“Academic vs. commercial publishing almost three hundred years ago. The following is taken from a biography of Richard Bentley, arguably the greatest Latin scholar of modern times, and recounts how a public-spirited attempt to produce a new kind of scholarly publishing ran aground….”
“Now celebrating its 15th anniversary, at the turn of the millennium the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) put forward a seminal statement defining ‘open access’ as the free online availability of peer reviewed research. Despite little support for the BOAI initially, open access publishing is now commonplace and an estimated 28% of scientific literature is now predicted to be published in this way. In our interview with Melissa Hagemann, Senior Program Manager of the Open Society Foundations, and co-organiser of the meeting in Budapest, we talk about the history of the movement and the challenges it still faces today….”
The Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS), which formed just over a year ago, is about to make its first funding appeal to the global academic and research communities; a request for funding support for two widely used services: the Directory of Open Access Journals and SHERPA RoMEO.
“This document is a report prepared for the JSTOR Presses project “Exploring Usage of Open Access Books via the JSTOR Platform”. JSTOR’s Open Access Books platform launched in October 2016. The first four publishers to submit content to the platform were UCL Press, University of Michigan Press, Cornell University Press and California University Press. Usage of the OA books made available via JSTOR by these publishers has been far in excess of the usage that each publisher has previously recorded via other distribution channels. This report is the outcome of research commissioned and funded by the four presses. It engages with usage data made available by JSTOR relating to OA books in order to assist publishers in understanding how their OA content is being used; inform strategic decision making by individual presses in the future; and shed light on the potential for data relating to the uses of OA books to support the potential of open access books to reach wide audiences. Additional key aims of the research are to help inform JSTOR in the development of the JSTOR OA Books platform; and to inform the development of JSTOR usage reporting. Ensuring that JSTOR usage reporting reflects the needs of OA publishers is also an important goal of the project. All four publishers have contributed to a discussion of the role and practicalities of usage reporting services provided by JSTOR. The project focuses primarily on data collected by JSTOR and made available to the research team for the purposes of this study. The data considered in the report relates to the period between 12 August 2015 and 7 August 2017. This data has been augmented by a short questionnaire and interviews, carried out by phone with some of the publishers. It is important to note that books considered in this report became available via the JSTOR platform at different times. Some of the books included in the data set are also available in both OA and gated formats via the JSTOR platform.”
“SPARC has started a list of big-deal cancellations.
It’s a great idea. If the list doesn’t include any big-deal cancellations at your institution, let SPARC know. See the update buttons at the bottom of the page.
At launch time the list didn’t include Harvard’s 2003 cancellation of the Elsevier big deal, and I just sent SPARC some relevant links. As long as I’m doing that, I thought I’d blog them here as well. After the official announcement by Sidney Verba, I list the pieces in chronological order:
“A Letter from Sidney Verba,” (then Harvard’s University Librarian), Harvard University Library, December 9, 2003.
“Harvard is Pursuing its Own Elsevier Deal,” Library Journal, October 21, 2003.
Jeffrey C. Aguero, “Libraries to Cut Academic Journals,” Harvard Crimson, November 23, 2003.
“Libraries take a stand: Journals present rising costs to libraries – and to scholarship,” Harvard Gazette, February 5, 2004.
“The University Library is currently in negotiations with its largest supplier of academic journals, publishing magnate Reed Elsevier, hoping to secure a less restrictive contract.
Currently, Harvard and Reed Elsevier have a three-year contact, covering almost 800 journals, which is set to expire at the end of this year. According to library officials, the contract is very limiting in regards to changing and canceling subscriptions to certain journals….“They make it difficult to cancel and we get locked into buying. We want to sign a shorter term contract with more flexibility,” said [Sidney] Verba [University Librarian]….”
“As of January 1, the University is eliminating a number of journals published by Elsevier. Some of these titles were duplicate print subscriptions. Other titles were shown to have been underused over time. Harvard libraries will fulfill requests for articles from these journals through interlibrary loan and third-party document delivery services.
The decision to eliminate these journals was the result of careful consideration over the last 15 months. It was driven not only by current financial realities, but also—and perhaps more importantly—by the need to reassert control over our collections and to encourage new models for research publication at Harvard….”
