Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies News – The Importance of Open Access Scholarship in Structural Equity and Inclusion

“The theme for the 2020 Open Access Week is “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion.” The theme is timely in light of the structural inequities that have come to light in recent months with the global pandemic as well as the world-wide protests and social unrest that have been a product of the killing of George Floyd in June. Although, at the surface, it might be difficult to see any connection between these phenomena and structures related to scholarly output and dissemination, it serves as a stark reminder of the interconnectedness of things like research output and the commodification and corporatization of higher education. 

I think many of us know that our current systems in this realm are not sustainable and that they privilege organizations and institutions that have long benefited from the “usual” ways of doing things to the detriment or disadvantage of other stakeholders. But how does “open” help to address these broader structural inequities? Is it a panacea or simply a cog within a larger mechanism that needs significant overhaul and restructuring in order to run efficiently while accomplishing the function intended? It may be the latter, but with an understanding that no complex mechanism can run if it has a critical, structural piece missing. 

Perhaps, in some ways, open access to scholarly content and educational resources can serve as a model for delivering on the promise of equity as we engage in critical analysis of broader educational and societal systems that must be reimagined and rebuilt. Open Access Week provides an excellent opportunity to explore these issues and to imagine what we might be able to accomplish collaboratively if we think boldly about making structural change….”

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.)  …”

Purdue University Libraries, Strategic Plan 2016-2019

Open access has a prominent place in the new (August 2016) Strategic Plan for the Purdue University Libraries. See the opening paragraph on the mission of the Libraries, and see Goal Two.