Norwegian Research Libraries Reach Agreement with Blackwell

16 March 2007

Translated from Norwegian site.

Lars Holger Ursen reports in the University of Bergen’s online news site, På Høyden, that Norway’s primary research libraries have now concluded a new agreement with Blackwell and that Blackwell Synergy’s electronic journals collection is already available to users of the University of Bergen library. In a collective move, Norway’s leading research libraries terminated their agreements with the publisher after being unable to reach an acceptable licensing agreement. This was an unprecedented move, and despite the fact that Norway is a small country, the action received the international attention of libraries, academics and publishers alike.

Librarian Ole Gunnar Evensen reported to På Høyden that he is “…first and foremost pleased that Blackwell found their way back to the negotiation table….Some of our demands were met but not all. The fact that [Blackwell] were willing to make compromises was an essential factor for us finally reaching an agreement. And it is better than that which was on the table before we broke off egotiations.”

The act of terminating licensing agreements with a publisher was an unprecedented move by the librarians, who have felt forced to accept agreements out of fear for the repercussions such a termination would have for their users. And while one might have considered the Norwegian move to have limited repercussions, given the relatively small size of the country, Evensen reported to På Høyden that a lesson can be taken from the experience: “[…] When [publishers] see that a small milieu in a small country does not immediately accept their premises, they take it seriously.”

See also the original news item from January 2.