Mellon Foundation awards ITHAKA $1.5 million to make JSTOR accessible to incarcerated college students – ITHAKA

“The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded ITHAKA a new $1.5 million grant to provide incarcerated college students with access to JSTOR, a digital library of journals, books, and other materials. Our aim is for every incarcerated college student in the United States to have access to JSTOR, along with the research skills to use this and other digital resources.

One of the most significant educational challenges that incarcerated college students face is easy, reliable access to high-quality library resources to support their learning. Prisons often do not provide internet access to individuals or offer only limited access to digital resources, sometimes at high cost. This challenge has only grown in the last 12 to 18 months as the COVID-19 pandemic ramped up the need for digital learning solutions and higher education became more accessible to incarcerated individuals through financial aid expansions, including Second Chance Pell….”

Briefing for library directors: Publishers and the textbook market in the higher education sector – publishers-and-the-textbook-market-in-he-library-directors-briefing.pdf

Yhis briefing paper created by the Jisc Learning Content Group provides an overview of the current e-textbook  licensing landscape within higher education institutions. It outlines current practices and their impact on the library and suggests ways in which the sector can exert influence on publishers to change their pricing and access models

Digital sequence information: free access is crucial | Leibniz Institut DSMZ

Global problems such as the extinction of species and the decline of biological diversity, climate change, pandemics and hunger can only be solved with free access to digital sequence information”, states Prof. Jörg Overmann PhD, Scientific Director of the Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures. “Without free access to digital sequence information [DSI], research on a national, European or international level will simply fail to work. Digital sequence information must be preserved as common good”, stresses Prof Overmann. 

Frontiers | The Ethic of Access: An AIDS Activist Won Public Access to Experimental Therapies, and This Must Now Extend to Psychedelics for Mental Illness | Psychiatry

“If patients with mental illnesses are to be treated fairly in comparison with other categories of patients, they must be given access to promising experimental therapies, including psychedelics. The right of early access to promising therapies was advanced as an ethical principle by activist Larry Kramer during the AIDS pandemic, and has now largely been adopted by the medical establishment. Patients are regularly granted access to experimental drugs for many illness categories, such as cancer and infectious diseases. The need for expanded access is especially relevant during evolving crises like the AIDS and the coronavirus pandemics. In contrast to non-psychiatric branches of medicine, psychiatry has failed to expedite access to promising drugs in the face of public health emergencies, psychological crises, the wishes of many patients, and the needs of the community. Psychiatry must catch up to the rest of medicine and allow the preferences of patients for access to guide policy and law regarding unapproved medications like psychedelics….

Open questions include how to amplify the voices of patients regarding experimental therapies like psychedelics, how to implement early access, how to educate the public about this option once it exists, and how to ensure equitable access for multiple marginalized groups. A model of political engagement like ACT UP may not work for patients whose symptoms include lack of motivation and will, and who are at risk for re-traumatization. The authors are exploring an entirely patient-led counterpart to traditional academic peer review, which allows diverse patient communities to provide meaningful input into therapies that result from trials….”


COAR releases resource types vocabulary version 3.0 for repositories with new look and feel – COAR

“We are pleased to announce the release of version 3.0 of the resource types vocabulary. Since 2015, three COAR Controlled Vocabularies have been developed and are maintained by the Controlled Vocabulary Editorial Board: Resource types, access rights and version types.  These vocabularies have a new look and are now being managed using the iQvoc platform, hosted by the University of Vienna Library.

Using controlled vocabularies enables repositories to be consistent in describing their resources, helps with search and discovery of content, and allows machine readability for interoperability. The COAR vocabularies are available in several languages, supporting multilingualism across repositories. They also play a key role in making semantic artifacts and repositories compliant with the FAIR Principles, in particular when it comes to findability and interoperability….”

