Librarians react against Harvard Publishing’s latest restrictions

For Immediate Release
Fri, 11/08/2013


Leighann Wood

Membership Assistant

Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)

CHICAGO — Effective August 1, 2013, Harvard Business Review (HBR), exclusively available in full-text from EBSCO, restricted access to 500 of its most used articles. The ability to print, download, or link to these articles has been removed and will only be restored for those subscribers who pay substantial additional fees. HBR cites a need to preserve revenue they receive from reprints used as course readings. The move has caused widespread concern among librarians about the erosion of access to this key publication and fears that this may presage similar moves by other publishers. This change also raises questions about the compatibility of HBR’s revenue-driven and curriculum-focused strategy and the ideals of scholarly communication.

A task force sponsored by the Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS) of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) was convened at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago to formulate a response. The resulting document reflects fact-finding done by task force members and recommendations for librarians coping with this challenge and can be accessed here: hope this will encourage further discussion and increased cooperation among librarians, publishers, and information users.

The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Learn more about the association at