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Taylor & Francis scraps licensing change after opposition from libraries

In the UK, Taylor & Francis has reversed its decision to charge extra for older journal material after more than 110 libraries in the UK and Ireland signed an open letter protesting the proposed change, reports the Bookseller.

The proposed change was to involve locking any content more than 20 years old behind a ‘moving wall’. Academic research that was previously available to university libraries under one ‘big deal’ license agreement (which provided access to digital records from the current year back to 1997) would then have to be purchased separately. The ‘moving wall’ meant that the 20-year cut-off date would move each year, increasing costs of the material.

The open letter, spearheaded by the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL), urged the publisher to drop the ‘moving wall’, calling the changes ‘opportunistic and potentially profiteering’. The letter stated that the ‘moving wall’ would ‘increase administration activities and costs substantially for libraries and for Taylor & Francis, impose direct additional licensing costs, and create confusion and annoyance for your customers and our reader communities’.

‘Diminishing this coverage is opportunistic and potentially profiteering within a sector which is recognised to enjoy substantial profit margins at present as it greatly monetises the outputs and inputs of publicly funded research,’ the letter stated.

Taylor & Francis, in a response dated 19 February, said it had received ‘considerable feedback’ on the new policy, and would ‘reinstate courtesy access back to 1997’ and will not enact the rolling wall for ‘full access’ customers.

‘We apologise for the concern that the new policy generated, this was resolutely not our intention,’ said the publisher.


Category: Library news International