Analyzing Effects of Bias in Research | YIP Institute

“Such is the issue of availability today, that the ability for someone to access research is based almost entirely on their affiliations to any well-funded research program. Michael Eisen, a professor of genetics, genomics, and development at the University of California, Berkeley, has been a staunch proponent of open access and has long warned about the postponement of innovation and discovery due to slow accessibility. As Michael Eisen elaborates in his UC Berkeley Interview from his “point of view, science is getting a raw deal out of this arrangement, because it is providing all the money, but not getting access for everybody on Earth”.  Not only is science getting the short end of the deal but so are taxpayers who are responsible for more than 40% of all academic research and development.

The largest issue that Professor Eisen points out is how institutions choose to hire or tenure solely based on publication in prestigious academic journals. Effectively, what Universities are doing is handing the process of professorial evaluation to publishers like Elsevier and paying for it in the thousands of dollars they spend on journal subscriptions. 

The cost of these subscriptions help form yet another divide between educational institutions in developed and developing countries. As Peter Suber wrote in his book Open Access, “In 2008, Harvard subscribed to 98,900 serials and Yale to 73,900. The best-funded research library in India, at the Indian Institute of Science, subscribed to 10,600. Several sub-Saharan African university libraries subscribed to zero.” The cost climbing cost of these journals has pushed even endowment rich universities like Harvard to take on cancellation efforts….”

Press release: New Research4Life User Review sheds light on users’ needs and challenges

“Research4Life programs make a significant positive difference to research experiences in low- and middle-income countries – but only when users know they are available and how to use them.

This is a key finding of an independent Research4Life user experience review conducted during 2020 using a combination of interviews, surveys and focus groups by INASP across a range of countries and institution types: the findings will guide Research4Life’s future work in reducing the knowledge gap between researchers in industrialized nations and those in low- and middle-income countries….”

Freedom Reads

“The once “Million Book Project” embraces a new name: Freedom Reads

It was never about a number — no finite end goal like that. And we always knew it doesn’t take tens of thousands of books to counter what prison does to the spirit; sometimes it just takes one, at the right time, in the right mood, when the urgency for new possibility is enough. So we’re claiming a new name that unmistakably honors our driving recognition of the link between reading and freedom: Freedom Reads. New name, same commitment to supporting with books the efforts of people in prison to deepen and envision their lives in new ways….

More than two million people live in state and federal prisons in this country. They live in facilities characterized by concrete floors and steel cell doors, by handcuffs and homemade shanks. Founded by Reginald Dwayne Betts, who knows firsthand the dispiriting forces of prison, Freedom Reads uses literature as a powerful antidote to the hopelessness incarceration breeds. Inspired by Frederick Douglass’s recognition that freedom begins with a book, Freedom Reads supports the efforts of people in prison to transform their lives through increased access to books, writers and performing artists.”

“Le libre accès à la recherche scientifique, commun de l’humanité” par Pablo Rauzy (“Free access to scientific research, common to mankind” by Pablo Rauzy)

From Google’s English:

“Open and unlimited access to scientific publications must be defended and developed, against commodification and privatization: this is the point of Pablo Rauzy, researcher and activist.”

Reporting back on our ACRL 2021 conference panel: Open access investment at the local level – UC Berkeley Library Update

“Last year the UC Berkeley Library’s Collection Services Council charged a working group to develop local best practices to guide investment in open access (OA) products and services. Advancing open access to scholarship is one of the Library’s key goals, and addressing how and when UCB invests in OA resources and materials is one path to supporting this priority. In May 2020 the working group completed its report, recommending key criteria and a workflow for evaluating open access investment opportunities. 

Even though the Library is in the early stages of implementing the proposed criteria and review process, we submitted a proposal for the 2021 ACRL Conference to share our work with the broader academic library community and to receive feedback as we develop the process. We also wanted to hear how related projects address open access investments, and understand the challenges (and hopefully, solutions) others have encountered along the way. 

