Opposing the Merger Between Clarivate PLC and ProQuest LLC

“The proposed merger between Clarivate and ProQuest is likely to produce adverse competitive effects described in the Horizontal Merger Guidelines and result in foreseeable harm to consumers related to product quality, price, choice, and privacy. The merger would significantly decrease competition across key markets, resulting in a research enterprise increasingly dominated by a very small number of firms with extraordinary market power, relative to both their competitors and customers. Blocking this merger is a necessary step in pulling the research enterprise back from the brink of a future in which it is controlled by platform monopolies.”

Do ‘Inclusive Access’ Textbook Programs Save Students Money? A New Site Urges Everyone to Read the Fine Print

““Inclusive access,” a textbook-sales model touted as a way to ensure that students without deep pockets can afford books, doesn’t always deliver on that promise, according to a leading open-access advocacy organization. So the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition and its partners have launched a website they hope will encourage a healthy skepticism, and deeper research, into the increasingly popular model.

Inclusive access programs weave the cost of digital course materials into a student’s tuition and fees, and are marketed as a heavily discounted alternative to traditional print textbooks. More than 950 college campuses have adopted related programs since 2015, when a Department of Education regulation enabled institutions to include books and supplies in their tuition or fees.

But advocates of open educational resources like Nicole Allen, Sparc’s director of open education, worry that colleges — clamoring for low-cost textbook options — are buying into the model without knowing for sure whether it’s actually saving their students money, considering the breadth of used-book and rental options available….”

2021 Miles Conrad Award Lecture: Heather Joseph

This paper is based upon the 2021 Miles Conrad Award Lecture that was given by Heather Joseph at the second annual NISO Plus conference held virtually from February 22–25, 2021. The lecture provided a brief look back at the emergence of the Open Access (OA) movement in scholarly communication beginning with the E-biomed proposal in 1999 that was shortly followed by the Budapest Declaration released on February 14, 2002, through how far it has come in almost two decades.

The author notes that the initial reaction to OA was often just a quick dismissal of it as an idealistic pipe dream and as the idea began to grow in popularity, skepticism changed into hostility. OA was criticized as being too disruptive to the then-existent publishing paradigm. Yet, far from disappearing, the movement towards the open sharing of knowledge steadily advanced. Today conversations about “why” or “whether” to open up the scholarly communication system have evolved into conversations about how best to do it.

The author notes that the Budapest Declaration underscored that the end goal of OA is to empower individuals and communities around the world with the ability to share their knowledge as well as to share in accessing the knowledge of others. She warns that members of the global scholarly communication community must look critically at who currently can participate in the production of knowledge, and whose voices are represented in the “global intellectual conversation” that need to be facilitated. Whose voices are still are left out because structural barriers – be they technical, financial, legal, cultural, or linguistic – prevent them from joining?

InclusiveAccess.org – a community-driven initiative to raise awareness of the facts about automatic textbook billing

InclusiveAccess.org is a community-driven initiative to raise awareness of the facts about automatic textbook billing. The cost of college textbooks has increased sharply over the last several decades, which has harmed student access and success. Everyone agrees that this is a problem. As higher education leaders consider new textbook sales models that advertise lower costs, the campus community deserves to fully understand how these models impact students and faculty.

Introducing InclusiveAccess.org — InclusiveAccess.org

“Against this backdrop, a new sales model known as Inclusive Access has taken off. Also known as automatic textbook billing, this model adds the cost of digital course content into students’ tuition and fees. Hardly known five years ago, one in three college students reported participating in at least one Inclusive Access course during the 2020-21 academic year.

How exactly does Inclusive Access work? Does it really really save students money? What about this kind of program is “inclusive”? Straightforward answers to these questions aren’t always easy to find.

InclusiveAccess.org is a community-driven initiative to raise awareness of the facts about automatic textbook billing. The site aims to be a one-stop-shop for information, tools, and other resources to help administrators, faculty, students, and policymakers make informed decisions about Inclusive Access and its implications for the campus community.

InclusiveAccess.org was developed by SPARC with generous support from the Michelson 20MM Foundation. Partners include AAC&U, Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, Creative Commons, DigiTex, Student PIRGs, Open Education Global, and OpenStax. …”

InclusiveAccess.org – The Facts on Automatic Textbook Billing

“Inclusive Access is a textbook sales model that adds the cost of digital course content into students’ tuition and fees. 

While Inclusive Access is intended to address high textbook costs, it also creates challenges for students and faculty. The higher education community deserves to understand the facts….

