West Texas A&M says it won’t charge for textbooks next fall

“West Texas A&M University’s president made a splashy announcement late last week: effective next fall, his university would no longer charge students for “textbooks.”…

“I wrote an op-ed published on October 26, 2018, entitled Text-Book Free, Not Free Textbooks,” Wendler wrote. “I waited and prodded for campus responses for five years. In some areas, faculty worked diligently to help reduce the use of textbooks and have succeeded in varying degrees. During the ensuing five years, the world has changed remarkably as more information is available from web search engines and generative artificial intelligence (AI) programs, which make possible the development of teaching materials for every course we teach.” …

The [no-confidence] resolution also criticized Wendler’s “encouraging faculty to invest significant time” to create “open-access materials rather than developing or revising materials with traditional publishers.” …”

Guest Post – Texas Library Coalition for United Action (TLCUA) and Elsevier Conclude Negotiations for Access to ScienceDirect Journals – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Designing an access and pricing model that satisfies the needs of a diverse membership like TLCUA’s presents a unique challenge. Starting with clear objectives and sticking with them is one of the basics of successful negotiation. TLCUA tested that principle by beginning with two goals that could be satisfied in multiple ways. TLCUA’s lofty goal of a single pricing model that meets the needs of all members and is unrelated to historical spend proved untenable, as members were dealing with different financial pressures and different needs for access. Instead, the coalition agreed on several package options for members.

All the options address TLCUA’s concern with financial sustainability, with reduced spends ranging from 2.5% to 30%. All options include a price decrease in the first year. The contract term aligns all TLCUA contracts to end in 2024. Three-year contracts have a 0% price increase in year two and a 2% price increase in year three, while four-year contracts have a 0% increase in year two, a 1% increase in year three, and a 2% increase in year four.

In the agreement, TLCUA and Elsevier agreed to remove references to outdated CONTU guidelines in the interlibrary loan provision. In addition, the parties agreed to remove non-disclosure terms from licenses. Both changes are important for libraries to work together to meet the needs of the scholarly community….

The agreement includes two provisions focused on increasing access to scholarly publications. First, authors affiliated with a TLCUA member are entitled to a discount on APCs during the contract period. Authors publishing in Elsevier Gold OA journals receive a 10% discount, while those publishing in Hybrid OA journals receive a 15% discount. Cell Press titles, The Lancet, and certain society titles are excluded from the discount. Elsevier has extended similar discounts to other groups. There is no cap on the number of articles TLCUA members can publish as open access using these discounts.

Second, TLCUA asked Elsevier to explore alternatives to authors permanently transferring copyright to publishers, without requiring the author to pay an APC for open access publishing. Publishers say that signing over copyright to them allows them to recoup the costs of producing a journal, plus some profit.  In the United States, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years, which seems longer than needed to meet the goal of providing publishers appropriate recompense for the valuable services they provide. Elsevier, like many publishers, has an author rights statement, which outlines ways authors may use their own work without requesting permission from the publisher. TLCUA acknowledges that Elsevier’s author rights statement meets many needs, but seeks a more robust protection for authors. Not only are author rights statements subject to change by the publisher, but when journals are acquired, the new publisher may not offer the same privileges….”

Return of the Big Deal: Developments in Texas and India – The Scholarly Kitchen

“But it’s worth noting several recent developments that are nudging the scholarly communication ecosystem in the opposite direction and therefore complicate that future outlook….

For example, a deal struck in November between Elsevier and 44 universities in Texas (operating as the Texas Library Coalition for United Action, or TLCUA) provides for discounted and expanded access to Elsevier content across the consortium – a group that represents more than 660,000 students and 44,000 faculty. This is, importantly, a toll-access arrangement, not an OA arrangement – though it’s also worth noting that its terms include a rights reversion to authors whereby, after an initial copyright transfer from authors to the publisher at the time of publication, “rights (will) go back to authors after a period of time that will be collaboratively determined with Elsevier.” This will make it possible for authors to distribute their work on an OA basis after that period, but there doesn’t seem to be any requirement that they do so – and, of course, not everyone will agree that delayed rights reversion constitutes genuinely “open” access in any case. In other words, this large and important agreement does not move the scholarly communication ecosystem in the direction of a universal OA transition. Instead, what it represents is a slightly altered version of the much-maligned Big Deal model, at a state-wide scale and with a rights-reversion component. (There will be much more discussion of the TLCUA agreement to come in The Scholarly Kitchen.)…

Another, more recent announcement from India describes a deal currently in the works that – if realized – will create another roadblock (or at least a speed bump) on the road to universal OA. India’s national ONOS (“One Nation One Subscription”) program, which has been in the works since 2017 and will reportedly be implemented in April of this year, would be a multi-publisher, national-level Big Deal agreement, the purpose of which is to contain costs while making content available to all Indian institutions of higher education. While details are still a bit hard to come by, India’s Ministry of Education has reportedly issued a statement saying that the government “is considering 70 publishers’ resources under the first phase,” and there are also reports that the government’s Higher Education Secretary has asked university officials to coordinate this year’s subscription renewals with the work of the ONOS team. (I’ve been unable to locate any of these government statements themselves online, including at the website of India’s Ministry of Education; all of the information I’ve provided here is from third-party news sites. If any readers can provide links to government memos or press releases, please do so in the comments.)…”

