While the Northeast Research Libraries consortium (NERL) has considered
including author-rights language in its standard license, and Harvard University
experimented with the use of similar language in its publisher licenses several
years ago, the first major public example of
putting this approach into action was the
Max Planck Society’s agreement with
Springer announced in February 2008. In
this agreement, Max Planck authors’ works
at all 78 Max Planck Institutes and research facilities across Germany are
included automatically in Springer’s Open Choice program (which makes
individual articles openly accessible normally with payment of an extra fee).
The Max Planck-Springer arrangement was described in the press release as
“a 2-year experiment to investigate whether this construct is a more sustainable
business model for scholarly publication.” Two recent agreements with Springer
negotiated in the US—by the University of California and MIT—can provide
further detail on the kinds of license terms that should be considered.
University of California Agreement
The University of California system followed the Max Planck model,
incorporating an open-access publishing agreement into the three-year journals
license negotiated with Springer by the California Digital Library (CDL) on
behalf of the 10 UC campus libraries in 2008. Key characteristics of the UC
arrangement are: automatic inclusion of UC-authored articles in Springer’s
Open Choice program, which offers full and immediate access (in this instance,
without requiring separate author fees); author retention of copyright with
rights transferred to Springer under a license compatible with the Creative
Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license; and automatic deposit of the
final published articles in the eScholarship institutional repository managed by
the CDL’s eScholarship publishing program.
Like the Max Planck agreement, UC and Springer have framed this as a two-
year pilot and have agreed to cooperate in evaluation and analysis and to report
publicly on their findings. The agreement was developed in consultation with
the university’s faculty committee on the libraries and scholarly communication,
which endorsed the initiative and has asked the CDL to explore similar open-
access arrangements with other publishers.
RLI 263 35
Author-Rights Language in Library Content Licenses
C O N T I N U E D
APRIL 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
…there is both elegance and economy in linking access to
a publisher’s electronic journals with rights for the authors
who have supplied articles contained in those journals.