Jump to Content
December 20, 2014

Challenges to Licensing from Some Publishers

Last revised: February 10, 2014
Ivy Anderson, Director
Collection Development and Management
California Digital Library

The University of California libraries and the California Digital Library facilitate access to online resources through systemwide negotiation and licensing. At the same time, we seek to influence the marketplace through consortial licensing decisions. We think that we can best serve the long-term interests of UC faculty and students by insisting on resources that meet high standards for content quality, fair and affordable pricing, and licensing terms that allow broad access to our user community.

With a few publishers, these standards fall far short and become roadblocks in the licensing process. The following information is provided to explain to the UC community why systemwide licenses are not yet available for certain online resources. We continue to monitor these publishers and their licensing models in hopes of negotiating reasonable and acceptable terms for UC-wide access.

In most cases, the roadblocks to licensing center on sustainable pricing. There are serious budgetary issues facing the UC libraries which are discussed in a related public letter.

UpToDate (submitted by the UC Health & Life Sciences bibliographer group)

UpToDate is a popular online point-of-care clinical information resource that most of the UC Health Sciences Libraries wholly or partially fund for their campus' healthcare providers and medical students. Unfortunately, UpToDate's refusal to allow remote access to authorized users as part of their basic license fee, or to charge a reasonable extra amount, is of great concern to UC libraries. A recent price which UpToDate provided to UCSD to provide remote access with its contract would have cost an estimated $250,000 annually, on top of the annual license fee. Numerous UC and other academic health centers have raised this concern with UpToDate because their remote access policy is not in keeping with the policies of other publishers.

Remote access is vital for the UC community. Physicians often need to consult information resources in response to patient care needs while off-site. Affiliated medical students and residents often work rotations in clinical locations outside of the UC, or want to learn more about conditions they encountered as part of their studies from home. UpToDate's practice of not permitting remote access as part of the basic license fee falls outside the norms of pricing and standard features for electronic content. Due to this, the University of California Health and Life Sciences librarians feel obligated to alert the UC community about UpToDate's unacceptable licensing practices.

Past Activities

Nature Licensing Update (2012, 2007 and 2001)

Previous challenges including AAAS and Informa (2003-2011)

Last updated: March 17, 2014
Document owner: Ivy Anderson