Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cornell University: "That's It!" To Library Vendor NDAs

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, news that the Cornell University Library system has decided to cease entering into contracts with vendors that require non-disclosure agreements concerning pricing. Here is the library's statement from its website.

To promote openness and fairness among libraries licensing scholarly resources, Cornell University Library will not enter into vendor contracts that require nondisclosure of pricing information or other information that does not constitute a trade secret.

With the full support of the faculty library board and the Provost, the Library undertook this policy change in early 2011. It had become apparent to the entire community that the anticompetitive conduct some publishing firms engage in results partially from these nondisclosure agreements in contracts.

The more libraries can communicate with one another about vendor offers, the better they are able to weigh the costs and benefits of any individual offer. These limiting clauses, therefore, hinder the Library's ability to work openly, collaboratively and transparently.

Many state university library systems can disclose pricing under sunshine laws.

The price of scholarly journals have been steadily eating away at library budgets for years, and prices are still going up. Here's a link to a 2009 article on journal prices and their impact on budgets from Library Journal.

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