Abstract: This study investigates how article downloads from ScienceDirect changed after Temple University Libraries downsized its all-inclusive Elsevier big deal bundle to a selective custom package. After the libraries lost current-year access to nearly half of Elsevier’s active journals, the total downloads from Elsevier journals declined by 16.2 percent over three years. Combined use of still-subscribed and open access journals fell 10.6 percent in the same three years, suggesting that the drop in total use is due not only to the loss of journals but also to factors that would affect the remaining journals, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and a slight decrease in enrollment. Patrons may have substituted articles from still-subscribed and open access journals for those that were canceled, though the data are not conclusive. Reliance on open access appears to have increased.
“Over the past year or so my colleagues at Temple University Libraries and I have been engaged in a project to assess various open access publishing initiatives. Led by myself and Collections Analysis Librarian Karen Kohn, our goal was to develop a plan for how the Libraries might more strategically use the collections budget to support the global transition to open. Towards this end, we organized all-staff discussions, brought in a speaker, and did a lot of reading about what other libraries are doing.
Throughout this project, I have been struck by what I see as the central tension within this work: we want to experiment and support innovative approaches to open access but at the same time we need these initiatives to be sustainable for our organization….
After a year spent learning, thinking, talking, and writing, our group came up with four priorities that will guide future decisions as to which open publishing initiatives we support. These priorities include:
Non-APC or BPC-based models
Initiatives that focus on disciplines that are less likely to have researchers with grant funding
Initiatives spearheaded by university presses or scholarly societies
Models in which the cost is comparable to a similar paywalled product and/or the change in cost over time is predictable…”
“That sentiment echoes what Temple Student Government (TSG) found in a survey it conducted last fall on textbook affordability. In response to the prompt: “Indicate how course materials have affected you this [fall 2020] semester,” 41% of the respondents replied that they worked extra hours at their job to afford course materials, 24% said they chose classes and sections based on the cost of the learning materials and 28% had to prioritize the purchase of access code content over other learning materials. In their comments, students reported skipping meals and not paying bills in order to pay for course materials, while others admitted to dropping a class because they could not afford the textbook.
With students facing financial challenges compounded by the pandemic, including lower family earnings or lost part-time job wages, etc., the high cost of textbooks is more prohibitive than ever. That’s why a group of faculty and administrators, known as the Textbook Task Force , have doubled down on their efforts to ease that financial strain.
The task force was organized by Executive Vice President and Provost JoAnne A. Epps in 2019 and is charged with developings strategies for creating more awareness among faculty about textbook affordability challenges students face and how faculty can seek out and adopt open and zero-cost learning materials….”