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Twenty publishers endorse UKSG’s TRANSFER Code of Practice

Access to over 8,000 journals now protected in the event of change of ownership

UKSG is pleased to announce that 20 publishers have now signed up to its TRANSFER Code of Practice, which provides best practice guidelines and outlines responsibilities to ensure that journal content remains easily accessible in the event of a change of ownership. This means that library and reader access to over 8,000 journals will now be protected in transfers between publisher signatories.

Major signatories to the code include Elsevier, Nature and Wiley, but it is equally appropriate to smaller publishers – those signed up so far include the American Diabetes Association, Earthscan and the Rural Sociological Society. UKSG’s objective is to persuade all publishers of the importance and value of endorsing the TRANSFER code. “Librarians must be increasingly rigorous in assessing the merits of journals and journals packages for renewal or purchase,” said Joan Emmet, NERL Program Librarian. “TRANSFER endorsement is a signal that a publisher understands its customers’ needs and is committed to providing a good level of service even in complex circumstances. By implementing standards of practice for the treatment of transfer titles, the job of keeping track of these titles becomes easier both for publisher and customer. The publisher who puts the code into practice will help set apart a journal/journals package when we are reviewing our collections.”

The TRANSFER Code of Practice was developed by a cross-party working group to resolve problems encountered by subscribers when journals move from one publisher to another. Many critical issues, such as continuity of access during a transfer or perpetual ongoing access to archives, were previously a grey area in journal sale agreements; this resulted in frustration for end users and librarians as key e-journals became temporarily or even permanently unavailable despite licence terms.

“The TRANSFER code has been extensively fine-tuned to balance the interests of its multiple stakeholders,” said Ed Pentz, TRANSFER Working Group Chair. “Libraries and their users benefit from minimal disruption during a transfer – and publishers benefit from the simplified workflow and associated reduction in costs of a standardised process. We’ve also taken great care to protect publishers’ competitive interests. The overall success of the Code depends on widespread adoption by publishers so we hope that many more will soon show their support for their customers by signing up.”

For more information, and to sign up to the TRANSFER Code, visit or drop by the UKSG Projects stand (85) at the UKSG exhibition in Torquay, UK from 31st March to 2nd April 2009.