NISO Issues Best Practices for Shared E-Resource Understanding (SERU)

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For immediate release:
February 6, 2008 For more information, contact:
Karla Hahn
Association of Research Libraries
NISO Issues Best Practices for Shared E-Resource Understanding (SERU)
Washington DC--The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has issued SERU: A Shared Electronic Resource Understanding, which codifies best practices for the sale of e-resources without licenses and is freely available from SERU offers publishers and librarians the opportunity to save both the time and the costs associated with a negotiated and signed license agreement by agreeing to operate within a framework of shared understanding and good faith. Publication of SERU follows a trial-use period of June through December 2007, during which time librarians and publishers reported--all positively--on their experiences using the draft document. Karla Hahn, Director, Office of Scholarly Communication, Association of Research Libraries (ARL), has co-chaired the Shared E-Resource Understanding (SERU) Working Group since it was formed just over a year ago. "SERU is a wonderful example of librarians and publishers working together to create a new option for electronic resource transactions that is convenient and legal," said Hahn. "By using SERU, librarians can avoid the delays involved with long negotiations while reducing the number of license agreements they have to handle." Working group co-chair Judy Luther, President of Informed Strategies, added, "Based on a decade of licensing experience, SERU represents widely adopted practices already in place in North America, and is both library- and publisher-friendly." "The SERU Working Group developed a document that addresses the key issues with subtlety and creativity, and they did it in record time," said Todd Carpenter, NISO's Managing Director. "The feedback we received during the trial use period was uniformly positive." The SERU Working Group was launched in late 2006 following the recommendation of participants in a meeting exploring opportunities to reduce the use of licensing agreements. The 2006 meeting was sponsored by ARL, NISO, the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), and the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP). More information about the SERU Working Group, including FAQs and an electronic mailing list, can be found at The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 123 research libraries in North America. Its mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is located on the Web at