June/July 2009


Publishers relax author rights agreements

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.


Helping to do right with rights

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.


Partners in open access

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.


Study reveals e-textbook successes

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.


Marketing can help publishers weather the recession

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.