Alternate Publishing Model? – Your Say

“Did you know that the STM (Scientific, Technical and Medical) scholarly publishing industry was worth US$25 700 000 000 globally in 2017 [1]? Have you heard about an enormous profit of above 30% [2] made by most commercial publishers? Roughly calculating, it will give us around US$7 700 000 000 that could have been spent on research instead. Therefore, it should not be surprising that scientists around the world have been concerned about this matter for years. One quickly realizes that the system of scientific publishing is flawed, but is there a way to improve it?…

Scientist are generally aware of the crisis in academic publishing, but not everyone sees the simple solution: the abrupt discontinuation of feeding commercial publishers with both money and content. Plan X posits that scientific articles are published directly by universities. Such a move will force every university to establish their own publishing department. Even if it would cost them more than the sum they spend on the access to private publishers’ portfolio, it will finally provide the publishing system with unlimited access and evolution. The most important point is that the principles of the publishing system will not change, only the publishing bodies will. Therefore, the peer review[4] process will not change, but it will become as strict as the university would like it to be. One can quickly realize what would happen with the Impact factor (IF)[5]. IF will directly describe the university’s competitiveness. However, there is one requirement for this system to work. All the scientists have to publish only within their own affiliated university. It would additionally solve another issue – the pressure on publishing in high IF journals. Many granting agencies already require using papers citations as a measurement of one’s scientific success. However, this is just a tip of the iceberg of all improvements, which Plan X will bring….”

VRL reaches agreement for new one-year agreement with Elsevier | UVA Library News and Announcements

“Most of the Virginia research libraries involved in the negotiation are experiencing budget shortfalls for 2021 and projecting budget shortfalls for 2022. Each institution involved reduced its overall spend for the year, balancing its COVID-distressed budget for 2021. The new agreement frees the institutions from the “Big Deal” Freedom Collection, allowing for a collection that better suits users’ needs….”

JMU Signs a New One-year Agreement With Elsevier : JMU Libraries

“JMU [James Madison University] recently completed contract negotiations with Elsevier, one of the world’s largest and most profitable academic publishers. As part of a coalition of public doctoral institutions in Virginia (including the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, Old Dominion University, and William & Mary), the JMU Libraries negotiated a new, one-year 2021 agreement addressing our priorities of affordability, accessibility, and equity….

As we have shared throughout the year, our Virginia Research Libraries (VRL) coalition has been moving toward a new, more sustainable arrangement with Elsevier, anticipated to begin in 2022. Due to the pandemic’s negative effect on operating budgets, we accelerated this process, and asked to renegotiate the last year of our current, five-year contract. This final year would have cost approximately $10 million across the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nearly a half million dollars at JMU….

With our revised contract, we have realized much-needed cost savings and successfully unbundled the “Big Deal” of Elsevier’s “Freedom Collection,” a package of journals that included many unwanted titles. We now subscribe only to the Elsevier journals that our campus most frequently needs and uses….”

Elsevier and open access

“We have now applied for transformative journal status for a large number of journals from across our portfolio. These titles, including many by Cell Press, commit to transformative journal criteria. Please see the full list of transformative journals and visit the relevant individual journal home pages for more information….

Over the past 12 months, Elsevier has formed numerous pilot agreements around the world that support the open science and open access research ambitions of institutions and university consortia.

Each of these agreements is tailored to the specific needs of our partners, ranging from reading and publishing services, to broader areas such as reproducibility, transparency and collaboration in research. Our aim is to test and learn, to better understand how we can support all our customers’ differing needs….

Texas A&M University Faculty Senate Backs University Libraries

“This year, Texas A&M University Libraries joined 43 Academic Libraries across Texas to create the Texas Library Coalition for United Action (TLCUA). The Coalition hopes to change current publishing models as well as the relationships between academic institutions and publishers, including academic publisher Elsevier.

The University Libraries and TLCUA got a boost on Nov. 9 when the Texas A&M Faculty Senate unanimously passed a formal resolution supporting the negotiations being conducted with Elsevier. The resolution shows that A&M Faculty understand the importance of the work being done to create a more open and sustainable scholarly publishing ecosystem. The resolution also shows that faculty stand prepared for any outcome with the negotiations including the Coalition walking away from negotiations even at the risk of loss of access to current Elsevier content….”

Swedish researchers’ responses to the cancellation of the big deal with Elsevier

Abstract:  In 2018, the Swedish library consortium, Bibsam, decided to cancel big deal subscriptions with Elsevier. Many researchers (n = 4,221) let their voices be heard in a survey on the consequences of the cancellation. Almost a third of them (n = 1,241) chose to leave free-text responses to the survey question ‘Is there anything you would like to add?’. A content analysis on these responses resulted in six themes and from these, three main conclusions are drawn. First, there is no consensus among researchers on whether the cancellation was for good or evil. The most common argument in favour of the cancellation was the principle. The most common argument against cancellation was that it harms researchers and research. A third of the free-text responses expressed ambivalence towards the cancellation, typically as a conflict between wanting to change the current publishing system and simultaneously suffering from the consequences of the cancellation. The general support for open access in principle reveals a flawed publishing system, as most feel the pressure to publish in prestigious journals behind paywalls in practice. Second, it was difficult for researchers to take a position for or against cancellation due to their limited knowledge of the ongoing work of higher education institutions and library consortia. Finally, there are indications that the cancellation made researchers reflect on open access and to some extent alter their publication pattern through their choice of copyright licence and publication channel.


