I would like to share an article (in Italian) by Maria Chiara Pievatolo, professor of Political Philosophy at Università di Pisa, published on Bollettino Telematico di Filosofia Politica in June.
Starting from an oldest article by J.C. Guedon, professor at the Université de Montréal and Chair of the Advisory Board for Canadian National Site License Project between 1998 and 2003, she raises the issue of spending that libraries support for subscriptions to scientific journals and databases: huge and lacking on transparency.
This is sadly true. As Guedon writes on his answer to Maria Chiara Pievatolo’s article, “For years, publishers have played a "prisoner's dilemma" game by having libraries signing non disclosure clauses on the results of their negotiations in order to keep what was presented as a tailored privilege”.
And he continues: “It is indeed high time that libraries should react with a symmetrical panoptic device to bring back some degree of balance to the power relationship between publishers and libraries”.
As antidote he suggests the creation of a national and public database containing all the licensing results and costs per publisher with the detailed description of the services offered. “This panoptic device should be explicitly designed to avoid having some librarians punished for not obtaining the best deals. This is not a ranking device, but rather a documentation of the arbitrary spread of prices, when they are the results of opaque negotiations”.
Finally, I am totally agree with Guedon when he says that Italian libraries should spend part of their budget in supporting a national open access initiative as the Brazilian SciElo,
although it is very difficult to carry on this kind of project.
Click here to read the article on Bollettino Telematico di Filosofia…
…and here to read Guedon’s answer.