Nature Publishing Group and the University of California Call a Cease-Fire

Earlier this summer the California Digital Library (CDL) (responsible for the University of California library system) was faced with a serious increase in its subscription costs for journals from the Nature Publishing Group (NPG).  Given the difficult budget environment for the university system and the state, the CDL opted to propose a boycott.  The response of the NPG was to hold firm.

It would appear that while there’s not a resolution, there appears to be a pause in tensions.  The two sides met last week and issued a statement.  At the moment, it’s only available on the Nature News blog.  The key paragraph:

“Representatives from the University of California and Nature Publishing Group met on August 17, 2010 to discuss our organizations’ current licensing challenges and the larger issues of scholarly communication sustainability. The discussion was positive, with a full exchange of views and mutual recognition of the value that each of us contributes to the scholarly communication enterprise. Our two organizations have agreed to work together in the coming months to address our mutual short- and long-term challenges, including an exploration of potential new approaches and evolving publishing models. We look forward to a successful planning and experimentation process that results in mutual agreement that serves all stakeholder groups-NPG, the UC libraries, and the scholar community, thus avoiding the need for the boycott that had been discussed at an earlier stage.”

While the results of these discussions/negotiations will no doubt have impacts beyond NPG and the CDL, they are the only ones at the table right now.  Note that the statement says the boycott will not happen at the present time, but it remains on the table.  With no deadline connected to the initial boycott letter, it seems the smart play for now.

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