Our panel was titled Open access investment at the local level: Sharing diverse tactics to improve access & affordability. We know that many decisions about open access investments take place at administrative or consortial levels, but librarians frequently field requests for access, resources, or partnerships at the local level through their relationships with students, researchers, and faculty. The panel aimed to share real-world examples of where and how academic libraries decide to invest in open access resources, and discuss commonalities and differences in strategies and give attendees examples they can apply in their own roles….”

How the Pandemic has Changed Authentication and Access

“Librarians and information professionals with responsibility for providing access to digital scholarly resources need to understand all the authentication options available to them and their end-users. This free webinar will feature Springer Nature Senior Digital Product Manager Laird Barrett discussing all available approaches to authentication. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was overwhelmingly common for researchers to authenticate via IP address to access institutional subscriptions on Springer Nature websites. That behavior changed dramatically with the onset of the pandemic, as researchers in many countries quickly transitioned to working from home. Researchers now use a constellation of different methods in greater numbers to authenticate, including persisted access, Google Scholar CASA, and federated access. This free webinar will explore that change over time and across the world, and will share information about Springer Nature’s plans this year to continue to ease authentication and access for researchers during the pandemic. Expect details that will help you across many scholarly resource platforms, as well as measures that are specific to Springer Nature. This webinar is part of an ongoing effort to provide technical education programming for information professionals. …”

The Move to Open Access as Ebook Crisis Worsens – Campaign to investigate the academic ebook market

“1) In March 2020, several academic publishers and 3rd party vendors announced, to much fanfare, that they were opening up access to many of their resources for free. Whilst this move was welcomed by many in Higher Education, much of the content was withdrawn as little as three months later while COVID was still raging. Access has not been reinstated during this most recent lock-down. (One has to wonder if the original offer was little but a cynical marketing strategy).

2) Unlike March 2020, many students are starting the semester away from campus and so cannot make the dash to access hardcopy resources as they may have done last year….

Librarians, academics and, more importantly, students, cannot wait for senior figures to act at this critical time in the HE cycle. Librarians are increasingly turning to the complex world of open access resources to fill the huge holes in information provision bought about by traditional academic publisher business models. There is hope that open access will become more and more commonplace going forward….”

Structural inequalities in scholarly communications

“However, there are significant drawbacks to electronic resources:

Electronic versions of scholarly materials are subject to licenses, which often put strict limitations on who can use them. Libraries can share print materials by sending them through interlibrary loan — mailing materials to those who need them — but not all e-journal content can be shared this way. E-books usually can’t be shared between libraries, meaning that they are available only to those who have a current affiliation with the University or those who can physically visit one of our spaces.
E-materials are expensive and often do not have the “friendliest” terms. Multi-user licenses are not always available or may be prohibitively expensive. In a time when University budgets are facing large cuts, it is hard to accept that a print volume may cost $100, yet the multi-user e-version might cost $900.
Electronic materials also often lack perpetual access. This may mean that the same materials have to be purchased multiple times.
Access to electronic materials also requires access to the internet — stable broadband access. This is often lacking for scholars all over the world; even in the United States, it is estimated that only three-quarters of adults have broadband internet service at home….”

About the ICOLC Expanded Access Spreadsheet | Google Docs

This Complimentary Expanded Access Specifics (EAS) spreadsheet is designed and maintained on behalf of the ICOLC community by SCELC Library Consortium Licensing Services team staff members: Jason Price, Erik Limpitlaw, and Carly Ryan. 


Its purpose is to make information service provider announcements and offers of COVID19-related expanded access to resources more accessible to libraries and their users all over the world.



On March 13, ICOLC issued a Statement on the Global COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Impact on Library Services and Resources that urged publishers to consider a range of responses. The open letter links to an Information Service Provider Response (ISPR) Registry that is populated by members of the ICOLC community as they learn of these responses.



Providers, Consortia, or Libraries can recommend complimentary resources for addition to the lists using the ICOLC Complimentary Expanded Access Submission Form. Entries that are added to the EAS sheet are also added to the ISPR registry.