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Reprint Desk Merges CCC’s Rightsphere Into Document Delivery Service
Posted On December 8, 2008
A leading document delivery service, Reprints Desk (, has begun integrating the web-based SaaS Rightsphere service from the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC; into its STM Document Delivery service. CCC launched the Rightsphere service in 2006, the same year that Reprints Desk began operation. Although CCC, now celebrating its 30th anniversary, reportedly has thousands of companies and institutions using its sitewide licenses for copyrighted material, a representative indicated only a "couple dozen" companies use Rightsphere. However, those companies do come from the pharmaceutical, aerospace, and consumer goods industries. Reprints Desk has a strong customer base in the pharmaceutical and other research-oriented arenas. Reprints Desk executives indicate that they may expand their use of Rightsphere content and connections in the future.

CCC’s Rightsphere is a web-based application. Once corporate rights managers have identified their electronic holdings, contract conditions, corporate copyright policies, and other intellectual property factors, users within the corporation looking at a retrieved item can click on the item to retrieve lay-language explanations of what they can and can’t do with the material. (For descriptions of Rightsphere’s launch and recent improvements, go to the original June 12, 2006, NewsBreak, "Copyright Clearance Center Introduces Rightsphere for Copyright Compliance," by Barbara Brynko,, and the April 28, 2008 Weekly News Digest item, "New Enhancements Broaden Rightsphere’s Reach,"

With the new partnership with Reprints Desk, companies can adopt an integrated Rightsphere-STM Document Delivery service to extend permission coverage to articles ordered through Reprints Desk. Representatives from Reprints Desk report frequent requests from users as to the legitimate uses to which they can place retrieved material. Reprints Desk hopes to improve its ability to respond to such requests using Rightsphere content. The integration of the two services has begun, but representatives of both services concerns expect new opportunities to add value to their operations in the future.

At first glance, it would appear that combining the Rightsphere and the STM Document Delivery service would have limited affect. The STM Document Delivery is self-defined as a single article service. It currently relies on digital services from publishers and aggregators for less than 35% of its fulfillments. It would seem that most document delivery requests from even the "couple of dozen" companies using Rightsphere would come for items not currently available under license to those companies. Interestingly enough, Reprints Desk offers a service to customers it calls "bouncebacks." If Reprints Desk gets a request from a user within a company and recognizes it as an item already available inside the company under a license agreement with a supplier, it will alert the user. The arrangement with the CCC should make it easier to spot such "bounceback" situations.

Cost factors could strongly affect the future of this service. For example, the slow growth of Rightsphere over the last 2.5 years may be due, in part, to its annual $35,000-$75,000 fee on top of whatever institutional license fees companies make. CCC reportedly has such institutional site license arrangements with thousands of companies. In contrast, the Reprints Desk only charges companies $1,000-$3,000 to register their holdings and to enable the "bounceback" service. A Reprints Desk representative indicated that the fee for holdings was not always imposed annually; sometimes it was just a one-time fee. The company does charge $1 for each bounceback notification. Its regular document delivery charges are $15 per item, plus the copyright fees imposed by publishers, which can run in the $30 range.

However, in this tight economy, it becomes even more important to stay on top of all the options—from individual publisher website content to open access opportunities. For example, the National Institutes of Health, one of the world’s largest funders of medical research, mandates that results produced by its funding carry no additional charges. Since the CCC and Reprints Desk maintain records by title of periodical rather than at the individual article level, more digging may result in more savings. More proof why companies need in-house librarians to look after their interests? Sounds like an editorial.

Barbara Quint was senior editor of Online Searcher, co-editor of The Information Advisor’s Guide to Internet Research, and a columnist for Information Today.

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