Alicia Wise, chief executive of the UK's Publishers Licensing Society (PLS) and also on secondment to the Publishers Association, explains why licences are particularly valuable now that so much content is digital
The attitudes of scholarly publishers to rights ownership and permissions have changed in the digital world, according to presentations at the London Book Fair. In a seminar at the meeting, John Cox of John Cox Associates presented findings from a recent study of 203 publishers’ practices.
The study followed similar ones in 2003 and 2005 and found some major changes over that time. One of the key differences was in the transfer of copyright. ‘There is a clear trend away from mandatory copyright transfer,’ said Cox.
The database and technology arm of the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) oversees access to a vast database of clippings from over 140 national and regional UK newspaper titles. The NLA’s subscription services have proved popular with a range of clients, and its database has grown by around half a terabyte per year.
Why have over 800 publishers – including the Times Online, the Wall Street Journal, The Independent, Penguin, and many other household names in 43 different countries – implemented a standard known as the Automated Content Access Protocol (ACAP) on their websites? The answer is simple – they have recognised that the time has come to send out a very clear signal about the need to maintain the rule of law.
GE Healthcare doesn’t have a library, it has a Knowledge Centre. Low-level seats, coffee tables and wireless internet access make it the kind of place where employees can work, browse the small collection of print journals, leaf through the latest medical standards in Pharmacopoeia or drink tea.
Just over two years ago, in the heart of the Nordic countryside, three women embarked on a new venture: to launch a journal publisher and consultancy service. As well as its all-female founding team and base away from any established commercial or publishing hub, the new publisher, Co-Action Publishing, has bucked tradition by opting for the open-access (OA) publishing model.
E-textbooks seem to be a hit with students and university staff, according to data collected so far from across the UK in JISC’s e-Book Observatory project. In the project’s two benchmarking surveys (in January 2008 and January 2009), which together gained over 48,000 responses, more than 60 per cent of the academic population said they used e-books.
The year 2009 is proving to be pretty grim. Library budgets – already under considerable pressure – are being cut further as the credit crunch takes hold. Several scholarly publishers have already had to cut staff. In times like this, it is all too easy to look to places like the marketing department to make short-term savings. But now, more than ever, publishers need good, strong marketing to differentiate their titles and to inform librarians, readers and authors about their ongoing strategy.