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Re: Nature's Access Restrictions

Yes, I should have noted that single station access for Science was the
only option we could afford, not the only one available.  It is simply
that the other, more generous, licensing arrangements that Science offers
were, for us, prohibitively expensive.  Science is, of course, trying to
protect erosion of their large base of individual subscribers, on which
their advertising income is based, an issue I certainly can sympathize
with.  This is a general issue that really needs to be addressed
immediately by all sides, libraries, subscribers and publishers, as it
affects a number of publishers and journals.

It would be most helpful for the cause of scholarly communication if
Science and Nature, in particular, were able to design subscription plans
around a single standard that would provide affordable access for
libraries and still give incentive for individual subscribers to
subscribe. Value added access for individual subscribers is one
possibility.  Geographically limiting access and limiting the number of
simultaneous users are others.  While degrading library access is hurtful
to academic libraries, it might be made more palatable if individual
librarians were allowed to provide full access for the occasional
emergency request.  Unfortunately, most publishers do not seem to be
willing to work with librarians to design access policies and licenses
that are adequately mutually beneficial. It will, clearly, take some
inventive design of licenses and access policies to overcome the
difficulties both sides are experiencing during this period of
transformation from print to electronic journal subscriptions.

Perhaps the trusted system model could provide some solutions to this
quandary.  We don't know because, as far as I am aware, no one has
explored this, although I would be surprised if Elsevier and other
publishers were not studying publisher-controlled technological fixes to
the problem of access control (digital rights management systems like
DigiBox or Cryptolope, for example).  The recent addition of ContentGuard
to some publishers' PDF files is indicative of what industry is doing in
this area.  I would argue that making access prohibitively expensive for
many libraries is not the best long-term solution.  Libraries and
publishers are mutually dependent and weakening one weakens both.

The Science usage reports provided by AAAS are, by the way, interesting
but I don't believe they provide information about how those members of
the institution who access Science through their individual subscription
logons use this popular journal.  I suspect that, at Northwestern at
least, most use of the online version is by individual subscribers (mainly
faculty, graduate students and post docs) who logon through their personal
accounts from their offices rather than by way of our public Science
dedicated terminals.

As a personal subscriber to Science, I only have to pay an additional $15
or so a year for full access to its online version from any terminal I can
get to the Internet on (as long as I remember by logon ID and password), a
feature I utilize frequently.  I certainly don't expect Science to provide
this level of access to libraries, but surely we could come up with a
reasonable service package that would satisfy all parties if we worked
together to design one.


At 12:25 10/17/1999 -0400, you wrote:
>A clarification is needed concerning your comments about Science.
>Science's library workstation model is targeted at the many high school
>and public libraries that take Science in print and do not need
>'site-wide' access. While this model was indeed the first we introduced,
>it is not the only model available. Since Setember of 1998, over a year
>ago, Science Online has also been available through a site-wide
>subscription model, no passwords required, and minimal limitations on
>remote access. Earlier this month, we also introduced usage reports for
>institutional Science Online subscribers.
>If you or others on lib-license would like more information about
>Science Online site-wide subscriptions, feel free to contact me (contact
>information below) or your subscription agent. You can also work with
>Vicky Reich at Highwire, or non-US institutions may wish to contact Jane
>Pennington in our Cambridge UK office.
>Mike Spinella
>phone: 202 326-6424
>email: mspinell@aaas.org