Digital Libraries Network is for health librarians and trainers in the UK, interested in promotion and training.

Monday, July 12, 2004

A call to arms

Many years ago as a member of CAMRA I was delighted to see the devastation dealt out to Watney's brewery as a result of their attempt to turn the synthetic gnat's pee they brewed under the banner the Red Revolution into the nation's favourite tipple. Thanks to CAMRA's well-judged adverse publicity Watney's had to withdraw its brand name, repaint all its pub signs, and recommence brewing proper beer. If a group of bearded drunkards can bring a brewing giant to its knees in this way I see no reason why a group of well-motivated health librarians can't deal a crippling blow to those elements of the publishing industry which so obviously deserve it.

I'm sick and tired of publishers' withdrawing their journals from Proquest out of fear that there'll be a huge drop in the number of their print subscriptions - and I'm sure I'm not alone in this.
Let's pick on a publisher - BMJ journals would be a good start - and all cancel our subscriptions to their stable of journals. Let's tell our library users that we won't be stocking these journals until the publisher changes its ways, and that anyone wishing to read one of the papers in a BMJ journal will have to apply to British Library, at the full, non-NHS subsidised rate, oh, and that their requests will go to the bottom of the pile because we're very busy for the next month or two.

I don't believe that patients treatment would result from this drastic action: I have sufficient respect for my fellow health librarians' judgement and discretion to know that they'd make exceptions in those cases where patient treatment was an immediate issue, and that clinicians would lose no time in telling us which cases thoses were. At worst, one or two consultants might have their noses put out of joint, and at best we'd strike a might blow for freedom of scientific information.

To the barricades...


  • At 7:05 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And of course in the same breath we could mention Open Access and the NHS and HE deals with Biomedcentral ....cease the power!


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