Magazine article Information Today

Standardized Electronic Journal License Agreements to Be Developed

Magazine article Information Today

Standardized Electronic Journal License Agreements to Be Developed

Article excerpt

Five leading subscription agents, including the Dawson Information Services Group (ISG) and The Faxon Company, have announced the development of a suite of generic standard licenses for electronic journals. The subscription companies, working in close consultation with publishers and librarians, have engaged the services of John Cox, an international publishing consultant specializing in licensing and content management, to draft the generic licensing agreements. The other subscription companies are Blackwell's/Swets, EBSCO, and Harrossowitz.

The licensing project has been dubbed the "Big Easy License" because of the group meeting at the ALA (American Library Association) conference in New Orleans. The standardized license agreements are intended to eliminate the burden and frustration of electronic journal acquisitions by providing both the library and publishing communities with greater uniformity and consistency during the licensing of electronic journals.

After consultation with vendors, publishers, and librarians, four standard license agreements have been developed. There are two academic licenses--one for single institutions and one for consortia, a public library license, and another one for both corporate and other special libraries. The initial license development was completed by thc end of July, with plans to have the agreements in place for the 2000 subscription year.

For use by publishers, subscription agents, and libraries, the model licenses are now available at According to the company, the standardized license models will be enhancements of existing work; international in applicability; sufficiently flexible to account for the varying needs of different types of customers; comprehensive (clauses can be selected to compile licenses appropriate to each situation); and the result of discussion between experienced librarians, publishers, and the major subscription agents.

"License negotiation represents a considerable administrative burden to both publishers and librarians. Both sections of the community are crying out for rationalization and harmonization of the many forms of words used to implement license transactions," said John Cox.

"For the past 3 years, our library customers have told us they want our help with the licensing of electronic journals," said Jan Peterson, Dawson ISG's vice president of publisher relations and content development, who has been very involved in the project since its inception. …

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