Library Lending Fit for the 21st Century? Controlled Digital Lending in the UK – Research Libraries UK

“While some have been thinking about issues around Controlled Digital Lending for many years, there is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way we view the digital.  The shutting of university buildings suddenly cut off access to physical copies for a prolonged period of time (most notably in the UK during our first lock-down last year). This lack of physical access shone a powerful spotlight on the compromises that we had been living with in terms of the balance between physical and electronic texts. Pre-pandemic we had rather muddled-through, aware of the problems caused by unsatisfactory and unaffordable business models and terms and conditions that limited use and reuse, but not seeing a clear way through.

The pandemic engendered a shift in the way in which we think about CDL. It begun a move from CDL being seen as a rather theoretical and esoteric topic – discussed and debated mainly by copyright specialists – to increasingly being viewed as a potentially key tool that allows librarians to connect information with readers. We can see this move in at least three areas:

Firstly, there are an increasing number of high-level statements and resources in support of CDL. An example of the former is the strong statement of support for CDL issued this summer by IFLA. And of the latter is the work from the US of the Library Futures Foundation and their Controlled Digital Lending: Unlocking the Library’s Full Potential.

Secondly, there have been technological changes. It is only one example, but I note the news last month from ExLibris of the release of a new tool as part of Alma to enable CDL and to view physical and digital holdings as part of the same collections and not separate.

And thirdly, CDL works and is seen to work. On a large scale, at the start of the pandemic the Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library proved to be hugely valuable. As was the Hathi Trust Emergency Library, which was widely used – mainly in the US, but also by at least one UK HE institution. This fortifies the shift in thinking about CDL from a theoretical ‘nice-to-have’ to a concrete tool….”

RLUK welcomes publication of UKRI’s new Open Access Policy | Research Libraries UK

RLUK welcomes the publication today of a new Open Access (OA) policy applying to research outputs that result from UKRI funding. The new policy is the result of an extensive consultation period during which the views of all relevant stakeholders – including the research library community and RLUK – were sought and heard.

The new policy is clearly informed by the consultation and represents an evolutionary development of the current policies covering Research Council-funded research outputs.  Within the new policy, RLUK is particularly pleased to see:

A single, consistent policy covering all UKRI-funded output
A continued commitment to move to 100%, embargo-free open access;
The support of both green and gold OA as valid routes to compliance;
A commitment from UKRI to maintain block grants to institutions in support the policy;
Clarity that the use of those grants to pay APCs for articles in ‘hybrid’ journals that are not part of a transitional agreement will not be permitted; 
Acknowledgment of the vital role that rights play in scholarly communications and a requirement that both versions of record and author’s accepted manuscripts should carry the most liberal rights appropriate;
Encouragement for the use of OA preprints to facilitate open research practices; 
A measured approach to long-form works, although we note that the challenges around OA for these outputs are significantly different to those of journal articles.

RLUK and our members look forward to discussions over the coming months with UKRI on issues around allocation and management of block grants, reporting requirements, and management of exceptions. We will also work with our members to ensure that institutional repositories meet the technical requirements outlined in the policy.

Twenty years ago, the Budapest Open Access Initiative described the move to open access as unlocking ‘an unprecedented public good’. Providing access to research outputs reduces inequalities, encourages economic growth and knowledge transfer, and promotes rapid innovation (seen most dramatically over the last 18 months in the unprecedented speed with which vaccines against COVID-19 have been developed). As a result of open access policies over the past two decades, the UK has made great strides in ensuring its research outputs are available to all interested readers. This new policy from UKRI will help accelerate that change and move us closer to 100% open access.

Open Letter to the Publishers Association

“During the first lockdown, many publishers were quick to react to the seriousness of the situation and to offer extended online access to their resources, so mitigating against some of the immediate problems caused by restrictions on libraries. SCONUL and RLUK were amongst a group of UK bodies that welcomed these moves by publishers….

Unfortunately, universities in the UK find themselves in much the same situation as at the start of the pandemic and that first lockdown. With students required to stay away from campus the need for online access is as acute today as it was last March. Our members strive to provide as closely as possible the same experience to students studying remotely as those on campus. Unfortunately, licencing terms and conditions often mean that this parity of experience for students cannot be realised. In our statement last year, we listed ten ways in which publishers could help the HE sector. Not all include making all content universally available, but all would improve learning, teaching, and research in the UK and help to show publishers’ partnership role. We would ask the Publishers Association and the publishers you represent to look again at what you could do to support UK higher education and research as we pass through this difficult period. We would particularly urge publishers to permanently remove additional access barriers and related charges to institutions for registered students studying at a distance and move away from the per-FTE e-textbook pricing models.”

