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Re: Heads up: Nature license and confidentiality

It is not the size of the deal that lowers a price, but the savings in the cost of marketing to fewer entities. Thus consortia get better pricing because one sales call and negotiation handles 10, 20, sometimes more customers all at once. The cost of making a sale is a big number, and publishers are always looking to lower it. When libraries lower publishers' transaction costs, they have a very good argument for getting lower pricing. This is not peculiar to journals and libraries. In the trade book world it is simply less expensive to sell to Barnes & Noble and Borders then to independent bookstores. I wish it were otherwise, but them's the facts.

A useful project (not that no one has thought of this before) would be for libraries and publishers to convene to work on lowering transaction costs, with the intention of splitting the savings.

Joe Esposito

----- Original Message -----
From: "Warren Holder" <warren.holder@utoronto.ca>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2006 3:02 PM
Subject: Re: Heads up: Nature license and confidentiality

Rick, If you prefer, we can have this discussion off-line - my actual
preference would be over a drink or three...

Is there any place in your thinking for what one might call a " loyalty "
programme. Let's use Elsevier as an example [there are others of course].
Let's say a university spends in excess of [US $X Million] a year on their
journals as well as Scopus, Compendex, Embase, DiscoveryGate etc. etc.
Then this publisher produces their archive. In your mind is a university
wrong if it wants aggressively to negotiate the price based on their
rather large commitment to a given publisher? Do you really think they
should pay the same price as everyone else?

Just curious.

Warren Holder
Electronic Resources Co-ordinator
University of Toronto Libraries
Toronto, Ontario CANADA M5S 1A5

Rick Anderson wrote:

I'm slightly suprised that librarians find anything odd in
It's not really that we find secret pricing odd; it's that we
find it unacceptable (or I do, anyway -- I shouldn't presume to
speak for everyone else).

In the print world, the price was the price.  In the digital
world, as Peggy says herself, 'we don't all pay the price';
actual prices paid by individual consortia and even individual
libraries tend to be the result of often protracted
negotiation. Different factors may have a bearing in each case.
So making public the price actually negotiated would be most
unfair on the vendor, wouldn't it?
I can see why publishers find transparent pricing undesirable,
but I really don't see how they can claim that it's unfair.  If
you're going to sell a product or service to the public, then it
seems to me that the public has a right to know how much it's
paying.  (If you're selling to a private institution, then you
may be able to negotiate terms of secrecy into the deal -- but it
doesn't seem to me that the institution is under any moral
obligation to agree.  "Fairness" certainly doesn't enter into it.
I see no logical connection between the fact that prices and
license terms vary from institution to institution as a matter of
negotiation and the proposition that they should be kept secret
as a matter of fairness.)

Rick Anderson
Dir. of Resource Acquisition
University of Nevada, Reno Libraries