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Science publisher institutes Closed Access Program Stephen Clark 01 Apr 2004 15:24 UTC

Below is an article for your enjoyment on this 1st day of April:

SERIALST readers might be interested in this news item, just found on the
wire services today:

Esplin announces innovative new online journal program
by John Wetton

April 1, 2004

Invoking a frequently-overlooked clause in the standard version of its
license agreement for online journals, the respected science publisher
Esplin Press is instituting a new online access model that it calls Closed
Access.  Under this new model, no one will be able to access Esplin's online
journals -- not even subscribers.

"This kind of industry-leading innovation is what our academic customers
have come to expect and appreciate from us," says Esplin CEO Bill Bruford.
"Our previous pricing and access strategies differed little from those of
our competitors: double-digit annual price increases, strong-arm package
deals, you know, the same-old same-old.  The scholarly community told us it
wanted something different, something bolder and more innovative, and we've
responded to that desire."

As Bruford explains, the new program offers libraries the twin incentives of
a vastly simplified user interface and a lower inflation rate. "To those
libraries willing to migrate to Closed Access, we promise an annual price
increase of less than 5%," he says. "When you combine that lower inflation
rate with the decreased workload -- less time spent updating catalog records
and web pages, fewer access problems reported by patrons, and so forth -- we
think there's a net savings here for most libraries.  We see this as a

Closed Access is not the only model available to Esplin's library customers,
says North American Sales Manager Bob Fripp: "Those who want to continue
with the traditional access model and 30% annual price increase are more
than free to do so.  Our plan is to continue supporting that program

Librarians' reaction to the news has been mixed.  "Actually, this is going
to simplify my life considerably," said Adrienne Belew, head of the serials
department at Kapok College in Wisconsin.  "Esplin's usage statistics were
useless anyway, and they never let us know when they sold or discontinued a
journal.  It's a big relief not to have to worry about that stuff anymore."

But Tony Levin, of Eastern Nevada University, sees Esplin's program as too
little, too late: "This is fine for the online stuff, but we're still having
to check in, bind and house the print versions of their journals.  We're
paying almost as much for those as we are for the online versions -- why
can't they take the print away as well?"


Rick Anderson
Director of Resource Acquisition
University of Nevada, Reno Libraries
(775) 784-6500 x273