Open Letter to the Publishers Association

“During the first lockdown, many publishers were quick to react to the seriousness of the situation and to offer extended online access to their resources, so mitigating against some of the immediate problems caused by restrictions on libraries. SCONUL and RLUK were amongst a group of UK bodies that welcomed these moves by publishers….

Unfortunately, universities in the UK find themselves in much the same situation as at the start of the pandemic and that first lockdown. With students required to stay away from campus the need for online access is as acute today as it was last March. Our members strive to provide as closely as possible the same experience to students studying remotely as those on campus. Unfortunately, licencing terms and conditions often mean that this parity of experience for students cannot be realised. In our statement last year, we listed ten ways in which publishers could help the HE sector. Not all include making all content universally available, but all would improve learning, teaching, and research in the UK and help to show publishers’ partnership role. We would ask the Publishers Association and the publishers you represent to look again at what you could do to support UK higher education and research as we pass through this difficult period. We would particularly urge publishers to permanently remove additional access barriers and related charges to institutions for registered students studying at a distance and move away from the per-FTE e-textbook pricing models.”

Universities ‘will cancel deals with publishers’ | Research Information

“A price freeze on journal subscriptions will not be enough to avoid UK researchers losing access to key academic content, warn three major sector bodies representing academic library directors and higher education managers. 

Research Libraries UK (RLUK), SCONUL, the professional association for academic and research libraries and Jisc say that immediate reductions are necessary if institutions are to retain access to content. Universities are under heavy pressure to reduce all expenditure and divert financial resources to areas of immediate concern including online teaching and implementing measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. …”

Universities will cancel deals with publishers if they don’t respond to current financial pressures – warn major sector bodies | Jisc

“Research Libraries UK (RLUK), SCONUL, the professional association for academic and research libraries and Jisc say that immediate reductions are necessary if institutions are to retain access to content.

Universities are under heavy pressure to reduce all expenditure and divert financial resources to areas of immediate concern including online teaching and implementing measures to limit the spread of COVID-19….”

RLUK issues Content Statement in support of libraries reviewing new and renewed content purchasing – Research Libraries UK

“If we do not see concrete action towards the requirements listed below, RLUK member libraries will be forced to cancel valuable resources. We want to work productively with our closest partners, publishers and content suppliers, to develop sustainable business models which work for all stakeholders….

We require:

Reductions in annual subscription costs, not increases or price freezes. This supports the Jisc and Universities UK joint call for publishers to reduce their fees to maintain access to essential teaching and learning materials.

The combined cost of the read and publish elements of transitional deals to result in a reduction on existing subscription expenditure. This supports Jisc’s requirements for transitional OA agreements. It is no longer acceptable to base transitional agreement costs on both uplifted historical subscriptions expenditure and historical APC expenditure, without constraining or reducing costs going forwards.

A permanent move away from historic print spend underpinning the pricing of large subscription packages. We expect fairer and more innovative pricing models which reflect the current scholarly communications and budgetary landscapes.

More flexibility in content selection and a permanent move away from the outdated ‘big deal’ model. Tying valuable content up in large packages has been incredibly damaging to library budgets and collections.

All multiyear deals to have clear, no-penalty opt-out clauses which can be invoked 30 days before the renewal date. Notice periods for resource cancellations should also always be 30 days, rather than 60 or 90 days….”

RLUK issues Content Statement in support of libraries reviewing new and renewed content purchasing – Research Libraries UK

“If we do not see concrete action towards the requirements listed below, RLUK member libraries will be forced to cancel valuable resources. We want to work productively with our closest partners, publishers and content suppliers, to develop sustainable business models which work for all stakeholders….

We require:

Reductions in annual subscription costs, not increases or price freezes. This supports the Jisc and Universities UK joint call for publishers to reduce their fees to maintain access to essential teaching and learning materials.