Texas consortium of 44 colleges strikes deal with Elsevier

” “If you want open access to become the universal model of access to scholarship, then [this deal] … is going to feel like a real setback,” Rick Anderson, university librarian at Brigham Young University, said, referring to the set of principles and practices in which research articles are available online free, without barriers. “But if you’re OK with the subscription model in principle and just want to see it work better for all parties, then this deal provides what may be a very useful template.”…

Lower Costs, More (Though Not Open) Access

In the agreement, Elsevier said it will cap annual increases at 2 percent, which is lower than the industry standard—“startlingly low,” Anderson said. That near-term cost certainty will allow member institutions to budget responsibly, according to Charles Weaver, associate dean for sciences and professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University, who served on the consortium’s negotiating team. Baylor is a consortium member.

The deal also includes a pilot project in which article copyrights revert to authors “after a period of time that will be collaboratively determined” by consortium members and Elsevier, according to the news release. In addition, authors affiliated with the consortium who publish open access will pay discounted author publication charges….

But some, including some consortium members, see some shortcomings.

“Our institution would have liked to see more increased focus on open-access publishing,” said Catherine Rudowsky, dean of university libraries at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, who served on the steering committee and whose institution is a coalition member. “We appreciated the reduced author publication charges, but at the end of the day, we are still paying Elsevier to read and to publish. We will not solve the world’s biggest problems by limiting access to research and by controlling information.” …”

Texas consortium of 44 colleges strikes deal with Elsevier

” “If you want open access to become the universal model of access to scholarship, then [this deal] … is going to feel like a real setback,” Rick Anderson, university librarian at Brigham Young University, said, referring to the set of principles and practices in which research articles are available online free, without barriers. “But if you’re OK with the subscription model in principle and just want to see it work better for all parties, then this deal provides what may be a very useful template.”…

Lower Costs, More (Though Not Open) Access

In the agreement, Elsevier said it will cap annual increases at 2 percent, which is lower than the industry standard—“startlingly low,” Anderson said. That near-term cost certainty will allow member institutions to budget responsibly, according to Charles Weaver, associate dean for sciences and professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University, who served on the consortium’s negotiating team. Baylor is a consortium member.

The deal also includes a pilot project in which article copyrights revert to authors “after a period of time that will be collaboratively determined” by consortium members and Elsevier, according to the news release. In addition, authors affiliated with the consortium who publish open access will pay discounted author publication charges….

But some, including some consortium members, see some shortcomings.

“Our institution would have liked to see more increased focus on open-access publishing,” said Catherine Rudowsky, dean of university libraries at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, who served on the steering committee and whose institution is a coalition member. “We appreciated the reduced author publication charges, but at the end of the day, we are still paying Elsevier to read and to publish. We will not solve the world’s biggest problems by limiting access to research and by controlling information.” …”

Library Coalition agreement with Elsevier results in lower costs, greater access – Odessa American

“All TLCUA members will receive a discount on journal subscriptions–some as high as 30%–while still maintaining significant amounts of access to journals and combined, will realize a savings of over $4.75M annually. Beyond initial cost savings, Elsevier agreed to a maximum annual increase of 2% over the course of the license agreement, with some years as low as 0%, which is significantly lower than industry standard.

TLCUA and Elsevier have agreed to partner on a pilot project to revert ownership of journal articles back to original authors—and not just those at TLCUA-member institutions. Currently, authors transfer copyright of their work in exchange for that work being published. This pilot will provide for rights to go back to authors after a period of time that will be collaboratively determined with Elsevier. A subset of Elsevier journals will be chosen to study the impact of the copyright reversion pilot for authors and its applicability more broadly to STEM (scientific, technical, engineering and medical) publishers, the release said….”

Texas Universities Reach Historic Deal with Elsevier: TLCUA Saves Texas Universities Millions Collectively

Texas Library Coalition for United Action (TLCUA) is pleased to announce that it has concluded negotiations with Elsevier, and all TLCUA members have signed or are finalizing new agreements for subscription journal access. In 2019, 44 public and private university campuses across Texas joined together to form TLCUA to think creatively about access to faculty publications and the sustainability of journal subscriptions. TLCUA has negotiated with Elsevier, the world’s largest publisher of scientific journals, including The Lancet and Cell and over 2,500 other journals covering topics in medicine, biology, psychology, engineering, business and more. The TLCUA effort aligns with other libraries across academia that have sought to evolve the relationship between libraries and publishers and find new ways to thrive together.

All TLCUA members will receive a discount on journal subscriptions—some as high as 30%—while still maintaining significant amounts of access to journals and combined, will realize a savings of over $4.75M annually. Beyond initial cost savings, Elsevier agreed to a maximum annual increase of 2% over the course of the license agreement, with some years as low as 0%, which is significantly lower than industry standard.