UC/Elsevier Negotiations

“Following a series of informal meetings with Elsevier this spring and summer that suggest there may be new potential for progress, UC’s publisher negotiations team has restarted formal negotiations with Elsevier. UC remains committed to its goal of reaching an agreement that provides for open access publishing of UC-authored articles and restores UC’s access to Elsevier journal content, at a reasonable cost….

As each of its multiyear contracts with large scholarly journal publishers comes to an end, the University of California — in close consultation with all 10 campus libraries and the Academic Senate — is working to hold down the rapidly escalating costs associated with for-profit journals and to facilitate open access publishing of UC research.


UC’s last contract with Elsevier expired as of January 1, 2019, and Elsevier has discontinued UC’s access via its online platform, ScienceDirect, to articles published since that date (and some older articles). Articles published before 2019 in the vast majority of journals used by UC scholars should continue to be available via ScienceDirect….”

Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies News – Purdue University Libraries in Negotiations with Elsevier

“This past June, we alerted Elsevier that we must reduce Purdue’s total spend on publications by $1.5M.  This reduction is necessary due to the Libraries’ allocated budget and also reflects the need for more fair and equitable pricing.  Purdue pays more for Elsevier subscriptions than many of our peer institutions, and our contracts are based on a complicated and archaic pricing strategy that favors Elsevier while hurting universities like Purdue.  

In July, Elsevier proposed three options for 2021 pricing, none of which met our need for a reduced cost.  We offered a reasonable counter proposal in August, which Elsevier declined to consider. …

If Purdue cannot come to a satisfactory conclusion with Elsevier and reach an agreement which is both affordable and sustainable, we will be forced to significantly reduce the number of journals to which we subscribe.  Over the past few years, some universities have terminated their subscription contracts with Elsevier entirely, and others have greatly reduced their subscription offerings, all due to the inability to arrive at a satisfactory cost agreement.  (See the University of California and the University of North Carolina for recent examples.)  …”

Serials Price Projection Report 2021

“At the time of writing, we expect the overall effective publisher price increases for academic and academic medical libraries for 2021 (before any currency impact) to be in the range of 2 to 3 percent for individual titles. Also important is the role of e-journal packages in the information marketplace. More than half of EBSCO’s sales for 2020 were from e-journal packages; likewise, library budgets are, in large part, spent on these collections. As a result, their impact on the overall serials price increase is significant. We expect the overall average price increase for e-journal packages, including provisions for mandatory take-over titles, upgrades, etc. to be in the range of 1 to 3 percent….”


Full article: Dismal Results from a Print Periodical Usage Study

“Print periodicals have been a cornerstone of libraries for over 100 years. Over the past 20 years print periodicals have been eclipsed by online journal databases and individual e-journals, but most libraries still subscribe to some print journals. In 2019 Tennessee Technological University  undertook a thorough study of the usage of the current print periodical subscriptions by attaching survey forms to the covers of recent issues. The results showed that most newspapers and scholarly print periodicals were not used at all and the majority could be cancelled. Popular magazines showed slightly higher usage, but many of them could be dropped as well….

As a profession we need to make data driven decisions. Even though libraries have been cutting print periodical expenditures for many decades, it may be time to cut even more. It may be common knowledge that print periodical usage is down, but it may not be common knowledge that usage is zero.”

Survey of Academic & Research Library Plans for Journal Subscriptions Cancellations

“This study looks closely at academic and research library plans for their scholarly journal subscriptions.  These subscriptions are the heart of a research library’s scholarly services and often constitute the majority of materials spending, making them particularly vulnerable in an economic downturn.  This study helps its readers to answer questions such as: how many journal subscriptions have libraries cancelled this year? How many do they plan to cancel next year? Do they plan to add any subscriptions?  How much do they plan to spend overall on journals subscriptions and what is the likely trend? What are their criterial for subscription cancellation and which academic fields will be the hardest hit? What process or procedures do they follow when cancelling subscriptions? Are faculty consulted? How many proposed cancellations are prevented by faculty objections?  What percentage are saved due to agreements from faculty to partially or wholly support their cost?  What means do libraries use to satisfy requests for lost content when they cancel subscriptions?  How successful are these means in meeting library patron needs?

Just a few of the many findings of this 73-page report are:

Doctoral and MA/Level institutions in the sample plan to cancel a mean of 31.78 titles in the next year.

47.06% of libraries sample use a quantitative measure related to overall cost or cost per use to identify candidates for subscription cancellation.

The smaller the library, the greater the percentage of libraries that give faculty a chance to object to journals cancellations.

For research universities, the range of the percentage of times librarians are able to satisfy requests for content from recently cancelled journals is extraordinary with one participant able to satisfy library patron needs only 7.5% of the time, another, 90% of the time.”

Unsub Gives Libraries Powerful Evidence to Walk Away from Big Deals – SPARC

“Heather Piwowar and Jason Priem are working non-stop to accelerate the pace of the open science revolution.

The pair co-founded the non-profit organization Our Research, which recently developed and debuted Unsub, a data dashboard and forecasting tool that helps academic libraries cut their subscriptions to expensive bundles of toll-access journals….

Unsub (formerly known as Unpaywall Journals) has widely been hailed as a game changer in the scholarly communications market, providing institutions with the leverage they need when negotiating with publishers over journal subscription packages.  The tool forecasts the value and costs of individual journals to specific institutions, leveling the playing field for the first time for libraries when conducting negotiations with publishers….”

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 publisher deals if they don’t respond to current financial pressures warn major sector bodies – Research Libraries UK

“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.

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….”