Posted: 29 Feb 2012 06:58 PM PST
I’ve been away from DLTJ Thursday Threads for a while, but that doesn’t mean the fun hasn’t stopped. This week there are stories about the beginning and the end of the Research Works Act (again, one might add), Amazon’s continuing shifts in the ebook marketplace, and an announcement of beta access to OCLC’s Website for Small Libraries service.
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Research Works Act is Dead
The Research Works Act (RWA) had the stated intention “to ensure the continued publication and integrity of peer-reviewed research works by the private sector” but many saw it an attempt to reverse the mandatory NIH 12-month to open publication mandate and prevent similar mandates in other government agencies. (Go ahead, follow the link; the legislation is remarkably short!) The efforts against RWA got into gear when it was revealed that Elsevier was a top contributor to Representative Maloney, a co-sponsor to the legislation. That sparked a boycott of Elsevier by researchers that signed a statement that they would stop submitting papers, refereeing, and performing editorial work for the publisher; it was signed by 7,666 people so far.
This week Elsevier dropped support for the Research Works Act, followed shortly by the message from the legislation’s sponsors that they would suspend work on the act. A more in-depth message was posted to the LIBLICENSE-L list by a Elsevier vice president. This is, however, not the first time such legislation has been proposed and defeated; similar bills were proposed in two previous congressional sessions.
Amazon Gives (Access to Ebooks) and Amazon Takes Away
Within the span of a week we see these two stories about ebooks on Kindles. In the first, Amazon announced that the size of the Kindle lending library has reached 100,000 books, including “a third of the Top 20 Kindle Best Sellers in February.” Amazon also noted that “over 1 million KDP Select books [had been] borrowed since program began in December.” The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is not without controversy from publishers and authors, though, as Amazon extends its reach into the role of the traditional publisher.
In the second, Amazon pulled access to ebooks from the Independent Publishers Group (IPG) when the two parties could not reach an agreement on terms. IPG explains its reasoning but we have not seen a similar response from Amazon. This story has similarities to the Amazon/Macmillan rift two years ago. Amazon blinked in that plotline and restored Macmillan books to the Kindle store. It remains to be seen if something similar happens in this case.
OCLC Website for Small Libraries Project Goes Beta
OCLC’s project to offer Website for Small Libraries reached the beta stage earlier this month after a year in development. The early stages of development were covered previously in DLTJ, and it is good to see this project survive the early stages to make it to this point.
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