(2 June 2016) NSLA regrets that negotiations with SAI Global for continued community access to Australian Standards have been unsuccessful. Commercial publishing, marketing and distribution of Australian Standards is exclusively licensed to SAI Global.
Encouraged by the testimony of SAI Global CEO, Mr Peter Mullins, during a public hearing of the Western Australian Inquiry into access to Australian Standards adopted in delegated legislation, NSLA’s eResources Consortium commenced discussions with SAI Global in the hope of reaching an agreement that would provide a fair price and improved terms and conditions for access by the general public to Australian Standards which are vital to enterprise and innovation.
On 15 April 2016, NSLA ended negotiations with SAI Global as it was not possible to arrive at a mutually acceptable and sustainable agreement. Online access to the Standards has or soon will cease at the State Libraries of Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, and at the National Library of Australia.
“Despite lengthy negotiations, SAI appear not to understand the community interest in the availability of Standards to the public through libraries,” says Dr Alex Byrne, Chair of NSLA and NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive.
SAI have maintained an unrealistic price point and continue to restrict access to use in libraries and employ an outdated technology platform. The publishers’ licence agreement allows SAI Global to increase the price of Australian Standards up to CPI plus 5% per annum. Dr Byrne notes that, “Increases above CPI are not sustainable for libraries.”Online access by library users without the need to visit often distant libraries is crucial especially in regional and remote areas.
SAI Global proposed a licence that would restrict or override exceptions embodied in the Australian Copyright Act. NSLA could not agree to licences which do not permit use at a minimum as allowed under Australian copyright law.
“The current model of access executed under the publishing licence agreement between Standards Australia and SAI Global is broken,” says Dr Byrne.
NSLA urges the Australian Government and Standards Australia to investigate mechanisms to improve public access to Australian Standards.
The announcement is here.