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Ann Okerson's message about IRs, and the role of consortia in publishing

It was fascinating to read the account of the discussion to which Ann
Okerson's message (copied below) alludes and especially the sentiments of
the second faction to which she refers.

Not to ascribe that second faction views they don't necessarily hold, but
perhaps that faction would be sympathetic with the publishing model
proposed at:


Of course, the subject of Ann's message was a repository software, and the
issue whether libraries should or should not support its vendor's effort
to charge for enhanced access to material otherwise freely available, but
there is no reason why (/mutatis mutandis/) an electronic journal
publisher--especially a university consortium -- couldn't run with the
idea of providing enhanced access to content otherwise free.

At the risk of repetition: the whole emphasis on open access, not to
mention author charges as a way to fund open access, has diverted
attention from another way of doing things.

This webpage above proposes an overlay model in which publishers deposit
journals articles for free access in a repository, but where enhanced
access, for a fee, is also an option.  The subscription overlay model
builds in a revenue generation model that can support publishing
operations, where revenue generation derives from such enhanced services
(this is from the webpage) as:

     additional informational content (including e.g. news, or links to
     online reference resources, or services such as job boards)
     citing/cited reference capabilities of the kind discussed here
     email alerting services; searchable abstracting and indexing
     direct linkages to citation management software
     analyze capabilities
     graphical displays of conceptual relationships between articles
     cross-reference linking; and "mark and email" (or print)

BMC has already recognized that OA along the lines of the subscription
overlay model need not threaten a commercial enterprise's existence.

My own interest in the model is especially along the lines of how it can
enable universities--and their consortia in particular--to get into the
publishing game. It is becoming clear that unless they themselves do
something about the serials crisis, the crisis will just continue

I believe the pressure, and expectation, that the Internet creates to make
information freely available may well push publishing in the direction of
something like the subscription overlay.

Brian Simboli

Peter Suber wrote:

[Forwarding from Ann Okerson on the LibLicense list.  --Peter.]

At a meeting last week of consortial directors and representatives, an
interesting topic was raised.  One consortium had developed a
specialized (in subject) institutional repository using a particular
vendor's IR software.  The content in this consortium's IR is available
to the world for free and that will not change; the consortium and
authors are committed to this.  At the same time, the vendor is
marketing the software in a way that content developed and made
available through the IR software by all of the vendor's IR customers
can be cross searched with some nice enhancements - for a fee.  This set
off quite a conversation.

o One side reasoned that owners of the IRs should/could refuse to have
their content participate, even passively, in such a commercial setting,
as antithetical to their desires when they set up the IR.

o Others reasoned that owners of the IRs should/could cooperate with the
IR software vendor to assure that the content can be included (author
permissions, etc.) so that authors can also get the benefit of better,
more focused search and services.

Any thoughts about this kind of situation?  There is a lot of potential
for a lot of re-use, re-purposing, upgrading of works that are freely
available.  It's a new world we're entering. Ann Okerson/Yale Library