Inclusive Access, also known as automatic textbook billing, is a sales model for college textbooks. Temporary digital content is delivered to students by the first day of their course, often through a learning management system. Students have a short period to “opt out” before they are automatically billed for the content as part of their tuition and fees. At the end of the course, students lose access. 

Inclusive Access is known by a variety of names including First Day, ACCESS, All Access, Auto Access, Course Material Fee, Day One Access, Equitable Access, and Immediate Access….”

Welcome to the Open Education Leadership Program 2021-2022 Fellows! – SPARC

“SPARC is pleased to welcome the 2021-2022 cohort for the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program, an intensive professional development program to empower academic professionals to lead impactful open education initiatives. As the program enters its fifth year, the incoming cohort is composed of 25 fellows from a wide range of backgrounds, spanning from open education librarians, student leaders, and government program coordinators. Selected from a competitive application pool, the 2021-2022 fellows begin the program this week….”

COAR & SPARC Welcome Tina Baich as Visiting Program Officer for Repository Network in the United States – SPARC

“COAR and SPARC have a shared vision of creating a global, open knowledge sharing system that centers diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we believe repositories play a central role in achieving this vision.

To that end, we are delighted to announce that Tina Baich will be taking on the position as Visiting Program Officer for US Repository Network beginning on September 1, 2021. Tina is Senior Associate Dean for Scholarly Communication & Content Strategies at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis and is responsible for the leadership, strategic vision, and overall management of the library’s scholarly communication and collection/content activities and initiatives. Tina will spend about a quarter of her time in the newly established role….

A strong vision for repositories in the US, along with collective actions that ensure their quality, sustainability and interoperability, will greatly benefit the scholarly community, and will contribute to the development of a global knowledge sharing system that is both open by default and equitable by design. With the introduction of significant new functionalities through the COAR Next Generation Repositories Initiative and the COAR Notify Project, repositories are poised to take on a more expansive and innovative role in scholarly communications….”

The Lens: Open for Outcomes – SPARC

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed fault lines in how we as a society solve important problems. It has shown the urgent need for affordable, open and cooperative action informed by evidence — and inspired by imagination. Science alone doesn’t solve problems; at its best, it answers questions.  Useful solutions require finding, incentivizing, and coordinating many more actors in the innovation system to work together. 

To help facilitate this kind of environment, the Australian-based nonprofit social enterprise, Cambia, created and runs an online open platform called The Lens. It currently hosts 120 million global patent documents linked to a vast searchable database of over 220 million scholarly works and their metadata, compiled and normalized from numerous collaborators and sources, includes Microsoft Academic, PubMed, ORCID, Crossref, CORE, UnPaywall and many others….

Supported by grants from philanthropic organizations (including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Wellcome Trust, Sloan Foundation, Lemelson Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation), the initiative is now positioning itself to displace and supersede proprietary and closed systems from commercial competitors that fragment what could be a community of enterprise and public sector, working to advance outcomes, says Jefferson….”

On a Mission to Make Federal Data Sets More Useful and Accessible | SPARC

Although government agencies manage massive amounts of information, there is little known about exactly how it is used and by whom: Turns out, there is little data on federal data.

A new effort is underway to leverage artificial intelligence to better track what research is being done with what data. Ultimately, it could result in a data usage scorecard that could make it easier for researchers to find who else has used datasets in similar research, enabling them to reproduce results, advance science, and support government in the push to evidence-based decision making.

“Currently, the only way to find which databases have been used is to try and figure it out from reading  publications – and there are millions,” said Julia Lane, co-founder of the Coleridge Initiative, a nonprofit started in 2018 as a spin off from New York University, where Lane is on faculty. 

By building a modern machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP) approach to find what datasets are used in what publications, agencies can break down barriers to the access and use of public data. “The approach could demonstrate the value of data as a strategic asset,” she says.

New presidential executive orders push the use of evidence to address health, jobs and economic mobility, social justice and climate change issues. But you can’t make evidence bricks without data straw, Lane says: “What we really want to do is figure out to find how the data are used and then how to make it more useful.”

[…]

New Peer Review Model Pushes for Transparency and Efficiency in Science – SPARC

“Last December, a new platform was launched to provide scientists independent peer review of their work before submitting to a journal. Review Commons aims to give authors quick, clear, and objective insight that focuses on the rigor of the research rather than its fit for a particular publication. 

