Monday, May 21, 2007

Is LWW Shooting Themselves in the Ovid Foot?

I sat in on the EBSCO sunrise seminar Monday morning. The clock was winding down for CINAHL access through Ovid, so I figured I better sit in on the EBSCO seminar to learn more about CINAHL through them.

Sam Brooks, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing began to discuss the amount of full text journals within CINAHL full text. Among the 579 full text journals, 348 have no embargo, 12 have a 90 day or less embargo, 132 have a 7-12 month embargo. There were no journals with an embargo greater than 12 months and there were approximately 12 journals that have a permanent embargo.

What is a permanent embargo? These are the LWW journals that used to be full text within EBSCO CINAHL but are no longer available full text for new articles. This brought up an interesting little revelation.

According to Brooks, the reason Ovid will not have CINAHL is because LWW (who owns Ovid) pulled their full text journals from EBSCO. He said EBSCO has offered to let Ovid have CINAHL back again if they (LWW) will allow full text articles back into the EBSCO databases.

So in the middle of the political business game of keep away, librarians are the victims. But I am wondering if LWW didn't end up shooting themselves in their Ovid foot. I have spoken to many librarians who have Ovid who are beginning to wonder if it is really worth keeping Ovid once they lose CINAHL. After all, Medline is free through PubMed, CINAHL will only be through EBSCO, and there are a lot of other quality EBM databases out there.


MPeloquin said...

I was in the same session and, for all practical purposes, concur. I'm not sure why we librarians continue to hope that vendors will be altuistic. Afterall, they are in the business to make money. And, one makes money by keeping proprietary interests close to the chest. However, many of us like the Ovid searching interface and would have considered keeping it even with all that is occurring. We used to have both interfaces and would have continued that practice had LWW not made the choice for us.

Anonymous said...

The Ebsco interface for CINAHL is so sucky and I am tired of hearing Ebsco say they're working on improving it. Everytime they say they've improved something, you can barely tell anything has changed at all.

It's not the loss of full text access to LWW journals that bothers me. It's simply that this interface lends itself to keyword searching which is the exact opposite of what we teach nurses and nursing students to do in order to be evidence-based practitioners. Shame shame shame on EBSCO and Ovid for this spat that is not only affecting librarians, but is affecting the quality of searches nurses do related to patient care.

Scott MacFarland said...

As Vice President of Content Management here at Ovid, I am very familiar with our negotiations regarding CINAHL. Normally, I avoid skirmishes that could sound like “he said / she said,” but I have seen a great deal that makes me feel that the record needs to be set straight.

I will not characterize any particular statements, because, in fairness, I cannot be certain that the distortion was at origination or in generations of its telling. Nevertheless, I can be pretty specific.

According to this story, Mr. Brooks asserts that CINAHL will no longer be on Ovid after December 31, 2008 because “LWW (who owns Ovid) pulled their text journals from EBSCO.”

FACT: LWW -- which is Ovid’s sister company within Wolters Kluwer Health, not Ovid’s owner -- terminated its journal agreement with EBSCO in February 2004. EBSCO had already terminated databases from Ovid -- for example, the Information Science & Technology Abstracts database in July 2003 – immediately after acquiring those databases.

The story also states that Mr. Brooks said that “EBSCO has offered to let Ovid have CINAHL back again if they (LWW) will allow full text articles back into the EBSCO databases.”

FACT: EBSCO remains a valued LWW distributor and sells LWW print and online today, albeit its online distribution on EBSCOhost is on a non-current basis, as it opts to do with so many of its other peer-reviewed journal publishers.

I can say with certainty that Ovid’s management has done everything we reasonably could to retain for our users CINAHL access. It is a great database and we have tremendous respect for those who have developed it. Regrettably, EBSCO decided to terminate access despite our efforts, as is absolutely within their rights. Many of the finest medical librarians in the world are very disappointed because they strongly prefer Ovid as their search platform and particularly prefer Ovid’s implementation of CINAHL.

Scott MacFarland
Vice President of Content Management
Ovid, a Wolters Kluwer business

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