Care before speed – The Guild

The Norwegian government has decided that Norway will join the ambitious open access strategy, ‘Plan S’, which was signed by the European Research Council (ERC) and other research funders from ten European countries….

Let me start by saying that I wholeheartedly support ‘Plan S’’ vision, “open science for the benefit of all,” and the University of Oslo is ready to contribute to open access, both in national and European contexts….

However, implementing Plan S would be unwise without having proper transition tools and due consideration of the implications for research practices. Today’s publishing system is the starting point for everything from international rankings and institutions’ budgets, to evaluations and recruitment. A hasty implementation of Plan S could mean that our researchers cannot publish in today’s leading journals, thus reducing their attractiveness and competitiveness for positions and projects in the global research ‘market’. …”

The “Plan S” blog: Is the EU’s open access plan a tremor or an earthquake? | Science|Business

On the surface, Plan S looks like the breaking of the scientific publishing mould. An initiative of Science Europe and Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s former open access envoy, it stipulates that, by 2020, taxpayer-funded research results should be free to read immediately on publication.

It is a sharp departure – some would say threat – to the status quo. Depending on whom you talk to, the scheme, backed by a growing number of influential national funding agencies and research charities, represents the most promising effort to collapse paywalls in the world. But it is also opposed by some as a misguided attack on academic freedom (Read more here and here). And of course, it is also opposed by some scientific publishers.

In this rolling blog, we’ll be bringing you coverage and analysis of the multiple Plan S fissures more closely. The initiative’s organisers say they will publish feedback from their public consultation in the coming months, along with an updated version of the scheme’s ‘implementation plan’. Following, in no particular order, is a summary of some of the Plan S feedback already out there in the world….”

Elsevier, U of California Still Yet to Reach Deal

[This article appeared just before UCalifornia announced that it was cancelling its Elsevier subscriptions.]

“The system has threatened not to renew its contract unless Elsevier, a major academic publisher, makes substantial changes to the way it charges authors to read and publish research.

The system’s subscription with Elsevier ended on Jan. 1, but UC access to journals has been extended while negotiations are ongoing.

In an email to editors of Elsevier journals who are part of the UC system yesterday, the publisher said that discussions with system representatives have been “close and productive” but have not yet resulted in a deal….

Jeff Mackie-Mason and Ivy Anderson, UC’s lead negotiators, said they had responded to Elsevier’s latest offer in writing on Monday. “We are disappointed to see from their letter to UC editors today that they are not considering the conditions that we shared with them in that communication, and that we have been steadfast in for months.”  …”

Letter to Elsevier Editors in UC [U of California] System

[This undated letter was apparently sent before U California announced that it was cancelling its Elsevier journals, February 28, 2019.]

“We are writing to you in your capacity as a UC-based editor of an Elsevier journal. You might be following the University of California’s (UC) ScienceDirect renewal discussions, and as such, we would like to provide you with an update regarding the latest developments….

Despite our best efforts, it is still possible we may not reach an agreement. Given the flexibility and uniqueness of our offer this would be disappointing and not the outcome we want. We are making every effort to prevent a scenario where the UC loses access to new Elsevier content….”

U. of California System Cancels Elsevier Subscriptions, Calling Move a Win for Open Access – The Chronicle of Higher Education

The University of California system is calling it quits with Elsevier, one of the biggest academic publishers in the world, after months of contract negotiations. The announcement that the 10-campus system would cancel its Elsevier subscriptionsrepresents a win for open-access advocates who saw the talks as a way for major research universities to reshape the lucrative landscape of academic publishing….”

University of California Academic Council Statement on the University’s Negotiations with Elsevier Publishing

“The Academic Council of the Academic Senate of the University of California (UC), hereby signals its collective and resolute commitment to support UC’s negotiating position with Elsevier in order to advance UC’s mission as a public institution, make the products of our research and scholarship as freely and widely available as possible, and ensure that UC spends taxpayer money in the most ethically, morally, and socially-responsible way when entering into agreements with commercial publishers….

At the present time, UC and Elsevier have reached an impasse in their negotiations and our contract has lapsed. Nonetheless, the Academic Council of the Academic Senate stands firm in its conviction that a comprehensive transformative agreement that covers all Elsevier titles is required to achieve the aspirations embodied in the Academic Senate’s Open Access Policy, and articulated by the University Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication (UCOLASC) in its Declaration of Rights and Principles, and by the Systemwide Library and Scholarly Information Committee (SLASIAC) in its Call to Action. We support the unified strategies of the UC libraries to ameliorate the negative effects of the impasse on faculty, researchers, and students, and applaud their efforts to closely monitor alternative access along with the impacts it may have on research and teaching….”

UC terminates subscriptions with world’s largest scientific publisher in push for open access to publicly funded research | University of California

“As a leader in the global movement toward open access to publicly funded research, the University of California is taking a firm stand by deciding not to renew its subscriptions with Elsevier. Despite months of contract negotiations, Elsevier was unwilling to meet UC’s key goal: securing universal open access to UC research while containing the rapidly escalating costs associated with for-profit journals.

In negotiating with Elsevier, UC aimed to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery by ensuring that research produced by UC’s 10 campuses — which accounts for nearly 10 percent of all U.S. publishing output — would be immediately available to the world, without cost to the reader. Under Elsevier’s proposed terms, the publisher would have charged UC authors large publishing fees on top of the university’s multi-million dollar subscription, resulting in much greater cost to the university and much higher profits for Elsevier….”

Breaking: UC terminates subscriptions with Elsevier in push for open access to publicly funded research | UC Berkeley Library News – []

While we did make progress, particularly in the past few weeks, toward defining a model for open access publishing of UC research, Elsevier was ultimately unwilling to meet UC’s key goal: securing universal open access to UC research, as stated in UC’s faculty-driven principles on scholarly communication, while integrating open access publishing fees and subscription fees into a single cost-controlled contract….”

Much Ado About MOOCs: Where Are We in the Evolution of Online Courses? | EdSurge News

A lot has changed since 2012 or, the year the New York Times dubbed the “Year of the MOOC.” The premise back then was that classes would make high-quality online education accessible for all—and for free. Today, many MOOC providers now charge a fee. They’ve rolled out bundles of courses called ‘Specializations’ or ‘Nanodegrees.’ And popular providers like Coursera and edX are increasingly partnering with colleges and universities to offer MOOC-based degrees online.

So, seven years after the “Year of the MOOC,” we’re wondering: Where are these courses and companies today? And how are universities responding?…

Last year, the number of learners who had taken at least one MOOC crossed 100 million, but the number of learners added was just 20 million, which was less than 23 million for the last two years. So the rate at which new users are coming into the MOOC space is decreasing.

The number of courses has been growing steadily at the same rate now. We have more than 11,000 courses from 900 universities. As for the MOOC providers, Coursera is the biggest one—with the most revenue and the most number of users, and also the most number of employees. Udacity ended 2017 with 500 employees, but they had layoffs, and ended 2018 with 330 employees….”


“SSHOC will realise the social sciences and humanities part of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) by offering a scalable and flexible access to research data and related services adapted to the needs of the SSH community.

SSHOC will leverage and interconnect existing and new infrastructures from the SSH ERICs to foster synergies over disciplines and foster interdisciplinary research and collaboration.

SSHOC will maximise re-use of services and data through the application of Open Science practices and apply the FAIR principles to the management of data to increase the efficiency and ease in creating and re-using them….”