“This is not the first time I’ve written about the Serials Crisis, but I would love for it to be the last. 1 The Serials Crisis is a short-hand term commonly applied to the multidecade-long effects of unsustainable serials cost increases as it affects relatively flat academic library budgets. 2 The crisis is currently in at least its fourth decade, which is to say it has defined the work of whole generations of library workers, myself included. A cursory review reveals it has been written about in the Serials Librarian at least 58 times, and referenced at least 907 times since 1981. 3 …
A quaint crisis by our current standards – the Serials Crisis was a symptom and indicator of the knowledge inequities that would explode in importance under the pressure of COVID-19. Here in the flickering last light of the inevitable destruction of the prestige economy, let’s confront the issue of access, which has always been the issue of cost. 4 …
[T]he Serials Crisis is one obnoxious fire we can put out with all this daunting, harrowing, and powerful urgency serving as a cap which deprives it of fuel….
This first installment of Resourcefully will give a quick overview of the Serials Crisis and present my preferred path forward, one that requires significant action from us all, and particularly our colleagues in publishing. Then, we can appropriately direct our attention to the bigger fires in the room….
Since we contextualize the Serials Crisis as a crisis of cost, content, and ownership, Transformative Agreements with their emphasis on costs, copyright, transparency, and transition, are the appropriate response. The issue, yet again, is consistency and parity….
I have wondered if publishing executives bemoaning piracy have contemplated how they might have avoided the rise of SciHub 15 if they had been more willing to work with libraries. Having priced libraries out of subscriptions, the costs imposed succeeded only in alienating readers from both their publications and from library services, effectively undermining both institutions. Ultimately, publishers lost revenue and libraries lost patrons. This lose-lose situation is the sad truth at the heart of the Serials Crisis itself….
It might be considered the first truly Transformative Agreement, as it would leverage a scale fit to actually transforming the marketplace itself. It would be neither a “Read-and-Publish,” nor a “Publish-and-Read,” rather it would be a “This-Is-What-It-Costs” deal for us all.
Of course, alternately, just one major publisher could make the change to signal the others, open their content and share their actual costs so we can figure out what a sustainable scholarly communication system is together. …”