Association of Research Libraries (ARL) fordert: keine Geheimhaltungs- oder Vertraulichkeitsklauseln in Lizenzverträgen akzeptieren! Elsevier-Intervention bleibt erfolglos

For immediate release:
June 5, 2009

For more information, contact:
Julia Blixrud
Association of Research Libraries
202-296-2296
jblix@arl.org
ARL Encourages Members to Refrain from Signing Nondisclosure or Confidentiality Clauses

Members Also Encouraged to Share Agreement Content

Washington DC—The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Board of Directors voted in support of a resolution introduced by its Scholarly Communication Steering Committee to strongly encourage ARL member libraries to refrain from signing agreements with publishers or vendors, either individually or through consortia, that include nondisclosure or confidentiality clauses. In addition, the Board encourages ARL members to share upon request from other libraries information contained in these agreements (save for trade secrets or proprietary technical details) for licensing content, licensing software or other tools, and for digitization contracts with third-party vendors.

The Board adopted this position at the ARL Membership Meeting in Houston, Texas, on May 22. The resolution was prepared in response to the concerns of membership that, as the amount of licensed content has increased, especially through packages of publications, nondisclosure or confidentiality clauses have had a negative impact on effective negotiations. The Scholarly Communication Steering Committee took the position that an open market will result in better licensing terms. In their discussions, the committee also noted the value of encouraging research projects and other efforts to gather information about the current market and licensing terms, such as an initiative being undertaken by Ted Bergstrom, University of California, Santa Barbara, Paul Courant, University of Michigan, and Preston McAfee, Cal Tech, to acquire information on bundled site-license contracts. A panel session on collaboration held later in the Membership Meeting included informal polls of members and the results indicated high levels of agreement and a positive commitment for making this information public when possible.

“Openness, transparency, and collaborative action have been the hallmarks of the library profession and the scholarly community,” said Jim Neal, Columbia University, and Chair of the ARL Scholarly Communication Steering Committee. “It is incumbent upon us to share information about these major contracts we are signing on behalf of our library users.”

“While research libraries may have in the past tolerated these clauses in order to achieve a lower cost,” acknowledged Charles B. Lowry, ARL Executive Director, “the current economic crisis marks a fundamentally different circumstance in the relationship between libraries, publishers, and other vendors.” ARL will be establishing a mechanism by which its members can share information with one another about their agreements.

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 123 research libraries in North America. Its mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the Web at http://www.arl.org.

P.S.: Über die Mailingliste der ARL-Bibliotheksdirektoren ging am Freitag die Nachricht, dass der Whitman County Superior Court einen Antrag auf einstweilige Verfügung von Elsevier abgelehnt hat, mit dem der Verlag der Washington State University untersagen wollte, einem Public Records Request zu entsprechen, den Ted Bergstrom, Paul Courant und Preston McAfee zum Lizenzvertrag von Elsevier mit WSU gestellt hatten. Elsevier sah „confidentiality of its proprietary pricing methods and formulae“ verletzt, das Gericht hat „Full Disclosure“ verfügt.

Update 24. Juni: Julia Blixrud hat mir soeben die offizielle Pressemitteilung geschickt:

Elsevier Motion to Block License Release Denied in Open-Records Decision
Full Disclosure of Public Records Favored in Washington State
For immediate release:
June 23, 2009

For more information, contact:
Julia C. Blixrud
Association of Research Libraries
202-296-2296
jblix@arl.org

Elsevier Motion to Block License Release Denied in Open-Records Decision

Full Disclosure of Public Records Favored in Washington State

Washington DC–An injunction filed by Elsevier to block release of information included in a licensing contract between the publisher and Washington State University (WSU) was denied by a court in the state of Washington last week. A public-records request for contract terms had been submitted to the university by researchers gathering data on the terms of large-publisher bundled contracts.

