Open Research Quarterly Update – Issue 2: June 2021

“Hello, and welcome to the June issue of the Open Research Quarterly Update (Digest). Here in the Open Research Services team at Jisc our mission is to help members embrace the benefits of open research by removing barriers, embedding open practices and developing open infrastructure. Much of our focus across Jisc involves working with the sector to negotiate agreements and develop services which underpin open research. This quarter’s update includes numerous examples of this in action.

Publications Router continues to expand its publishers’ contributions, while the Sherpa team have developed a new dataset which will provide details of Transitional Agreements to our users. In addition, Jisc Collections have been working with SCONUL to provide the Unsub dashboard. This month sees the first meeting of the Research Identifier National Coordinating Council (RINCC) on 21st June, which will coincide with the publication of a Cost Benefit Analysis Report, funded by the UK Persistent Identifiers (PIDs) for Open Access project….”

Open Science nonprofit OurResearch receives $4.5M grant from Arcadia Fund – OurResearch blog

“The grant, which follows an 2018 award for $850,000, will help expand two existing open-source software projects, as well as support the launch of two new ones:

Unpaywall, launched in 2017, has become the world’s most-used index of Open Access (OA) scholarly papers. The free Unpaywall extension has 400,000 active users, and its underlying database powers OA-related features in dozens of other tools including Web of Science, Scopus, and the European Open Science Monitor. All Unpaywall data is free and open.
Unsub is an analytics dashboard that helps academic libraries cancel their large journal subscriptions, freeing up money for OA publishing. Launched in late 2019, Unsub is now used by over 500 major libraries in the US and worldwide, including the national library consortia of Canada, Australia, Greece, Hong Kong, and the UK. 
JournalsDB will be a free and open database of scholarly journals. This resource will gather a wide range of data on tens of thousands of journals, emphasizing coverage of emerging open venues. 
OpenAlex will be a free and open bibliographic database, cataloging papers, authors, affiliations, citations, and journals. Inspired by the ancient Library of Alexandria, OpenAlex will strive to create a comprehensive map of the global scholarly conversation.  In a recent blog post, the team announced that OpenAlex will be released in time to serve as a replacement for Microsoft Academic Graph, whose discontinuation was also recently announced….”

Unsub Extender · Streamlit

This description from Twitter: 

“Very excited to announce my latest project: Unsub Extender! https://unsubextender.lib.iastate.edu

Run an @unsub_org export .csv file through Unsub Extender to automatically make interactive plots and visualizations with filters. Written in python w/@streamlit and Altair @jakevdp @ellisonbg…”

ACRL 2021 Environmental Scan

“Every other year, the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee provides a scan of higher education, detailing the current environment and its anticipated impact on libraries. While this year’s Environmental Scan is no different in terms of scope, we are now facing challenges to higher education on a scale not seen in decades. Across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives and livelihoods of millions of people, and in the United States, this disruption has been compounded by the eruption of protests surrounding civil rights and other social justice issues. While the 2021 Environmental Scan covers developments over the last two years (2019 and 2020), the events of 2020 are anticipated to have lasting repercussions, and, while not the primary focus, are a common thread throughout the document….

After years of debate, more academic libraries have begun to rethink the big deal, often with support from their faculty. Florida State University, Iowa State University, the State University of New York (SUNY), the University of California, and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill have all cancelled big deal packages in recent years. These decisions have been driven by evolving licensing principles, increased open access content, cost considerations, and new tools to analyze the impact of more targeted subscriptions.91 With current and inevitable future budget cuts taking place across the country, one can expect this trend to continue. Colleges and universities are facing difficult times that will impact academic library budgets, prompting major transformations in collection management, including the consideration of how to manage big deal packages.

Tilting the balance back towards libraries | Research Information

Jason Priem tells of his hopes for a ‘long-overdue’ change in academic publishing.

“This presents a compelling opportunity for us as OA advocates: by helping libraries quantify the alternatives to toll-access publishing, we can empower librarians to cancel multi-million dollar big deals. This in turn will begin to turn off the faucet of money flowing from universities to toll-access publishing houses. In short: by helping libraries cancel big deals, we can make toll-access publishing less profitable, and accelerate the transition toward universal OA.”

Unsub: Part 1: From Big Deals to Real Deals for Academic Publishing & Libraries – Charleston Hub

“The rise of sophisticated publishing units within and amongst academic institutions, often led by campus libraries, appeared along with the increasing use of pre-publication avenues and alternative publishing systems and other author posting options. Today we have a more nuanced publishing ecosystem of preprint servers, postprints repositories and other options, too many to name. These have been critical as new research has been shared broadly during the COVID crisis across the globe, proving the potential of these publishing options. 