Spearheaded by ASAPbio, EMBO, and 17 affiliate journals in the life sciences, with funding from The Helmsley Charitable Trust, the initiative’s open approach is intended to expedite the publication process. It does this by allowing reviews to be reused by multiple journals, while providing publicly-visible feedback on research shared as preprints. Once authors receive comments, they have a chance to respond before submitting for consideration at one of the participating journals from EMBO Press, eLife, ASCB, The Company of Biologists, Rockefeller University Press and PLoS. …”

Jisc has joined Sparc Europe – Jisc scholarly communications

“Earlier this year, Jisc became a member of Sparc Europe, which may come as a bit of a surprise since Jisc and Sparc Europe have collaborated on various things over the years, such as the Research Data competition with the University of Cambridge, and Jisc provided founding support for the organisation back in 2003, along with Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and SURF in the Netherlands. Jisc is also a supporter of The Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS), and Sherpa Romeo, the Jisc service which aggregates and analyses publisher open access policies, is a direct beneficiary of the crowd sourcing initiative.

Part of the reason Jisc joined now, arguably, is precisely because of those engagements, as well as that during COVID, many organisations like Jisc, continue to see the value of promoting open access and open research as much as we can. Sparc Europe was one of the main contributors to the recently published Diamond OA Study, which included an in-depth report and associated recommendations arising from a study of open access journals across the world that are free for readers and authors; the other major contributor to that study was OPERAS, which stands for “open scholarly communication in the European Research Area for Social Sciences and Humanities”, of which Jisc is also a member. Jisc is also active in LIBER, the Association of European Research Libraries; even though we’re not members of Liber, there is much overlap in how both entities support libraries, and Sparc Europe again is actively engaged in that space. Jisc also has a representative who sits on the board of Sparc Europe. Therefore, it increasingly became obvious that both Sparc Europe and Jisc were working so closely together that it made perfect sense to be even more closely connected….”

Catalyzing the Creation of a Repository Network in the US – COAR

“COAR and SPARC have a shared vision of creating a global, open knowledge sharing system that centers diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we believe repositories play a central role in achieving this vision.

This is an important moment in time, in which open scholarship is more visible and widely-embraced than ever before. The urgency of addressing the COVID-19 pandemic has led many researchers to eagerly embrace new, faster ways of sharing their research papers, data, and more via repositories and other open platforms. There is a renewed interest in community ownership of both infrastructure and content, and a spotlight on empowering author’s rights retention due to new funder requirements, such as Plan S. There is also a growing recognition of the pressing need to intentionally build channels for greater inclusiveness and diversity of voices in the research communication system, as underscored in the UNESCO draft recommendations which were developed through consensus by over 100 member countries.

Yet, against this backdrop of encouraging developments, the trend toward commercial concentration in the publishing industry continues unabated. This consolidation exacerbates a number of serious problems in the system, including unacceptably high and ever-increasing costs for subscriptions and APCs (article processing charges). It also contributes to a steady decline in the diversity of publishing outlets and options – decreasing bibliodiversity, which is fundamental for a healthy ecosystem.

Individual repositories and a global repository network are critical infrastructure that provide the community with means for resisting this consolidation. Repositories are localized and can respond to different users’ needs, advancing equity and diversity in the scholarly communications ecosystem. When they are resourced properly, they are sustainable and long-lived, and because they are mostly managed by research institutions and their libraries, they are operated in a manner consistent with the academic community’s values. Moreover, repositories exemplify the key role institutions must play in preserving, curating, and making accessible content that would otherwise be unavailable to the world….”

Catalyzing the Creation of a Repository Network in the US – SPARC

“This is an important moment in time, in which open scholarship is more visible and widely-embraced than ever before. The urgency of addressing the COVID-19 pandemic has led many researchers to eagerly embrace new, faster ways of sharing their research papers, data, and more via repositories and other open platforms. There is a renewed interest in community ownership of both infrastructure and content, and a spotlight on empowering author’s rights retention due to new funder requirements, such as Plan S. There is also a growing recognition of the pressing need to intentionally build channels for greater inclusiveness and diversity of voices in the research communication system, as underscored in the UNESCO draft recommendations which were developed through consensus by over 100 member countries.

Yet, against this backdrop of encouraging developments, the trend toward commercial concentration in the publishing industry continues unabated. This consolidation exacerbates a number of serious problems in the system, including unacceptably high and ever-increasing costs for subscriptions and APCs (article processing charges). It also contributes to a steady decline in the diversity of publishing outlets and options – decreasing bibliodiversity, which is fundamental for a healthy ecosystem….

 

With this context in mind, COAR and SPARC believe that it is a critical time to support and better organize the repository network in the US. This is part of an ongoing global effort led by COAR to work with national and regional organizations to enhance the role of repositories internationally. A strong vision for repositories in the US, along with collective actions that ensure their quality, sustainability and interoperability, will greatly benefit the scholarly community, and will contribute to the development of a global knowledge sharing system that is both open by default and equitable by design. …”