Findings and Conclusion
As online-only subscriptions become the norm, there is an increased need to
secure the right for research libraries to conduct ILL, and to do so in a standard
and reasonable fashion.
Some licenses forbid ILL and prevent additional users from obtaining the
materials they need. As a result, as was done last year with confidentiality
clauses, ARL may wish to consider making specific ILL rights a deal-breaker.
Research libraries will have to carefully decide when to insist on ILL privileges
in new products and for renewal licenses that frequently have variant terms.
One approach may be to make this request of publishers where our faculty
editors and society officers can best assert their influence.
An important part of the strategy will be the definition of a uniform method
of dealing with licenses that are silent on the issue. It appears that there is no
consistent approach by legal counsel. ARL directors may wish to consult with
local counsel as to what constitutes a safe harbor especially as state law and
university legal policy may well vary among public institutions. (See Appendix
A for further information.)
It would be useful to articulate clearly ILL clauses that are consistent with
research libraries’ missions, ILL best practice, and ILL management tools. In
looking over the variety in licensing language used to describe ILL permissions
for e-journals, it becomes clear that there is greater need on the part of publishers
and negotiating librarians for understanding of ILL workflow and the tools used
to support it. Certain features of ILL permissions are favored by ARL libraries
because they replicate best practices established in the print environment.
Library-friendly ILL license language may include such features as:
Include a licensing provision stating that nothing in the license may
restrict exceptions permitted under copyright law.
Confine constraints on ILL permissions to the lending libraries. Just as
libraries cannot control the behavior of their users, they cannot monitor
or control the behavior of the borrowing library.
Do not restrict ILL to same country. Restricting to the same country was
not a condition governing print ILL, and it imposes a needless constraint at
exactly the moment we are entering into an increasingly global information
age. A better response to create shared understandings of what constitutes a
responsible ILL transaction is to develop international standards.
RLI 275
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White Paper: Trends in Licensing
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C O N T I N U E D
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JUNE 2011 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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