Tuesday, June 05, 2007

NASIG 2007: Alternatives to licensing of e-resources

Selden Lamoureaux & Zach Rolnik

This session was everything I expected it to be. I KNEW someone was working on this, I just didn’t know who. Now I know. It’s a NISO working group called SERU (Shared E-Resources Understanding) and they seek to find ways for libraries and publishers to come to agreement about the purchase of e-resources without the need for a contract or license.

Their argument goes like this: contracts are a barrier to access. They force both libraries and publishers to expend staff time and effort to negotiate licenses for e-journals and e-resources subscriptions. End-users suffer from the delays in access to information as a result of the need to negotiate licenses and libraries, especially smaller libraries, are put at a financial disadvantage.

Efforts are being made to reduce these costs by creating a global license, including SERU. The SERU Working Group has found a fair amount of consensus on many of the issues to be included and have a number of good reasons to believe that it might be a viable alternative.

It’s not a standard license, click-through license, or a replacement for ALL licenses. Instead, it calls for libraries and publishers to agree to accept copyright as the governing law over the provision and use of information services and uses the purchase order to describe the terms of the sale.

ALPSP and SSP both support SERU as do ARL and SPARC.

For more info and to register as a user at www.NISO.org/committees/SERU (note that registration is not open yet but will be soon).

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