Welcome to Hotel Elsevier: you can check-out any time you like … not – Eiko Fried

“Luckily, folks over at Elsevier “take your privacy and trust in [them] very seriously”, so we used the Elsevier Privacy Support Hub to start an “access to personal information” request. Being in the EU, we are legally entitled under the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to ask Elsevier what data they have on us, and submitting this request was easy and quick.

After a few weeks, we both received responses by email. We had been assigned numbers 0000034 and 0000272 respectively, perhaps implying that relatively few people have made use of this system yet. The emails contained several files with a wide range of our data, in different formats. One of the attached excel files had over 700,000 cells of data, going back many years, exceeding 5mb in file size. We want to talk you through a few examples of what Elsevier knows about us….

To start with, of course they have information we have provided them with in our interactions with Elsevier journals: full names, academic affiliations, university e-mail addresses, completed reviews and corresponding journals, times when we declined review requests, and so on.

Apart from this, there was a list of IP addresses. Checking these IP addresses identified one of us in the small city we live in, rather than where our university is located. We also found several personal user IDs, which is likely how Elsevier connects our data across platforms and accounts. We were also surprised to see multiple (correct) private mobile phone numbers and e-mail addresses included….

And there is more. Elsevier tracks which emails you open, the number of links per email clicked, and so on….

We also found our personal address and bank account details, probably because we had received a small payment for serving as a statistical reviewer1. These €55 sure came with a privacy cost larger than anticipated.

Data called “Web Traffic via Adobe Analytics” appears to list which websites we visited, when, and from which IP address. “ScienceDirect Usage Data” contains information on when we looked at which papers, and what we did on the corresponding website. Elsevier appears to distinguish between downloading or looking at the full paper and other types of access, such as looking at a particular image (e.g. “ArticleURLrequestPage”, “MiamiImageURLrequestPage”, and “MiamiImageURLreadPDF”), although it’s not entirely clear from the data export. This leads to a general issue that will come up more often in this piece: while Elsevier shared what data they have on us, and while they know what the data mean, it was often unclear for us navigating the data export what the data mean. In that sense, the usefulness of the current data export is, at least in part, questionable. In the extreme, it’s a bit like asking google what they know about you and they send you a file full of special characters that have no meaning to you….”

 

 

The future of research revealed | Elsevier.com | April 20, 2022

“The research ecosystem has been undergoing rapid and profound change, accelerated by COVID-19. This transformation is being fueled by many factors, including advances in technology, funding challenges and opportunities, political uncertainty, and new pressures on women in research. At Elsevier, we have been working with the global research community to better understand these changes and what the world of research might look like in the future. The results were published today in Elsevier’s new Research Futures Report 2.0. The report is free to read and download….”

A Reorganization at Elsevier – The Scholarly Kitchen

“In terms of [Judy] Verses herself, she brings experience not only with a variety of technology and platform businesses but also on open access. In recent years, some of Wiley’s early leadership on open access seemed to come, perhaps coincidentally, where Elsevier stumbled. Most famously, while Elsevier continues to be locked out of Germany, Wiley struck a notable transformative agreement with Projekt DEAL. Wiley’s creativity and opportunism on such deals took place under Verses. It seems clear that Elsevier is very much hoping that Verses will further develop the customer-centric flexibility and innovation that Bayazit has promised the academic library community, not only with transformative agreements but also with the big deal itself, as seen in its recent NERL agreement. …

Will Bayazit and Verses together be able to reposition Elsevier as a dominant open access and platform provider that is allied with its academic and government customer community??

Elsevier appoints Judy Verses as President, Academic and Government Markets

Elsevier, a global leader in research publishing and information analytics, is pleased to announce the appointment of Judy Verses to the newly created role of President, Academic and Government Markets. Judy will join Elsevier on May 2, 2022, as a member of the company’s executive leadership team, reporting to Kumsal Bayazit, CEO; she will be based in Amsterdam.

Judy will be responsible for Elsevier’s global strategy for product development, sales, marketing, academic relations and research intelligence solutions to serve the needs of academic researchers, librarians, research leaders, policymakers and funders. She will be instrumental in building on Elsevier’s extensive open access (OA) offerings that include more than 600 gold OA journals, over 2,000 institutions served by transformative deals around the world and some 119,000 OA articles published in 2021. Judy will oversee the company’s broad product portfolio aimed at academic and government customers, including…

 

Elsevier to Acquire Interfolio – The Scholarly Kitchen

“On Thursday, Elsevier announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Interfolio. Interfolio has a series of products that fall into two related categories, one of which I call researcher career management and the other of which is the more familiar, impact assessment. While the price being paid was not revealed, Interfolio was acquired by a private equity firm in 2018 for a reported investment of $110 million (prior to adding several additional services into the Interfolio portfolio). Elsevier’s acquisition, if it succeeds, will further strengthen it as a provider of platforms and services to the university provost’s office and office of research, as well as research funders, an important consideration as it seeks to diversify its academic segment revenue basis beyond libraries. Ultimately, this acquisition would further increase the disparity in services in the increasingly direct competition between Elsevier and the new Clarivate, particularly if Elsevier can integrate it effectively. …