The combined cost of the read and publish elements of transitional deals to result in a reduction on existing subscription expenditure. This supports Jisc’s requirements for transitional OA agreements. It is no longer acceptable to base transitional agreement costs on both uplifted historical subscriptions expenditure and historical APC expenditure, without constraining or reducing costs going forwards.

A permanent move away from historic print spend underpinning the pricing of large subscription packages. We expect fairer and more innovative pricing models which reflect the current scholarly communications and budgetary landscapes.

More flexibility in content selection and a permanent move away from the outdated ‘big deal’ model. Tying valuable content up in large packages has been incredibly damaging to library budgets and collections.

All multiyear deals to have clear, no-penalty opt-out clauses which can be invoked 30 days before the renewal date. Notice periods for resource cancellations should also always be 30 days, rather than 60 or 90 days….”

OA Switchboard demonstration – Research Libraries UK

“On 27 July 2020, the RLUK OAPP Group hosted a webinar demonstration of the OA Switchboard initiative. The demonstration was led by Yvonne Campfens, Project Manager of OA Switchboard.

The OA Switchboard initiative is a not-for-profit collaboration between funders, institutions and publishers. The OA Switchboard is a central information exchange hub, connecting parties and systems, streamlining the neutral exchange of OA related publication-level information.

This initiative is currently being overseen by Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA). When the OA Switchboard moves to an operational stage, following a successful 2020 project, a sustainable governance structure and funding model will be in place….”

OA Switchboard demonstration – Research Libraries UK

“On 27 July 2020, the RLUK OAPP Group hosted a webinar demonstration of the OA Switchboard initiative. The demonstration was led by Yvonne Campfens, Project Manager of OA Switchboard.

The OA Switchboard initiative is a not-for-profit collaboration between funders, institutions and publishers. The OA Switchboard is a central information exchange hub, connecting parties and systems, streamlining the neutral exchange of OA related publication-level information.

This initiative is currently being overseen by Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA). When the OA Switchboard moves to an operational stage, following a successful 2020 project, a sustainable governance structure and funding model will be in place….”

Digital shift manifesto – Research Libraries UK

“Digital technologies heavily impact society, higher education and the workplace. As information service providers, research libraries are particularly affected by these changes. This manifesto outlines what actions the community of Research Libraries in the UK (RLUK) proposes to undertake to be ready for the next decade of the Digital Shift, building on work already underway across the sector. It is an open invitation to other organisations and communities, whether from the library sector or not, to work with us. Research libraries are strongly positioned to lead and influence the effective exploitation of digital technologies within their institutions, and we are keen to unlock the potential which the Digital Shift offers.

Twenty years ago, print journals and card catalogues were still featured in research libraries. Today, scholarly journals are (largely) electronic, with discovery and access often bypassing library catalogues. Open science and digital research are actively supported in many libraries. Twenty years from now, subscription-funded access may be the exception and library catalogues could well have ceased to exist as distinct entities as research will be built on new workflows and platforms. To prepare for these developments, research libraries need a programme of change for the coming decade….”

‘Researchers: stop signing away your copyright’ | Research Information

“The fundamental problem is we’re in this period of transition from the print to the digital, and also between closed and open access. Those two axes of change are causing a huge amount of pain and uncertainty for everybody in the system, for the library community, for publishers, and for researchers and funders. 

For the library community there’s increased demands on funding, and the transition to open access is taking a long time. While the UK has been pushing ahead with moving towards open access both in green through the REF policy and through gold, we’re still paying the same very large amounts in subscriptions for big deals. Then there are issues around ensuring compliance of funder mandates, and there’s a lot of effort going into monitoring compliance. While we’re still in this mixed model you’re still having to do all the old stuff you did 10 years ago, but you also have this additional burden.

There are also problems with the ebook models, there’s a bit of a wild west out there of different business models. Letting a thousand flowers bloom is all very lovely and encourages innovation, but there comes a point where it causes a huge amount of confusion and angst. Then there’s still the whole discussion about the appetite and practicalities of open access for academic monographs – how we make that transition, who funds it….”

REF open-access requirement for books ‘worth the outlay’ | Times Higher Education (THE)

As preparations for the 2021 research excellence framework continue apace, UK-based academics could be forgiven for pushing the 2027 assessment to the back of their minds for now.

However, one specific element of the plans for the REF after next has been triggering lively debate in recent weeks: the proposed extension of open-access requirements for submitted outputs to include long-form scholarly works and monographs.