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Consortia: anti‐competitive or in the public good?

Consortia: anti‐competitive or in the public good? Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report on research that examined the potential affects of academic library consortia activity on the scholarly publishing cycle. Design/methodology/approach – Semi‐structured interviews of 30 university librarians from across Canada and representatives from six federal government agencies involved in university funding, copyright and competition policy, were used to examine consortia activity in the broad context of the scholarly publishing cycle from the competing perspectives of the market economy and the public good. The principles of competition and copyright were used to define the theoretical premise of the research. Findings – University librarians primarily see consortia activity as supporting academic libraries' public good role of providing access to information as equitably and as barrier‐free as possible. They saw consortia as more than just buying clubs, but also as a means for libraries to share resources and expertise. Federal government agency representatives saw consortia activity firmly anchored in the market economy, levelling the playing field between libraries and publishers, and providing libraries opportunities to leverage their budgets. Research limitations/implications – This research was unique to the Canadian situation of federal funding of universities and only a sampling of university librarians was feasible. Practical implications – The results show a need to educate librarians and government funding bodies and policy makers as to the goals and outcomes of consortia activity. Originality/value – At the time of the defence of the thesis this work had not been done before. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Library Hi Tech Emerald Publishing

Consortia: anti‐competitive or in the public good?

Library Hi Tech , Volume 26 (2): 20 – Jun 13, 2008

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0737-8831
DOI
10.1108/07378830810880298
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report on research that examined the potential affects of academic library consortia activity on the scholarly publishing cycle. Design/methodology/approach – Semi‐structured interviews of 30 university librarians from across Canada and representatives from six federal government agencies involved in university funding, copyright and competition policy, were used to examine consortia activity in the broad context of the scholarly publishing cycle from the competing perspectives of the market economy and the public good. The principles of competition and copyright were used to define the theoretical premise of the research. Findings – University librarians primarily see consortia activity as supporting academic libraries' public good role of providing access to information as equitably and as barrier‐free as possible. They saw consortia as more than just buying clubs, but also as a means for libraries to share resources and expertise. Federal government agency representatives saw consortia activity firmly anchored in the market economy, levelling the playing field between libraries and publishers, and providing libraries opportunities to leverage their budgets. Research limitations/implications – This research was unique to the Canadian situation of federal funding of universities and only a sampling of university librarians was feasible. Practical implications – The results show a need to educate librarians and government funding bodies and policy makers as to the goals and outcomes of consortia activity. Originality/value – At the time of the defence of the thesis this work had not been done before.

Journal

Library Hi TechEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 13, 2008

Keywords: Academic libraries; Purchasing groups; Competitive strategy; Public interest; Canada

References