Embargoes and Moving Walls

What’s an embargo? What’s a moving wall?

Thousands of journals are now accessible online through full-text databases provided by Doherty library.  Due to that fact, some of our regular users have experienced the embargo.  Still others have run into a moving wall.  Have you?  Many publishers will not license a journal to a full text database without an embargo.  An embargo is a delay in making the full text content electronically available for articles cited in the database.  The moving wall can be said to represent that time period or gap between the latest issue of a journal available in the online database and the most recently published issues of the journal.  Embargoes vary – some titles have very short embargoes, perhaps a week or a month, others can have full text embargos that last up to a year or longer.  Publishers say they manage “print erosion” and maintain revenue opportunities through embargoes or moving walls.  In other words, libraries still have to maintain many print subscriptions in order to provide their users with the latest content available in embargoed journals, thus ensuring that publishers will not be faced with multiple cancellations of titles they choose to make available through online databases.


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