Access To Research Comes At A Price

Chris Flegg | Financial Times | October 23, 2013

Saïd library will not pay additional fees to point to Harvard Business Review content

In 2008, the Sainsbury Library at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, with a number of specially selected libraries, was “invited” to take part in a “pilot” to pay EBSCO, the journal aggregator, an additional amount of money for the privilege of using URLs to point to Harvard content contained in our existing subscriptions. The Sainsbury Library refused and, with other defiant libraries, entered a period of irritation, impasse and escalating pressure to pay up.

For a librarian, there is nothing more delicious than having a vociferous academic weigh in on their side in a battle they have been waging, without much external support, for years. Thus my delight in Joshua Gans’ attack on Harvard Publishing’s attempts to force libraries into paying additional charges so that these libraries can use URLs to point their users to Harvard content within database subscriptions for which the libraries have already paid a considerable sum of money.

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