In a recent study by University of Western Kentucky librarians reported that even though article purchasing represented a cost to the institution, “most of these institutions believe their article purchasing program is successful.” In a 2020 article posted on arXiv.org, Marc-Andre Simard, Jason Priem and Heather Piwowar  reviewed published literature on the impact of library Big Deal cancellations on academic libraries, noting that “cancellations have a surprisingly small effect on interlibrary loan requests.”  …”

 

Unsub: Part 1: From Big Deals to Real Deals for Academic Publishing & Libraries – Charleston Hub

“The rise of sophisticated publishing units within and amongst academic institutions, often led by campus libraries, appeared along with the increasing use of pre-publication avenues and alternative publishing systems and other author posting options. Today we have a more nuanced publishing ecosystem of preprint servers, postprints repositories and other options, too many to name. These have been critical as new research has been shared broadly during the COVID crisis across the globe, proving the potential of these publishing options. 

In a recent study by University of Western Kentucky librarians reported that even though article purchasing represented a cost to the institution, “most of these institutions believe their article purchasing program is successful.” In a 2020 article posted on arXiv.org, Marc-Andre Simard, Jason Priem and Heather Piwowar  reviewed published literature on the impact of library Big Deal cancellations on academic libraries, noting that “cancellations have a surprisingly small effect on interlibrary loan requests.”  …”

 

With 50% Cut, Virginia Research Libraries Recalibrate Relationship with Elsevier – SPARC

“Equity, affordability, and accessibility were at the center of the recent decision by the Virginia Research Libraries (VRL) consortium to cut their spend with Elsevier nearly in half while maintaining access to their most frequently used materials.

The decision by six members of VRL (William & Mary, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, George Mason University, Old Dominion University, and James Madison University) was grounded in a values-driven negotiation process that relied on data to make the case to move away from Elsevier’s “Big Deal” Freedom Collection. The new one-year agreement with Elsevier for 2021 significantly reduced the overall spend for each campus and allowed for a collection tailored to include each institution’s most used materials….”

Jisc partners with Unsub to evaluate UK university journal subscriptions | Jisc

“Jisc has announced that it will be using Unsub, an analytics dashboard, to help evaluate journal agreements that UK universities hold with publishers.

The dashboard, created in 2019 by the not-for-profit software company Our Research, can produce forecasts of different journal subscription scenarios, giving Jisc insight into the costs and benefits of subscription packages for each university and across the consortium. …”

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….”

This tool is saving universities millions of dollars in journal subscriptions | Science | AAAS

“In April, when the State University of New York (SUNY) system canceled a big subscription deal with Dutch publishing giant Elsevier in favor of a smaller, cheaper package of subscriptions, headlines focused on how much money the university would save: about $7 million. But behind the savings was a careful cost-benefit analysis and a software tool, Unsub, that helped SUNY work out how to get the most out of its subscription dollars. Many expect the approach to catch on more widely as cash-strapped universities try to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

SUNY was facing an annual $9 million bill for its subscription to about 2200 Elsevier titles. But Unsub revealed that by spending $2 million a year for just 248 of the journals, the university could give researchers at its 64 campuses immediate access to roughly 70% of the Elsevier papers they are likely to read in the next 5 years. The tool produces its forecasts by analyzing data from each university’s library journal usage, and by scouring the web to see how many of the papers that faculty and students access are already available for free.

Unsub is a “game changer,” says Mark McBride, SUNY’s library senior strategist in Albany, and “I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks that.” Like many universities chafing at high subscription fees and fearing the budget impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, SUNY was looking for savings. And with the help of Unsub, McBride says, it concluded “a big deal is no longer necessary in order for a library to function effectively.” …”

Taking a Big Bite Out of the Big Deal – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Unsub is the game-changing data analysis service that is helping librarians forecast, explore, and optimize their alternatives to the Big Deal. Unsub (known as Unpaywall Journals until just this week) supports librarians in making independent assessments of the value of their journal subscriptions relative to price paid rather than relying upon publisher-provided data alone. Librarians breaking away from the Big Deal often credit Unsub as a critical component of their strategy. I am grateful to Heather Piwowar and Jason Priem, co-founders of Our Research, a small nonprofit organization with an innocuous sounding name that is the provider of Unsub, for taking time to answer some questions for the benefit of the readers of The Scholarly Kitchen. …”