Texas ScholarWorks Marks a Milestone | TexLibris

“UT Libraries is excited to announce that Texas ScholarWorks (TSW) has crossed the 100,000 item threshold!…

Texas ScholarWorks (formerly the University of Texas Digital Repository) was created to provide open, online access to the products of the University’s research and scholarship, preserve these works for future generations, promote new models of scholarly communication and deepen community understanding of the value of higher education….”

 

Depositing Data: A Usability Study of the Texas Data Repository

Abstract:  Objective: The purpose of this study is to examine the usability of the Texas Data Repository (TDR) for the data depositors who are unfamiliar with its interface and use the results to improve user experience.

Methods: This mixed-method research study collected qualitative and quantitative data through a pre-survey, a task-oriented usability test with a think-aloud protocol, and an exit questionnaire. Analysis of the quantitative (i.e., descriptive statistics) and qualitative data (e.g., content analysis of the thinking-aloud protocols) were employed to examine the TDR’s usability for first-time data depositors at Texas A&M University.

Results: While the study revealed that the users were generally satisfied with their experience, the data suggest that a majority of the participants had difficulty understanding the difference between a dataverse collection and dataset, and often found adding or editing metadata overwhelming. The platform’s tiered model for metadata description is core to its function, but many participants did not have an accurate mental model of the platform, which left them scrolling up and down the page or jumping back and forth between different tabs and pages to perform a single task. Based on the results, the authors made some recommendations.

Conclusions: While this paper relies heavily on the context of the Harvard Dataverse repository platform, the authors posit that any self-deposit model, regardless of platform, could benefit from these recommendations. We noticed that completing various metadata fields in the TDR required participants to pivot their mindset from a data creator to that of a data curator. Moreover, the methods used to investigate the usability of the repository can be used to develop additional studies in a variety of repository and service model contexts. 

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi – Workday

“The Mary and Jeff Bell Library at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) invites applications for an Open Education Librarian at the rank of Assistant or Associate Librarian. This is a non-tenure track faculty librarian position. The Open Education Librarian will work to facilitate the adoption, adaptation, and creation of open educational resources (OER) at TAMU-CC through advocacy, outreach, and training. The Open Education Librarian will collaborate with faculty from a broad range of disciplines, as well as students, staff, administrators, and consortial partners. In partnership with the Scholarly Communication and Copyright Librarian, the Open Education Librarian will contribute actively to the overall scholarly communications program, which includes open access, author rights, scholarly publishing, data management, and repositories. This faculty librarian position reports to the Director of User and Research Services and will participate in departmental activities such as liaison librarianship, library instruction, and reference services.”

Inaugural Open Education Fellows Announced | TexLibris

“The University of Texas Libraries is pleased to announce the cohort in the Open Education Fellows pilot program. A competitive application process yielded many high impact proposals, and the selection committee undertook the difficult task of narrowing the outstanding crowd to officially name three Open Education Fellows who will convert their courses to zero-cost required materials through the adoption of existing open educational resources (OER) and one team of Open Education Fellows who will develop their own OER to serve students at The University of Texas at Austin and beyond.

Please join us in congratulating the Adoption / Adaptation Fellows, Dr. Joel Nibert (Department of Mathematics), Dr. Diane McDaniel Rhodes (School of Social Work), and Dr. Amy Kristin Sanders (School of Journalism and Media), as well as the team of Authorship Fellows, Dr. Joshua Frank, Dr. Delia Montesinos, and Mina Ogando Lavin (Department of Spanish & Portuguese). …”

Assistant/Associate Librarian, Open Education

“The Mary and Jeff Bell Library at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) invites applications for an Open Education Librarian at the rank of Assistant or Associate Librarian. This is a non-tenure track faculty librarian position and rank will be determined upon qualifications. The Open Education Librarian will work to facilitate the adoption, adaptation, and creation of open educational resources (OER) at TAMU-CC through advocacy, outreach, and training. The Open Education Librarian will collaborate with faculty from a broad range of disciplines, as well as students, staff, administrators, and consortial partners. In partnership with the Scholarly Communication and Copyright Librarian, the Open Education Librarian will contribute actively to the overall scholarly communications program, which includes open access, author rights, scholarly publishing, data management, and repositories. This faculty librarian position reports to the Director of User and Research Services and will participate in departmental activities such as liaison librarianship, library instruction, and reference services.”

Texas Adopts Transparency Measure for Automatic Textbook Billing – SPARC

“The U.S. state of Texas has enacted the nation’s first law to increase transparency for automatic textbook billing programs. Sponsored by Representative Tan Parker and Senator Brandon Creighton, House Bill 1027 received bipartisan approval from the state legislature last month and was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbot last week.

Often marketed using the term “inclusive access,” automatic textbook billing is the practice of charging the cost of digital course materials to a student’s tuition and fee bill. While some of these programs are implemented on a voluntary “opt-in” basis, others are implemented without confirming a student’s consent, which can lead to unexpected charges and limited ability to seek cost-saving alternatives such as used books. Moreover, these programs effectively force students to accept the publisher’s terms of service, which can open the door to the extensive collection and processing of their personal data….”