Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Note to Faculty: Harvard Business Review for Course Work

As you may already know, one of the crown jewels of Ebsco's top-of-the-line business database, Business Source Complete (BSC), is their complete run (back to 1922!) of the Harvard Business Review (HBR), one of the most important business journals ever published. A mix of the popular and practical with the highly academic, HBR is, indeed a valuable journal. That's why B-school professors are often interested in using articles from it for class readings.

Although HBR is in our database with full-text PDFs, you may have noticed the scary warning at the end of the articles that reads:

"Harvard Business Review Notice of Use Restrictions, May 2009Harvard Business Review and Harvard Business Publishing Newsletter content on EBSCOhost is licensed for the private individual use of authorized EBSCOhost users. It is not intended for use as assigned course material in academic institutions nor as corporate learning or training materials in businesses. Academic licensees may not use this content in electronic reserves, electronic course packs, persistent linking from syllabi or by any other means of incorporating the content into course resources. Business licensees may not host this content on learning management systems or use persistent linking or other means to incorporate the content into learning management systems. Harvard Business Publishing will be pleased to grant permission to make this content available through such means. For rates and permission, contact permissions@harvardbusiness.org."

Generally, when a library leases a database, the use of persistent links (or PURLs) in BlackBoard syllabi would be considered "fair use" at that institution. But Harvard likes to write its own rules, and Ebsco is going along with it.

Therefore, even linking to the database record for an HBR article is, according to Harvard, not an "intended" use of database content, and according to them, verboten unless specifically licensed. So, as a faculty member at Suffolk, you might think that you (or the Bookstore, if they were helping to prepare your CoursePack) might have to email Harvard or go through a process at the Copyright Clearance Center to be able to use HBR for class.

Au contraire! As it so happens, our previous library director contracted via Ebsco to also license something called "Harvard Business Review for Course Work." We pay a large (and I would term it exorbitant) additional annual fee to cover course-related use of HBR. Exactly what does this extra fee cover? Harvard (and Ebsco) have always refused to spell that out. Early in our acquisition process I spoke to a Harvard rep. on the phone and tried to pin down the details. He was evasive. So I finally said that as far as I was concerned "anything short of handing out hundreds of copies of articles to strangers at Park Street Station was covered." And he concurred.

So, if you would like to use HBR in class, PLEASE DO SO. Although, as I say, we have no specifics for this so-called license. However, our interpretation of what we get for the fee is everything warned against in the above statement. That is, you may use HBR articles for:
  • Electronic Reserves
  • Course Packs (prepared by you or by the SU Bookstore for Suffolk student use)
  • Persistent Linking to BSC/HBR Articles in Online Syllabi, Emails or BlackBoard Postings
  • Even making Multiple Photocopies from a PDF and handing them out in class!
    Keep in mind that this is ONLY for HBR. For most articles that you find in one of our online resources (either from the publisher or an aggregator like Ebsco) putting a stable proxyized link--one requiring a Suffolk IP or authentication of the user--on a reading list in your class BlackBoard account would be considered appropriate, but making multiple copies and handing them out or reprinting the article in a course pack would NOT.

    (We are not copyright attorneys here at the Library, but if you are interested in delving into the nature of "fair use," you might want to look through our LibGuide on the Ethical Use of Information.)

    We pay this very large fee to keep all Suffolk use of HBR covered, so please utilize this resource! Simply access the journal via links in our eJournal Locator or our Online Catalog, and identify the articles you want to use. Print them, download PDFs, or copy and paste the "Permalink" you can capture from a BSC record into your syllabus.

    Ignore the warnings at the end of articles and please do NOT pay additional fees at Harvard Publishing or at CCC for Suffolk use of HBR. (Alas, the fair thing would be for those warnings to not appear on our copies of HBR articles. And BSC Permalinks should only work for institutions that pay the extra fee, like us. Harvard Publishing and the CCC should also refuse to accept additional HBR fees from anyone affiliated with Suffolk. But the world is not a fair one, so it is important for you to remember that you are completely covered for all HBR use while you teach at Suffolk....and while we can continue to pay this fee.)

    If you want more information on PURL use in class readings, you might want to consult this general PURL guide and this one specific to BlackBoard.

    And happy reading in the Harvard Business Review!

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