ARL Encourages Members
to Refrain from Signing
Nondisclosure or
Confidentiality Clauses
he ARL of Directors voted in support of a resolution
introduced by its Scholarly Communication Steering Committee to
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
RLI 264 1
For further developments in this arena, monitor the ARL
Web page on licensing
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