24:3 (2009:09) 24th Conference: Strategy Session: Ensuring Perpetual Access to Online Subscriptions

September 3, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Strategy Sessions | Leave a comment

Ensuring Perpetual Access to Online Subscriptions

Moderator: Judy Luther, Informed Strategies
Panelists: Ken DiFiore, Portico; Selden Lamoureux, North Carolina State University; Victoria Reich, Stanford University: CLOCKSS, LOCKSS; Heather Ruland Staines, Springer; Kim Steinle, Duke University Press

Reported by Janet Arcand

After brief statements from the panelists indicating their perspective on the topic of perpetual access, most of the time was devoted to a discussion of audience concerns.

Publishers are creating new pricing models for back issue access.  They have new expenses associated with retrodigital work on backfiles and want to charge for it.  There will be additional costs since systems need to change or upgrade as technology changes.  Publishers have found that users want things which they did not foresee and they need to react to these needs.  Some publishers are exploring ways to provide a paid service to individual users who want to use data in new ways beyond the current access platform, in enriched software.

Libraries are switching print subscriptions to online, partly to save physical space, and want guaranteed online access.  Librarians need to be aware of the terms of their subscriptions before they cancel them, in case the cancellations would cause them to lose some or all content.  Some libraries plan to store formerly subscribed content in a digital stack on campus, like LOCKSS, or in an institutional repository, but there may be legal issues to consider.  Library administrations are not as comfortable with LOCKSS as they are with Portico, because the individual libraries have more responsibility within the LOCKSS model.  There may be a role for regional repositories to handle the storage of back content.  Portico is trying to partner with publishers who want to deposit content at Portico so that the publisher site is not the only place to find it.

A former expectation was that switching to online would be less costly for the library.  The publisher point of view is that libraries already save on costs since they no longer need to bind or shelve.  Online content has enhanced features for library users, and the material is inherently more accessible.  Libraries may not save money but patrons are using the material more.  Perpetual access is an “asset” that helps some libraries get funding to acquire resources.  Newer institutions tend to be very online access-reliant since they don’t have the same back-content print collections as older institutions.

Libraries were wholly responsible for archival access when paid content was print-based, but now expect the publishers to take responsibility for archival access in the digital age.

Guaranteed access to open access content is a concern, since some OA publishers are attracting commercial publishers and are being eyed for acquisition.

There are also concerns about titles that transfer to new publishers which do not honor the terms which the old publisher had allowed or negotiated.


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