“Students at the University of Worcester (UK) have launched an #ebooksos petition calling for the fair pricing of ebooks. The students ask that people support their efforts to ‘ensure all students have access to the essential digital resources required for their studies and success‘, before stating,We are particularly concerned about those from disadvantaged or less privileged backgrounds, who may be unable to afford the cost of purchasing books required for their courses, resulting in inequality in education.Some examples of the “astronomical” costs their library has been expected to pay for ebooks, in comparison to the hardcopy equivalents, are included to illustrate the problem….”
“Currently, major publishers offer no option for libraries to own and preserve digital books. They’re even suing to ban libraries from making their own digital books. With so many diverse voices published only in digital format, and digital books often more accessible for the most marginalized library patrons, this is unacceptable. Sign on now to demand that the largest publishing lobby in the US reverse course and stand up for libraries in 2023! …”
“Neuromatch is a grassroots organization founded at the start of the pandemic to bring conferences and summer schools online. Our experience showed us that making these activities freely available to all, supported by technology designed to empower them, leads to incredible, mutually supportive and self-sustaining communities and the democratization of research.
We believe this model can be applied to academic publishing, one of the least innovative and democratic aspects of research. For the last year, we have been designing a new approach to publishing based on community ownership, free access and open data that we have recently made public at //nmop.io.
We naturally became very interested in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy memorandum on public access, which we feel is a step in the right direction but fraught with dangers around article processing charges and transformative agreements. We organized a group of open access advocates and wrote an open letter to the White House, calling on them to take these issues seriously, along with concrete implementation recommendations.
We also wrote an article directed to researchers themselves explaining why we think this is a critical issue and encouraging them to sign the letter.”
“Publicly, Elsevier claims to be committed to a clean energy future. But its ongoing practices tell a very different story. At UCS, we think Elsevier can do better.
Together with Scientists for Global Responsibility, we’ve launched a petition demanding that Elsevier and its parent company, RELX, detail their plans to align their business practices with their public commitments to address climate change. If you’re a member of the scientific community, we encourage you to sign on. If you are not a scientist, I hope this piece inspires you to look under the hood when companies make claims about their commitment to climate change that seem too good to be true….”
“This is an open letter to Taylor & Francis, publishers of academic journals. We are writing to ask T&F to discontinue the policy of fast-tracking submissions for a fee. We refer to the policy here. A recent clarification of this policy was published by T&F but it does not adequately address our concerns.
We have two objections to the policy. First is that we are against any form of preferential treatment for those who can pay. Fast-tracking for a fee creates a two-tier system, wherein the well-funded have an unfair advantage over the less well-to-do; in particular, it exacerbates the differences between scientists in different economic circumstances and at different points in their career. The fast-track policy at the least allows faster publication by those with funds, improving the chance for the funded to win subsequent grants and to publish before other labs working on the same topic.
Our second objection to the policy stems from our concern that fast-tracked manuscripts may receive an advantage above and beyond just faster publication. …”
“The Australian Research Council (ARC) does not allow researchers to cite preprints in their grant applications and recently disqualified a number of applications for this reason.
Preprints advance scientific discovery and are encouraged by many funders, including Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council. Citation of any source, regardless of its peer review status, is essential for proper attribution of ideas, and prohibiting the citation of preprints prevents applicants from discussing and building on the latest science. Further, listing preprints as evidence of productivity allows reviewers to develop an accurate picture of an applicant’s research outputs.
On August 31, we will send the list of signatories below to the ARC along with an offer to provide more information about preprints in the life sciences that can inform their review of their policy. We are also happy to support Australian researchers, librarians, editors, and other stakeholders in having conversations about preprints. Please get in touch with Jessica Polka (email@example.com) if you would like assistance in hosting an event for your community. You can also sign other open letters: one drafted by Australian researchers to encourage the ARC to reconsider its preprint policies, and a second encouraging the same as well as eligibility extension and policy simplification. …”
“Open Letter to Professor Sue Thomas (CEO of the Australian Research Council) and The Hon Alan Tudge (Minister for Education and Youth)
The signatories of this letter argue that it is in Australian taxpayers’ best interests to allow preprint citations in ARC grant applications. The ARC currently prohibits citations to preprints (see appendix https://tinyurl.com/vjewcp83 for definition) in grant applications (e.g. DP22 funding rules 2.1 “Pre-print publications should not be included in any part of the application form.”). But preprints are an essential and growing part of many fields of research.
Allowing the citation of preprints in ARC grant applications has many benefits:
* It improves our ability to judge and compare grant applications
* It allows for the inclusion and discussion of the latest science
* It speeds up research progress and discovery (such as the COVID-19 pandemic)
* It improves the accuracy with which we can evaluate researchers’ track records
* It establishes priority of discoveries and ideas
* It brings us in line with other major national and international granting bodies (see appendix https://tinyurl.com/vjewcp83)
Referencing preprints is essential for assessing the quality, novelty, benefits, feasibility, and value of any research proposal. It also contributes to assessing the track records of researchers themselves. The ARC is tasked with apportioning $775.3M in public funding every year. Citing preprints will improve the value that Australian taxpayers get for this significant investment. This is common practice by many national and international funding agencies already….”
“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.”
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.”…”
“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….”
“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….”
“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)….”
“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….”
“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. …”
“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….”
“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….”