spent
much of their work lives thinking about electronic information access.
I'm genuinely very curious as to whether something like this could garner
anything beyond good wishes. Perhaps I'll suggest that if there IS
interest in any kind of collaborative support for access, reply directly
to me and I'll be happy to send one long summary message to the list.

Carole Richter
Electronic Resources Coordinator
University of Notre Dame Libraries