Affordable Accessibility – UTC Magazine

“Fleming, scholarly communications librarian and coordinator of the UTC Library Affordable Course Materials Initiative, says those thoughts and actions evolved beyond ensuring internet access. A growing number of faculty were committed to making class resources and necessities more accessible to all students. 

She says faculty are now more committed to finding ways to get students the best, most affordable resources. “We had a huge increase in interest that’s persisted about creating affordable materials for students,” Fleming adds. …”

Reporting back on our ACRL 2021 conference panel: Open access investment at the local level – UC Berkeley Library Update

“Last year the UC Berkeley Library’s Collection Services Council charged a working group to develop local best practices to guide investment in open access (OA) products and services. Advancing open access to scholarship is one of the Library’s key goals, and addressing how and when UCB invests in OA resources and materials is one path to supporting this priority. In May 2020 the working group completed its report, recommending key criteria and a workflow for evaluating open access investment opportunities. 

Even though the Library is in the early stages of implementing the proposed criteria and review process, we submitted a proposal for the 2021 ACRL Conference to share our work with the broader academic library community and to receive feedback as we develop the process. We also wanted to hear how related projects address open access investments, and understand the challenges (and hopefully, solutions) others have encountered along the way. 

Our panel was titled Open access investment at the local level: Sharing diverse tactics to improve access & affordability. We know that many decisions about open access investments take place at administrative or consortial levels, but librarians frequently field requests for access, resources, or partnerships at the local level through their relationships with students, researchers, and faculty. The panel aimed to share real-world examples of where and how academic libraries decide to invest in open access resources, and discuss commonalities and differences in strategies and give attendees examples they can apply in their own roles….”

Open Access Charges – Consolidation, Increases, and Breaking Through the $10k Barrier – Delta Think

“To compare like for like, we analyze non-discounted, CC BY charges. Overall, list prices are increasing slowly, but with some outliers:

The big headline is the high-impact journals now offering OA options. This has pushed maximum APCs for hybrid journals to well above their previous limits of $5,900. This year, the maximum is now $11,390 (from the Nature research journals), with the Cell titles mostly coming in at $8,900 ($9,900 for the flagship Cell).
The highest prices for fully OA journals have risen from $5,435 to $5,560.
Fully OA journal APCs are less expensive than hybrid, averaging around 58% of hybrid average APCs. This difference has increased a few percentage points over previous years, representing a small convergence.
The average hybrid APC has increased by just over 5%. This is significantly larger than the 1% or so increases over the previous few years.
The average fully OA APC has increased by 8.5% over the last year – more than twice that of previous years….”

Assessing the size of the affordability problem in scholarly publishing [PeerJ Preprints]

Abstract:  For many decades, the hyperinflation of subscription prices for scholarly journals have concerned scholarly institutions. After years of fruitless efforts to solve this “serials crisis”, open access has been proposed as the latest potential solution. However, also the prices for open access publishing are high and are rising well beyond inflation. What has been missing from the public discussion so far is a quantitative approach to determine the actual costs of efficiently publishing a scholarly article using state-of-the-art technologies, such that informed decisions can be made as to appropriate price levels. Here we provide a granular, step-by-step calculation of the costs associated with publishing primary research articles, from submission, through peer-review, to publication, indexing and archiving. We find that these costs range from less than US$200 per article in modern, large scale publishing platforms using post-publication peer-review, to about US$1,000 per article in prestigious journals with rejection rates exceeding 90%. The publication costs for a representative scholarly article today come to lie at around US$400. We discuss the additional non-publication items that make up the difference between publication costs and final price.

Federal prisons abruptly cancel policy that made it harder, costlier for inmates to get books – The Washington Post

“Federal prison officials abruptly reversed a controversial policy Thursday that had made it harder and more expensive for thousands of inmates to receive books by banning direct delivery through the mail from publishers, bookstores and book clubs.

The restrictions were already in place in facilities in Virginia and California and were set to start this month at a prison in Florida.

Under the rules, inmates in at least four facilities were required to order books only through a prison-approved vendor and, at three of the prisons, to pay an extra 30 percent markup.

The reversal came after two days’ of inquiries from The Washington Post asking about the vendor, the markup and the rationale for the restriction.

Prison officials said in an email Thursday that the bureau had rescinded the memos and will review the policy to “ensure we strike the right balance between maintaining the safety and security of our institutions and inmate access to correspondence and reading materials.” …”