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RE: New England Journal of Medicine: a response regarding access policy

August 29, 2001

It is very irresponsible of the NEJM to impose this policy on
institutional subscribers knowing the critical impact your journal has in
the field of the health sciences.  Making no other arrangements to offer
institutional site wide access to academic subscribers is a reckless
decision which will dramatically effect academic and medical centers
throughout the United States.

I encourage the NEJM to strongly reconsider its policy towards
institutional customers.  Over the past ten years there has been positive
dialogue between publishers and libraries to establish a workable solution
to providing electronic access to journal content.  The policy you propose
not only defeats this effort, but impedes research and patient care.

Elizabeth Lorbeer
Collection Development Manager
Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center
Chicago, IL 60612

To the Listserv,

There has been a vocal response to our change from a 2-username access
model for institutions to a 5-IP access model. I hope this note will
explain our reasons for this change.

The 2-username model was implemented years ago, at a time when it was
unclear how Internet access would evolve, especially at institutions. Our
guidelines were loose, and this led to widespread use (both on and off
campus) of the 2 usernames and passwords per print subscription. Usernames
and passwords were emailed to entire staffs, posted on intranets, and even
posted openly on the Internet. Over time, this type of access has become
quite prevalent, and clearly beyond the scope of a standard institutional

At the same time, both anecdotal and statistical evidence mounted showing
that subscription cancellation rates around academic institutions with
this type of access for NEJM was significantly higher than the norm.

The 5-IP model was chosen as a moderate alternative for the time being. We
wanted to give the library community as much notice as possible, and have
worked hard to notify you in a coordinated manner, and before the academic
year begins in earnest.

There is presently no option for campus-wide access (except through some
aggregators). We are evaluating our options for direct site licensing at
academic institutions. However, given our heritage as a publication
devoted to meeting the needs of individual subscribers, we are very
careful when considering changes that may separate us from our readers to
such an extent.

That's our reasoning. My hope is that we'll find a unique, innovative, and
powerful way in the coming months to strike a fair balance. In the
meantime, I invite your suggestions.


Kent R. Anderson
Publishing Director, NEJM