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Journal of Biomedical Science -- Publisher Change & Free Content

:: Interesting entry from George Porter on the perils of what can happen when an online journal changes publishers in midstream:

Journal of Biomedical Science moved from Karger to Kluwer (now Springer) at the beginning of 2005. Karger provides free access to much of the backfile and provides a link forward to the current website. Springer is not reciprocating, leaving users wondering whether/where the previous years of the journal may lurk on the web.

Journal of Biomedical Science
Fulltext v5-10 (1998-2003); v11 (2004) [subscription required]
Fulltext v12+ (2005+) [subscription required]
Print ISSN: 1021-7770 | Online ISSN: 1423-0127

There's an easily identifiable industry best practice for journals which change publishers, regardless of the contractual issues of what to do with the backfiles.

Best Practice: When an online journal title is transferred from one publisher to another, certain obligations are incumbent upon the former publisher and the current publisher.

The former publisher must acknowledge, from the same URL as previously used to deliver content:

  • that they published the journal for a specific period (volumes and years).
  • where new material may be found by providing a link.
  • in the event the former publisher no longer provides access to the actual content, what provision has been made (transfer to new publisher, transfer to owning society, etc) for current access to the material which they did publish.
The new publisher must acknowledge, from the same URL used to deliver new/current content:
  • the former publisher and the specific period issued from said publisher(s).
  • where older material may be found by providing a link(s).
  • in the event the new publisher does not provide access to the actual earlier content, what provision has been made (retention be former publisher, transfer to owning society, etc.) for current access to the earlier material which they did not publish.
- George Porter