Fighting Confidentiality in Library Contracts

June 8, 2009

The Association of Research Libraries has adopted a policy discouraging members from agreeing to confidentiality clauses in the deals they make with publishers and other vendors. While the policy excludes true trade secrets, it states that a growing trend of including confidentiality clauses makes it difficult for libraries to negotiate when they are seeking deals. “While research libraries may have in the past tolerated these clauses in order to achieve a lower cost,” said Charles B. Lowry, the association's executive director in a statement, “the current economic crisis marks a fundamentally different circumstance in the relationship between libraries, publishers, and other vendors.” The association plans to create a mechanism by which its members can share information with one another about their agreements.

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