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Re: Journal puchase, journal licensing and the growth in open access

Publishers like us have no problem with libraries buying 
electronic content. Why should the mere change of format, from 
print to electronic, necessarily completely change the nature of 
the transaction? Indeed, when I first heard of a publisher 
cutting off online access to earlier content because the library 
had failed to renew, I nearly fell off my chair laughing. That 
publishers have such effrontery, and that librarians fall for it, 
amazes me. Yes, big publishing rips off libraries horribly. But 
the answer is not Open Access, the answer is for librarians to 
remember that they are the market, that they the customer are 
King, and that they should be dictating the terms. Open Access is 
a very complicated answer to a very simple problem. And its also 
an answer which just won't work beyond the short term, and the 
fact that 'we have the technology' does not mean it necessarily 
will work. And another answer is to spend more of your money with 
publishers who are not quite so ethically challenged.

Bill Hughes
Multi-Science Publishing Co Ltd

----- Original Message -----
From: "Frederick Friend" <ucylfjf@ucl.ac.uk>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 2:30 AM
Subject: Journal puchase, journal licensing and the growth in 
open access

> The transition from journal purchase to journal licensing in the
> 1990s changed the relationship between journal publishers and
> librarians and may have encouraged support from the library
> community for open access. The growth in licensing led to the
> creation of the Liblicense list as a service to the world-wide
> library community struggling to find the best way of dealing with
> this fundamental change in the way journal content could be
> acquired and handled. Looking back to a "golden age" is rarely
> justified, but the ongoing problems librarians now have with
> journal publishers may be seen in a new light when compared with
> the largely harmonious relationship before the adoption of the
> licensing model.
> With hindsight librarians may have accepted too readily the
> publishers' argument that licensing rather than purchase was
> necessary to manage digital content. Publishers were worried that
> digital content would leak through piracy, but piracy has not
> been eliminated totally even when all the world's libraries have
> accepted the licensing model. Where is the evidence that piracy
> would cost publishers vast sums of money under a purchasing
> contract? Would even an increase in the cost of piracy justify
> the huge sums academic institutions and publishers spend on
> negotiating and policing licences?  Rather what has happened is
> that publishers have used the licensing model to exercise control
> over the dissemination of publicly-funded research to such a
> degree that not only the library community but many researchers
> and research funders are determined to move to an alternative
> model which will yield greater benefit.
> The principal arguments for open access are positive in nature
> but they are born out of some of the disadvantages of the
> licensing model. The licensing model is designed to be
> restrictive in respect of authorised users and permitted uses,
> restrictions which limit the benefits from greater use of the
> content. Into this restrictive atmosphere open access has come
> like a breath of fresh air, promising growth in use and
> citations. Long-term preservation, once straightforward when a
> journal volume was purchased outright, has now become a legal
> nightmare. Open access content still faces technical challenges
> to ensure long-term preservation but they are challenges the
> academic and library communities can resolve themselves without
> the additional complication of ensuring compliance with
> publishers' licensing terms. It is such issues that entered the
> relationship between publishers and librarians through the
> introduction of the licensing model in the 1990s, issues which
> now so frequently spoil a relationship which should be one of
> mutual benefit.
> Fred Friend
> JISC Scholarly Communication Consultant
> Honorary Director Scholarly Communication UCL