|Weekly News Digest
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Cornell U Library Issues Statement on Journal Vendor Nondisclosures
To promote openness and fairness among libraries licensing scholarly resources, Cornell University Library announced it will not enter into vendor contracts that require nondisclosure of pricing information or other information that does not constitute a trade secret. All new and renewed licenses submitted with nondisclosure clauses will not be signed but henceforth will be referred to the associate university librarian for scholarly resources and special collections for further negotiation.
Occasionally in licenses governing electronic resources, publishers will request that the Cornell University Library (CUL) treat the subscription price as confidential information and not disclose it to third parties. In the past, some libraries have tolerated these clauses in the belief that they might result in a lower cost. This, however, is a position that CUL can no longer accept.
It has become apparent to the library community that the anticompetitive conduct engaged in by some publishing firms is in part a result of the inclusion of nondisclosure agreements in contracts. The more that libraries are able to communicate with one another about vendor offers, the better they are able to weigh the costs and benefits of any individual offer. An open market will result in better licensing terms.
Additionally, nondisclosure agreements conflict with the needs of CUL librarians and staff to work openly, collaboratively, and transparently. This conflict increases the likelihood that the terms of a nondisclosure agreement would be inadvertently violated, posing a threat to the university.
CUL endorses, therefore, the position of the Association of Research Libraries that its member libraries should not sign (or accept new or revised) agreements that include confidentiality or nondisclosure clauses. CUL will share upon request information contained in these agreements (save for trade secrets or proprietary technical details).
Source: Cornell University Library
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