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Archive of March, 2001 Nature survey
Survey no longer active

Nature Embargoes Some Current Information From Library E-Journal Access

Starting in March 2001, the Nature Publishing Group will impose a 3-month embargo on electronic access to parts of their journals. This will only be imposed on users accessing the journals through the library's Web site. For this and other reasons, several major research university libraries are boycotting licensing agreements with this publisher.

The OHSU Library has decided to purchase the electronic portion of the Nature publications this year under protest (see OHSU Library letter to Nature Publishing Group). This will give us time to poll library users about the effect of this embargo.

1. Which Nature publications do you regularly review (check all that apply)?
Nature Biotechnology
Nature Cell Biology
Nature Genetics
Nature Immunology
Nature Medicine
Nature Neuroscience
Nature Reviews Genetics
Nature Reviews Molecular and Cell Biology
Nature Reviews Neuroscience
Nature Structural Biology

2. What is the most frequent method of accessing these publications?


3. How will a 3-month delay of News and Views, Commentary, Correspondence, Book reviews, Essays and Progress updates in the Nature publications affect you? (check all that apply:)

No effect because I read the print version.
No effect because I don't find those parts of the publication of interest to me.
I will start my own personal subscription and get the complete contents on my electronic version.
I will come to the Library to read the embargoed portions
This practice will be detrimental to my research because I will not have access to the information when I need it.

4. Should the OHSU Library consider canceling electronic access in 2002 if the embargo policy is continued? The Princeton Biology Library, California Digital Library (All UC campuses), University of Chicago, Harvard Library and others are currently boycotting Nature electronic publications.

Next year the OHSU Library should:

Other comments:

If you would like us to e-mail you the results of the survey, please complete:




Results will be published in the OHSU Outlook and e-mailed to you if you provide your address. We encourage you to express your views directly to the Nature Publishing Group. Please e-mail Ms. Della Sar, Director of Global Marketing d.sar@nature.com, Ms. Annette Thomas, Managing Director a.thomas@nature.com or Mr. Philip Campbell, Editor, p.campbell@nature.com.

For more information on Nature's site licenses, please see http://www.nature.com/help/sitelicences/faqs/index.html

Preliminary Results of Survey

As of March 23, 2001

  • 129 people have responded to the Web survey

  • 53% (60/113) responded that the Library should drop the electronic journal subscription to Nature of they don't lift the embargo.

  • 47% (53/113) responded that the Library should continue the electronic journal subscription to Nature even if they don't lift the embargo.

  • 58% responded that the Nature embargo would be detrimental to their research because they would not have access to the information when needed.

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OHSU Library's Letter to Nature

December 12, 2000

Mr. Phil LoFaso
Vice President for Marketing
Nature Publishing Group
345 Park Avenue South
New York, New York 100010-1707

Mr. LoFaso,

The Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) Library Collection Development Committee is writing to express concern over Nature Publishing Group's pricing and policies for institutional licensing for Nature, Nature Monthlies and Nature Reviews. Our specific concerns are outlined below.

  1. Pricing. The cost obtained from your representatives for OHSU to provide access to the Nature print and electronic titles for 2001 has been set at $15,537. This includes access to the new Reviews titles that we are adding for 2001. This represents an increase of 334% over the $4,652 OHSU paid to Nature Publishing Group in 2000. Libraries cannot manage this kind of increase over a single year, particularly given the accompanying erosion in service.

  2. Site definition. Much of the price increase is related to the site definition and pricing model for Nature monthlies. OHSU consists of a geographically distributed campus on a single class B network within the same IP range. Full FTE from all locations was reported for pricing purposes. OHSU was considered multi-site and was therefore assessed fees both for the full FTE and for multiple-sites R a double assessment. We are told this represents an $89,408 savings over what we might expect to pay under this pricing model for the monthlies! The concept of a geographic site does not work in the networked, university environment. We encourage you to reconsider your pricing model.

  3. Currency. We have already expressed concern on this issue to our Library Relations Manager. A 3-month delay in making the full content available online, particularly with the extraordinary increase in cost - diminishes the value of the publications to our education and research community

  4. Licensing process. Three separate licenses will be required. According to your Web page, they can take 4-6 weeks to process. We encourage you to develop a single license for all publications to streamline the process. We also encourage you to work directly with vendors to facilitate institutional licensing.

Because we consider Nature publications vital resources we hope that Nature Publishing Group will revise these policies. We are encouraged by the extension of the current online access arrangements and hope you will continue to work on licensing polices and pricing that balance publisher needs with those of the research and library communities.

We look forward to hearing from you on these issues at your earliest convenience.


Cynthia R. Cunningham
OHSU Library Collection Development Committee
(503) 494-3481

Note: No response as of February 28, 2001

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