 So, for Elsevier, Interfolio’s faculty activity reporting, tenure and promotion, faculty search, and dossier management services should integrate very well with its already strong PURE platform. …

Interfolio’s products and services contain substantial data that already contribute to assessment and impact analysis. These are held in the aforementioned faculty career management services, on a proprietary basis for individual and institutional customers, in ways that could intriguingly be integrated into various analytical tools and services. And, at least in the UK, the oddly-named ResearchFish, acquired several years ago by Interfolio, is used by funding agencies to track the work of their funded researchers (attracting a bit of controversy lately for its unexpected approach to social media). Notwithstanding data protections in place, there could easily emerge additional opt-in opportunities for data from Interfolio services to populate other Elsevier platforms and analytics over the course of time. …

One thing is for sure — Elsevier is bringing together a premier researcher career management offering with its highly competitive research information management system — and that can make a compelling combination. Clarivate has an even higher mountain to climb now as it works to create a competitive research information management offering, working to combine Converis, which has not captured meaningful market share since Clarivate acquired it, and the more nascent Esploro, a category-bending service which it gained through the ProQuest acquisition. …

The most disappointing part of this reaction is the surprise that many librarians and other community advocates express about an acquisition of one company by another company. This should not be a surprise, as I wrote years ago when Elsevier bought bepress. Universities for whom this is a substantial concern should not outsource strategically sensitive services to commercial firms, or alternatively should ensure their contracts are structured to protect their interests in the face of the most outrageous acquisition they can imagine. …”

Librarians gain new insights into their researchers’ arXiv usage | arXiv.org blog

“Founded three decades ago, arXiv is now home to more than 2 million open access scholarly articles by researchers in disciplines ranging from computer science to economics.

With its ambitious mission to provide an open platform where researchers can share and discover new, relevant, and emerging science, arXiv’s popularity has continued to grow in recent years. In fact, in many fields of mathematics and physics, the majority of scientific papers are posted on arXiv prior to their publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

arXiv is hosted at Cornell University, with financial support from the Simons Foundation, other donors, and more than 200 member institutions.

New among the membership benefits that all institutions receive, is access to a personalized digital dashboard, containing an overview of the articles their researchers have posted on the platform. This is the first time submission data by institution — including subject category breakdown – has been offered to arXiv members.

To provide this information, arXiv is partnering with Scopus to optimize that publication data and increase institution’s visibility of their researcher contributions….”

Elsevier announces its intention to acquire Interfolio

“Elsevier, a global leader in research publishing and information analytics, and part of RELX, announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Interfolio, a provider of advanced faculty information solutions for higher education, headquartered in Washington DC, US.

Founded in 1999, Interfolio supports over 400 higher education institutions, research funders and academic organizations in 25 countries, and over 1.7 million academic professionals and scholars….”

Digital Commons Data: for your institution’s RDM journey

“Digital Commons Data gives your institution the tools you need to successfully drive forward your Research Data Management program, with powerful features for researchers, administrators and data curators to store, manage, curate, share and preserve data. Part of the Digital Commons institutional repository system, Digital Commons Data is a turn-key, cloud-hosted, and fully supported module that delivers all the functionality to achieve an institutional research data management program without additional technical investment….”

Penn Libraries Joins Elsevier Open Access Pilot | Penn Libraries

“The Penn Libraries is pleased to join Cornell University, the University of Notre Dame, Dartmouth, and other members of the NERL consortium on a first-of-its-kind open access agreement with Elsevier, the largest academic publisher in the world. The agreement was negotiated by a committee made up of representatives of NERL consortium members, including Katie Brady, the Penn Libraries’ Head of E-Resources and Licensing. “I’m delighted by this innovative agreement, which takes a completely novel approach to open access,” says Brigitte Weinsteiger, Gershwind and Bennett Family Associate Vice Provost for Collections and Scholarly Communications, who serves on the NERL Program Council.  

As part of this three-year pilot, authors who have published with many Elsevier journals and who were affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania at the time of publication will retroactively have their articles made open access. For each year of the agreement, Elsevier will flip five years of publications; that means that by the end of the pilot, 15 years of published work, constituting tens of thousands of articles authored by leading researchers, will be newly available to everyone at no cost to them and regardless of institutional affiliation.  …”

Supporting the transition to open access publishing – an update | Jisc

“One of our key priorities over the last two years has been to strike agreements that accelerate the UK’s transition to open access (OA), reduce and constrain costs, and capitalise on the potential of OA to break down some of the barriers to collaboration and excellence in research practices.  

Alongside this, we have been working with the sector through our strategic groups to define and design the conditions that will support open scholarship during and after the OA transition.

