24:3 (2009:09) 24th Conference: Strategy Session: Information Licensing Stakeholders

September 11, 2009 at 2:54 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Strategy Sessions | Leave a comment

Informing Licensing Stakeholders: Towards a More Effective Negotiation

Lisa Sibert, University of California, Irvine; Micheline Westfall, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Selden Lamoureux, North Carolina State University; Clint Chamberlain, University of Texas; Vida Damijonaitis, American Medical Association; Brett Rubinstein, Springer
Reported by Alita Pierson

This strategy session offered a lively discussion concerning licensing issues.  A few basic thoughts were presented at the beginning of the session.  Among these were that all parties agreed that the license negotiation process is improving.  Larger publishers were acknowledged to be friendlier to negotiation, while at the same time, their concerns were aired.  These were primarily copyright protection, resale, and the potential for abusive downloading of material.  “No one size fits all,” said one vendor rep, and the consensus is that yes, license negotiation can take a lot of time.

A key theme of the discussion was the concept of playing hardball.  The rather pointed question, “Do you guys [i.e., publishers] learn from the process [and how] to do it better in the future?” was answered in the affirmative.  It was pointed out that during the negotiating process, if “they” get explicit, “you get explicit,” meaning that for librarians, there should be no question of going to the mat for the needs of your institution.  The email listserv LIBREF-L was mentioned as a good source for finding specific language that meets the needs of whatever you are trying to negotiate.  As a subscriber, I can attest that if you send a query requesting input on “Clause ABC,” you are sure to receive an outpouring of helpful responses.

On the topic of breaches: licenses are not helpful if there is a breach.  The license will not magically solve the problem.  However, it is an excellent place to document the proper procedure for handling a breach.

On the subject of perpetual access: this is something that everybody wants.  However, a great point was made about what we in the library world are really talking about when we say “perpetual access.”  In the library world “perpetual access in a format that is comparable to the current access or in the care of a trusted third party, LOCKSS, CLOCKSS, or Portico” is needed.   In other words, nobody wants to be handed a black box with all the data to which you have subscribed; technically, that could be viewed as providing perpetual access, but it would be useless.


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