Amazon under pressure to lift ban on e-book library sales | TheHill

“Amazon’s refusal to sell e-books published in-house to libraries is sparking backlash as demand for digital content spikes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Librarians and advocacy groups are pushing for the tech giant to license its published e-books to libraries for distribution, arguing the company’s self-imposed ban significantly decreases public access to information.

“You shouldn’t have to have a credit card in order to be an informed citizen,” Michael Blackwell, director of St. Mary’s County Library in Maryland, told The Hill. “It’s vital that books continue to be a source of information and that those books should be democratically discovered through libraries.”

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A petition launched last week by Fight for the Future, a tech advocacy group, calls for Congress to pursue an antitrust investigation and legislative action against Amazon for its ban on selling e-books to libraries. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had nearly 13,000 signatures….

Amazon has indicated it is in discussions to allow its e-books to be licensed by libraries, but so far the public institutions are unable to access Amazon’s digital titles.

Issues surrounding library e-books go beyond Amazon. Traditional publishers have become increasingly restrictive regarding e-books, Blackwell said, but they at least offer options for libraries to license and distribute those books.

The crux of the issue is how e-books are sold. Whereas libraries can lend out physical copies of purchased books for as long as they hold up, libraries must adhere to licensing agreements that constrain how long they can keep e-books in circulation.

The top publishing firms typically have two-year licensing contacts for library e-books, with options to extend for another two years, said Alan S. Inouye, senior director of public policy and government relations at the American Library Association.

But unlike their traditional publishing peers, Amazon does not allow libraries to purchase the e-books it publishes, leaving no option for libraries to access what Amazon says is “over 1 million digital titles” that consumers “won’t find anywhere else.”…”

Free the California Jury Instructions: Call for Legal Practitioner, Law Professor and Law Librarian Support for a California Rule Change Proposal

“We at the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law are representing Public.Resource.Org in a petition to the Judicial Council of California to clarify that California’s jury instructions are in the public domain and free for public use. We’re requesting support for the petition from legal practitioners, law professors and law librarians. Please consider signing the statement below; thank you!

Your name, title, and institutional affiliation will accompany the below statement as a signatory. Your affiliation is for identification purposes only; we will make clear that it does not imply endorsement by your firm, law school, or other institution….”

GitHub – FreeOurKnowledge/community: Place to discuss Project Free Our Knowledge (including campaign proposals, posted as separate Issues) and store project documents

“Academia functions like a ‘tragedy of the commons dilemma’ (or collective action problem) — the widespread adoption of open science practices could benefit everyone in the research community, but their adoption is impeded by incentive structures that reward sub-optimal research and publication practices at the individual level. Our platform functions much like Kickstarter, but for cultural change rather than products. Any researcher can propose a campaign calling for their peers to adopt a particular behaviour if and when there is a critical mass of support in their community to do so. Pledges remain inactive and anonymised until this time, allowing vulnerable individuals to signal their desire for positive culture change without risking their career in the process. Then — after the critical mass is met — all signatories are de-anonymised on the website and directed to carry out the action together, thus creating momentum for change and protecting one another’s interests through collective action. We envisage that over time, these campaigns will grow increasingly larger in size and scope, and eventually become a powerful driving force in aligning the academic system with the needs of research community and principles of science itself….”

Gold open access pledge

“Many journals place publicly-funded research behind expensive paywalls, costing the research sector billions of dollars every year and preventing access to life-saving research. Despite these harmful effects on the research community and broader public, many researchers continue to support paywalled journals because their ‘prestige’ is important for career progression. But at the same time, journal prestige depends entirely on the valuable articles and reviews we donate as a research community — if a critical mass of researchers were to unanimously declare their support for Open Access journals, the prestige of these journals would quickly rise and researchers would be free to support progressive journals without risk to individual careers.

By signing this campaign, you will pledge to exclusively support Open Access journals. Your pledge will only go into effect if a critical mass of peers in your field sign the same pledge (choose your own threshold when you pledge, according to your circumstances)….”

Academic libraries and coronavirus: a view from Italy

“A few publishers opened access to textbooks for students (but not so many indeed). Some Italian publishers and vendors followed the invitation that has come from many libraries and institutions to open up their collections, like that promoted by the Wellcome Trust. Many publishers responded positively and created free open access hubs to help researchers all over the world to find a cure for this terrible disease, and libraries highlighted them on their web pages. However, most publishers, either in Italy or internationally, just opened a selection of resources – and in some cases upon request – that they believe are useful to Covid-19 research, but they did not open all their publications to allow researchers to see and choose what can be really useful from the different scientific perspectives necessarily implied in this urgent aim. Definitely, what has emerged quite clearly from this pandemic emergency are the many obstacles and walls that prevent access to knowledge and science, as well as all the restrains current acquisitions methods for digital resources in libraries impose through clauses included in subscription licenses….

In the petition, libraries ask publishers to allow digital lending and direct document delivery with no restrains, and to allow opening of library collections temporarily to all users, including doctors and researchers not affiliated to academia who, according to license clauses, normally cannot access academic library resources. Moreover, The Library Commission of the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI) signed the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) Covid-19 petition for access to electronic resources from publishers….

