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Pricing/License Translucency: A Proposal for Publishers and Libraries (2 messages) SERIALST Moderator 18 Oct 2006 17:25 UTC

2 messages:

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 08:29:19 -0700
From: Mina Davenport <>
Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Pricing/License Translucency: A Proposal for
    Publishers and Libraries

I think it's a good idea...

Mina Davenport, Librarian
Childrens Hospital
Health Sciences Library
747 52nd Street
Oakland CA 94609  USA
(510) 428-3448 (p)
(510) 601-3963 (f)

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 11:41:43 -0400
From: florence schreibstein <>
Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Pricing/License Translucency: A Proposal for
    Publishers and Libraries

Hi Rick,
I am glad that you have continued with the thread.

I received several paper copies of a letter dated September 2006, from
Annette Thomas, Managing Director that starts out, "I write to you once
again with new of developments ..." A further paragraph that, I think,
speaks partly to the issue of confidentiality, comes in the paragraph that
begins, "Despite all the technology and cultural change, journal pricing
has remained a contentious issue. The situation has been complicated by
combined print and online bundles, consortia, interlibrary loan, perpetual
access, and preservation issues. ... and this year we will be publishing
site license prices for the first time on the Librarian Gateway
( Henceforth, we envision a period of more
stable site license pricing. For licenses commencing in 2007, the
increases on 2006 list prices will be in the range of 5-10%."

If Nature will post prices, why the continued emphasis on confidentiality?

Is it one hand doesn't know what the other is doing? Or, that we will see
that Nature Publishing does not have a consistent pricing policy? I heard
a fair amount about business model but it wasn't made clear to me exactly
what it is.


*********** REPLY SEPARATOR  ***********

On 10/18/2006 at 7:38 AM Rick Anderson wrote:

>Everyone is probably sick to death of this topic by now, but I'm going
>to risk starting a new thread about pricing secrecy and pricing
>transparency.  This message will end with a question for my librarian
>colleagues, so I hope that those who are tired of the topic but who may
>have an opinion on the question will soldier through to the end and send
>a response (either directly to me or to the list).
>Now that I've had a week or so to reflect on my experience with Nature
>and its demand for total secrecy of pricing and license terms, and on my
>on-list conversation with Peter Banks and Joe Esposito and others about
>the implications of total pricing transparency, it's occurred to me that
>there may be room for a compromise on which both publishers and
>libraries can agree.  It seems to me that there is really no reason why
>we should have to choose between Pricing Blackout (the position of
>Nature and a few other publishers on the fringe of this issue) and
>Pricing Transparency (as characterized by Joe's "public posting of
>prices/licenses" scenario).
>I'd like to propose a compromise, which we might call Pricing
>Translucency: suppose a license agreement were to contain a clause like
>this: "Subject to applicable law, Licensee shall refrain from
>publicizing or otherwise broadly distributing the terms of this License
>(including pricing) in any public forum."
>It seems to me that a term like this should satisfy both the desire of
>publishers not to see public broadcast of the results of their
>individual price and license negotiations, while also allowing
>librarians the desired leeway to talk to each other individually about
>their negotiation experiences.  I don't know of any librarian who wants
>to take out a full-page ad in the New York Times saying what price she
>ended up getting from Nature; most of us just want to be able to answer
>individual colleagues who ask us questions.
>I was going to ask the publishers who participate or lurk on this list
>to say whether they think a clause like this would be acceptable, but I
>think that question is more or less answered by the fact that the vast
>majority of publishers don't put confidentiality clauses in their
>licenses.  What I do wonder, though, is whether librarians would
>generally find such a clause acceptable.  Any thoughts?  (Off-list
>replies welcome; if there's interest, I can summarize for the list
>without identifying respondents.)
>Rick Anderson
>Dir. of Resource Acquisition
>University of Nevada, Reno Libraries
>(775) 784-6500 x273

Florence Schreibstein
Asst Director
D. Samuel Gottesman Library
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
1300 Morris Park Ave
Bronx, NY 10461
tel: 718-430-3110
fax: 718-430-8795