As part of our work to support our funders’ policies, most notably UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), we have rapidly scaled-up our negotiations to put in place agreements that provide UKRI-funded researchers with routes to OA publishing and that allow these funds to be used to support these arrangements.

We are now at a point where around 80 per cent of UK output can be published openly via a Jisc agreement. Key to our negotiations are equity and affordability as set out in the sector’s requirements of our members. This means working with publishers to forge sustainable routes to OA that are available to all researchers regardless of institution, discipline, or publication venue.

As the most used publication venue for UK researchers and the largest agreement by spend, reaching an agreement with Elsevier that delivers full and immediate OA at an affordable and reduced fee was a priority for the sector….”

Surveillance Publishing · Elephant in the Lab

“Clarivate’s business model is coming for scholarly publishing. Google is one peer, but the company’s real competitors are Elsevier, Springer Nature, Wiley, Taylor & Francis, and SAGE. Elsevier, in particular, has been moving into predictive analytics for years now. Of course the publishing giants have long profited off of academics and our university employers—by packaging scholars’ unpaid writing-and-editing labor only to sell it back to us as usuriously priced subscriptions or article processing charges (APCs). That’s a lucrative business that Elsevier and the others won’t give up. But they’re layering another business on top of their legacy publishing operations, in the Clarivate mold. The data trove that publishers are sitting on is, if anything, far richer than the citation graph alone.

Why worry about surveillance publishing? One reason is the balance sheet, since the companies’ trading in academic futures will further pad profits at the expense of taxpayers and students. The bigger reason is that our behavior—once alienated from us and abstracted into predictive metrics—will double back onto our work lives. Existing biases, like male academics’ propensity for self-citation, will receive a fresh coat of algorithmic legitimacy. More broadly, the academic reward system is already distorted by metrics. To the extent that publishers’ tallies and indices get folded into grant-making, tenure-and-promotion, and other evaluative decisions, the metric tide will gain power. The biggest risk is that scholars will internalize an analytics mindset, one already encouraged by citation counts and impact factors….”

ACCESS AND PUBLISHING LICENCE AGREEMENT FOR SCIENCEDIRECT JOURNAL COLLECTION

“ELSEVIER B.V., a company whose registered office is at Radarweg 29, 1043 NX Amsterdam, the Netherlands (“Publisher”). OFFERS to you, (the “Institution”), permission to publish open access articles in Eligible Journals, access the Licensed Material and use such material only on the terms and conditions as set out in this Licence. Acceptance of this Licence will be by receipt of the Order Confirmation Email (as defined below) by the Publisher as part of Licence Subscriptions Manager (as defined below). Acceptance shall be acceptance of all terms and conditions of this Licence and no variation or counter offer will be accepted by the Publisher. In the event that no or partial compliance is made as to the manner or form described for acceptance, no licence will be granted and this offer is deemed withdrawn….”

Retroactively Open: Elsevier Backflips for NERL Agreement – The Scholarly Kitchen

“It will come as no surprise, then, to readers of The Scholarly Kitchen, that my interest was piqued by the announcement of an agreement between NERL and Elsevier that “pilots retroactive open access (OA) for participating institutions’ authors” and that “the retroactive OA pilot program is the first of its kind.” …

The core of the agreement is a renewal of subscription access to ScienceDirect, which is Elsevier’s discovery and delivery platform for Elsevier journals and books, as well as some content syndicated from other publishers. The subscription to this content access is paired with a retroactive open access program. In each year of the three-year agreement, five years of content authored by researchers based at NERL institutions is converted from subscription-only access to open access. …

The libraries are receiving greater value for lower spend. The value of the agreement is increased over the past agreement through the addition of the retrospective open access pilot, particularly for those libraries at institutions with higher publishing volume. In addition, the first-year price is discounted and coupled with decreased inflationary adjustments over time. 

It is worth noting that the agreement does not include any mechanism for prospective open access publishing, which is the typical approach to provisioning open access articles in a transformative agreement, usually through discounted or bulk APC payments. Transformative agreements that support prospective open access publishing are typically called read-and-publish or publish-and-read, depending on the financial structure of the contract. In this case, there is no separate payment for the retrospective open access; the retrospective over access is bundled into the reading fee, in a kind of “free gift with purchase” deal structure. …”

Scholarly Publisher Contracts and New Benefits for MIT Authors – MIT Faculty Newsletter

“MIT has been using the Framework for Publisher Contracts to guide negotiations with scholarly publishers for more than two years. This principles-based framework aims to support the needs of scholars, reflect Institute values, and advance scholarship. In a short period of time, MIT has used the framework to reach several agreements with publishers that demonstrate the viability of our approach. We encourage MIT scholars to take advantage of the open access publishing benefits of these agreements….

Elsevier is the one major publisher that remains unwilling to produce a proposal for MIT that aligns with the Framework….”