This pandemic outbreak has clearly shown how crucial open access and open science have become. Researchers all over the world need to access data and knowledge quickly, as soon as it is produced, freely and without any limitation, in order to be able to defeat coronavirus. For this reason, AISA, an Italian Association for the promotion of Open Science, wrote a public letter to the President of the Italian Republic to ask for a serious and urgent national policy for open science, starting from rethinking research assessment and copyright laws….”

IFLA — IFLA Leads Open Letter on Intellectual Property and COVID-19

“Faced with the urgent need to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic and its consequences, it is vital to ensure that intellectual property laws and practices do not become a blockage. IFLA, working with its partners, has led in drafting an open letter to the Director General of WIPO to underline this point and call for action. UPDATE – over 312 organisations and individuals have now signed. …”

Gurry COVID Letter

“We write to you as organisations and individuals representing researchers, educators, students, and the institutions that support them, to encourage WIPO to take a clear stand in favour of ensuring that intellectual property regimes are a support, and not a hindrance, to efforts to tackle both the Coronavirus outbreak and its consequences….”

COVID-19: Call on WIPO to take a stand | EIFL

“EIFL worked with partner organizations in drafting an open letter to the Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr Francis Gurry, calling on WIPO to ensure that intellectual property (IP) systems are a support, not a hindrance, in global efforts to tackle the coronavirus crisis, and its consequences. The letter was signed initially by more than 140 organizations and individuals in 33 countries. Update 8 April: the letter has been endorsed by over 400 organizations and individuals in 45 countries.

The open letter highlights how the pandemic has shone a bright light on the importance of limitations and exceptions to IP rights to enable scientific discovery and human flourishing. For example, a Canadian text and data mining project that scoured copyrighted news articles, among other data, enabled researchers at a start-up company to send the first warnings to the world of the spread of the virus. The research was enabled by Canada’s flexible fair dealing right for research purposes. And the earliest potential treatments for the virus are being enabled by experimental use exceptions to patent rights on existing medicines….”

Petition · ISO: Give engineers the Standards needed to build ventilators in fight against COVID-2019 · Change.org

“We ask the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) to give engineers the Standards needed to build ventilators (ISO 11.040.10 and all other needed codes).

We beg ISO and CEN to join ASTM, who released their Standards for Masks, Medical Gowns, Gloves, Hand Sanitizers, and Respirators in support of the fight to help medical personnel and save lives….”

Petition · ISO: Give engineers the Standards needed to build ventilators in fight against COVID-2019 · Change.org

“We ask the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) to give engineers the Standards needed to build ventilators (ISO 11.040.10 and all other needed codes).

We beg ISO and CEN to join ASTM, who released their Standards for Masks, Medical Gowns, Gloves, Hand Sanitizers, and Respirators in support of the fight to help medical personnel and save lives….”

Humanity wins: our fight to unlock 32,544 COVID-19 articles for the world · Change.org

“The science behind COVID-19 is now free to access for everyone in the world – every scientist – every healthcare professional, all because of your incredible support. In the previous weeks publishers faced the choice between protecting the value of their intellectual property and protecting humanity during this incredibly urgent medical crisis.

Oxford University Press and Taylor & Francis responded within 24 hours on February 11th. Wiley first responded on February 12th, increased their commitment, and completely unlocked their collection by February 28th.

Elsevier’s Christopher Capot responded on February 20th, increased their commitment with the 1Science Coronavirus Research Repository on the 25th, and finally unlocked an extensive multi-keyword search on March 5th, spanning full-text matches for “COVID-19” OR Coronavirus OR “Corona virus” OR “2019-nCoV” OR “SARS-CoV” OR “MERS-CoV” OR “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome” OR “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome” across article types. We beg all publishers to expand their queries similarly….”

Will the coronavirus kill off the ‘dinosaur’ world of academic publishing? | South China Morning Post

“The deadly pandemic has brought back a long-running debate about companies profiting from the publication of research often freely supplied by the author

As the biggest names in the business respond to academics’ demands to bring down paywalls, new platforms are getting fresh studies out to the public…

The Covid-19 pandemic is throwing a spotlight on how academic publishing works – an industry that some scientists say is based on a broken model and needs to be replaced….”

We support Zero Embargo Taxpayer Access

“We the undersigned American scientists, publishers, funders, patient advocates, librarians and members of the public endorse a national policy that would ensure that Americans are no longer denied access to the results of research their tax dollars paid for. We have read recent media reports that the executive branch is considering a zero embargo taxpayer access policy, and we are writing to express our strong support for such a move….”

Sociologists in support of open access policy

“In light of a rumored new White House Open Access Policy, the American Sociological Association (ASA), and other scholarly societies, signed a letter to President Trump in support of continued embargoes for federally-funded research. The letter is here: https://www.asanet.org/sites/default/files/science_orgs_opposing_proposed_embargo_change_121819.pdf).

We are sociologists who join with libraries and other advocates in the research community in support of federal policy to make the results of taxpayer-funded research immediately available to the public for free. We endorse a policy that would eliminate the current 12-month waiting period for open access to the outputs of taxpayer-funded scientific research. Ensuring full open access to publicly-funded research contributes to the public good by improving scientific productivity and equalizing access — including international access — to valuable knowledge that the public has already paid for. The U.S. should join the many other countries that already have strong open access policies.

We oppose the decision by ASA to sign this letter, which goes against our values as members of the research community, and urge the association to rescind its endorsement, to join the growing consensus in favor of open access to to scholarship, including our own….”