Whitman County Superior Court, State of Washington, ruled Friday, June 19, 2009, in favor of full disclosure for a public-records request submitted to Washington State University by Ted Bergstrom, Paul Courant, and Preston McAfee for license information regarding the WSU-Elsevier contract. On June 9, Elsevier had filed a Motion for Injunction against release of the data. According to court papers, the plaintiff argued that disclosure of the Elsevier-WSU contracts would „disclose aspects of Elsevier’s pricing methods and formula so as to produce private gain and public loss. Such disclosure would violate Elsevier’s rights under Washington statutes…to preserve the confidentiality of its proprietary pricing methods and formulae.“

„We could see no reason why the open-records request should not be fulfilled in this case,“ said Jay Starratt, Dean of Libraries, Washington State University. „As a member of ARL’s Scholarly Communication Committee, I am interested in the results of the data analysis being conducted by the researchers.“

Researchers Ted Bergstrom, Professor of Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Paul Courant, University Librarian, Dean of Libraries, and Professor of Public Policy, Economics, and Information, University of Michigan, said, „We believe that state open-access laws serve the public interest by requiring full transparency of contracts that involve millions of taxpayer dollars. We will continue to collect and analyze the terms of ‚Big Deal‘ contracts signed by a large number of universities and to share this information with the library community. We appreciate the efforts of university librarians who have helped us to collect contract information and we are grateful for ARL’s support and encouragement.“

It is not enough for institutions to assume that public-records requests will ensure that information about contracts and licenses can be made publicly accessible. Last month, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Board of Directors supported a resolution to encourage its members to refrain from signing nondisclosure agreements with publishers and to share information about their agreements, insofar as possible, with each other. Tom Leonard, President of ARL and University Librarian, University of California, Berkeley, said, „By responding to an open-records case in this manner, Elsevier has only increased our resolve to push for both open contracts and public disclosure of terms in our negotiations. This case is a telling example of why we should not be signing these nondisclosure agreements.“

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 123 research libraries in North America. Its mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the Web at http://www.arl.org.

Association of Research Libraries
21 Dupont Circle NW, Suite 800 | Washington DC 20036 | 202-296-2296
http://www.arl.org


Ein Gedanke zu „Association of Research Libraries (ARL) fordert: keine Geheimhaltungs- oder Vertraulichkeitsklauseln in Lizenzverträgen akzeptieren! Elsevier-Intervention bleibt erfolglos

  1. Die PM vom 5. Juni hatten wir auf Archivalia schon am 6. Juni, vgl. ?p=21077. Sorry, trotz Vorrecherche erst jetzt wiedergefunden. Dass sie es bei bloßen Absichtserklärungen nicht belassen wollen, haben die amerikanischen Kollegen jetzt eindrucksvoll unter Beweis gestellt. In Deutschland sieht es diesbezüglich trüber aus, vgl. die Verträge der BSB mit Google (nicht öffentlich, anders als bei Michigan) oder die Versuche von Klaus Graf, Licht in das Dunkel von Public-Private-Partnerschaften zwischen Bibliotheken und Verlagen in Deutschland zu bringen, zuletzt ?p=21011 Der Vorstoß der ARL für mehr Transparenz ist zu begrüßen und auch hierzulande muss sich die Einstellung hierzu ändern. Als wir vor Jahren mitgeholfen haben, den Protest gegen die damalige Lizenzpolitik der Nature Publishing Group zu organisieren („Nature – what other libraries say“), war die Herstellung von Transparenz auch hinsichtlich der Preispolitik des Verlages ein wichtiges Ziel, was vom Verlag nur zögerlich akzeptiert und auch in eine eigene offenere Informationspolitik umgesetzt wurde. Für den Erfolg der Verhandlungen zur Etablierung des GASCO-Nature Konsortiums (Deutschland, Österreich, Schweiz) war diese Transparenz damals enorm wichtig, weil sich die einzelnen regionalen Konsortien nicht mehr gegeneinander ausspielen ließen.

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