Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Back to UKSG ... more workshop reports

Titles moving publisher

Workshop report by Nancy Buckley, Blackwell Publishing Ltd

The workshop was designed to gather feedback on the newly-formed UKSG project called Transfer. This group is looking at creating best practice guidelines and standards for the movement of titles between publishers. The ultimate aim of the group is to create an industry code of practice similar to the excellent work that the Project COUNTER organization has done for journal usage statistics.

The movement of titles brings a set of challenges for librarians, publishers and intermediaries. When discussing these challenges each of the workshops identified the following common themes:

For librarians the issue of perpetual rights was a huge problem. When a title moves publisher the librarian is unaware of the change until access is cut off due to a change of URL, or access arrangement. A particular frustration is when the librarian loses both access to the newly-published issues of the title, as well as those back-volumes that they have paid for in the past. Another key problem is when a title moves between two publishers who offer different pricing models: for example, a librarian may receive full access to a title via their consortium deal but when a journal moves, they have to resort to re-buying a journal subscription if the title moves to a publisher that does not offer a similar consortia-collection model.

Publishers attending the workshop highlighted how, upon receiving a journal, they often did not receive the required amount of subscription information required in order to be able to ensure uninterrupted access to the journal for the newly-transferred subscribers. Their call was for standards to ensure that a minimum amount of core information is supplied by the transferring publisher. They also emphasized that many of the contract decisions and timings of journal transfers were due to the editorial board or owner-society making decisions without understanding the consequences to their library customers.

The next half of the workshop examined the three core issues identified by Transfer as key areas for standards to emerge. The first was communication: the workshop considered who, what, when and how parties within the info chain can learn about title transfers. Agents were identified as being key stakeholders in ensuring that this level of information was provided to its library customers, but agents in turn rely on timely information from publishers. The second theme was legacy: how to track and record which volumes of a transferred journal are available, where they are hosted, and how to identify who has rights to them. All agreed that a central repository of such data would be extremely valuable to cope with these issues. Finally, we discussed packages and price models: looking at how journal transfers are handled in the context of the big deal in terms of pricing, access rights and licensing.

There are currently some good ALPSP guidelines in place that have been designed to guide society publishers through many of the issues identified above. The workshop discussed some of the more quantitative guidelines in detail and fed back on whether they were provided an adequate standard for best practice.

Results of the discussion of ALPSP guidelines:
• Both publishers to continue to offer parallel access for at least 6 months
The workshop delegates felt that this was satisfactory.
• Journal URL to be passed to new publisher OR a redirect in place for a minimum of 1 year
The workshop delegates felt that this was satisfactory.
• All subscriber details to be passed to new publisher. If agreement cannot be reached then subscription agents could help.
• Extension of grace periods, at least 2 months is recommended.
It was thought that 3 months would be more helpful.

The ALPSP guidelines can be found at:

For more information about Transfer please contact Nancy Buckley:

What colour is the sky on your planet?: embedding e-resources and independent learning skills into your universe

Workshop report by Jo Richler, Wigan & Leigh College

These two workshop sessions explored the potential of e-resources to facilitate and enhance the learning experience within the HE/FE culture. The workshops began with a contextual overview of the current drivers that are setting the e-learning agenda. Further education, in many ways, is much more attuned to the governmental directives because of the inspection regime and its prescribed performance indicators. QAA is also a force for compliance but is less ready to be prescriptive when reviewing the availability and accessibility of e-learning and e-resources. There is still much anecdotal evidence of QAA reviewers counting journal titles and ignoring an institution’s Athens portfolio.

Independent learning skills are still evolving as a means to convert lifelong learning into employability. The need for these essential skills at the beginning of any course of study is slowly being documented, but there is a particularly excellent research paper from the Open University. This paper looks at the cost of a range of learning interventions before the first assignment, contrasted to the cost of withdrawal.

The two workshops also looked at the methods of information gathering and analysis that people utilize in their everyday lives. For the participants of these sessions, going food shopping will no longer be just a needed chore, but an opportunity to explore how we all configure our learning styles to meet the task.


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