“Students and faculty logging onto the HOLLIS catalog after winter break found a decrease in the number of periodicals available from Elsevier, one of the world’s largest publishers of scientific journals. According to Sidney Verba, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and director of the University Library, the decision to eliminate these journals was the result of 15 months of careful consideration. “It was driven not only by current financial realities,” Verba states, “but also – and perhaps more importantly – by the need to reassert control over our collections and to encourage new models for research publication at Harvard.” Similar steps have been taken at other major research institutions, including Cornell, Johns Hopkins, and the Triangle Research Libraries Network….”
“In a move that reflects the extent of academic librarians’ concerns with the inflexibility of so-called “big deal” e-journal packages, Harvard University likely will not sign a multi-year contract to renew access to Elsevier’s journals. Harvard University Library Director Sidney Verba said, “We haven’t finished negotiating, but in all likelihood we will not be signing the renewal offer through NERL, in the way in which they have put it forward.” NERL, the Northeast Research Library consortium, includes 21 research libraries, Harvard among them. Verba said the sticking points were the inflexible “bundling” of journals in the previous contract and the inability to cancel journal titles without incurring heavy penalties. In “big deal” packages, libraries are contractually locked in to subscriptions for extended periods, regardless of usage and changing budget situations, in exchange for deep discounts and caps on inflation. “The main point is the ability of libraries to control their own collections,” explained Verba, “to cancel what they want to cancel, to have the option of attrition, especially in times of real financial stress, like now. The Elsevier contract does not really allow that.” Harvard spends six percent of its materials budget on Elsevier–about four times more than on its second highest collection expense….”
“The University has drafted an ambitious plan on open science for the coming years. This plan will affect researchers. They are therefore encouraged to help the drafting committee create the best possible plan for our university on the 14th of December.”
“Large publishers have marketed bundles of journals at a discount off of aggregated list price since the late 1990’s. The value proposition for publishers is a guaranteed revenue stream at a high overall dollar value. The perceived benefit for the institutions has been access to a large volume of journal titles, at a lower per-title price than ala carte purchasing would afford. Over time, however, the actual value of these “big deals” has grown less clear. Publishers have often raised the price of the packages by 5-15%, far outpacing library budgets. This has been justified, in part, by the addition of a growing number of specialized journal titles, launched in quick succession. Libraries have found a growing chunk of their budgets allocated to servicing these big deals, as well as their ability to curate resources and build collections most appropriate for their communities severely hampered.
What was once a no-fuss way to get a significant collection of journals at a discount off of list price has devolved into a restrictive agreement that limits financial and strategic flexibility. The “big deal” has often been compared to a cable or satellite TV package, an apt analogy insofar as the customer cannot choose to pass on content that is of no interest, with initial price breaks quickly giving way to locked-in increases. Much like the millions of consumers who have chosen to “cut the cord”, a growing number of libraries are electing to critically appraise these big deals by assessing their collections, the value for money they are receiving from these packages, and how they might more strategically spend their finite collections resources….”
“Professor Feng Zhang’s original 2013 gene editing paper on CRISPR/Cas amassed nearly 2,400 citations in its first four years (1). In addition to publishing in Science, Professor Zhang deposited the associated plasmids with Addgene. Since then, Addgene has filled over 6,500 requests for these plasmids. While clearly an outlier, this story had us wondering: is there a larger trend here? Do papers associated with Addgene deposits accumulate more citations than those without Addgene deposits? Even more interestingly, could we tell if depositing a plasmid with Addgene causes a paper to get cited more? …So what do we find [from Web of Science]? Lots more citations for the papers with plasmids deposited at Addgene – typically about four times as many as papers without plasmids deposited with Addgene….”
“ScholarlyHub has launched a crowdfunding campaign to build a new, multi-disciplinary open-access platform for scholarly communications. It aims to boost interaction among scholars and enhance their ability to share their work with the public at large, free from the constraints placed by publishing conglomerates and myopic government policies. ScholarlyHub will be an inclusive but critical space where curiosity and creativity can flourish and where scholars’ independence is protected for their own benefit and that of society at large.This non-profit platform will redefine social networks for scholars. The major academic social networking sites have been backed by venture capitalists, whose primary goal to profit from scraping and selling scholars’ data. ScholarlyHub, by contrast, is committed to scholarship, not profit. It aims to repair an unjust academic system and a global disparity in access to research, which is often publicly funded. By creating a member-run social network, ScholarlyHub will become a sustainable alternative for bringing scholars closer together in an increasingly fragmented academic landscape….”
“Some open-access publishers offer institutional memberships, whereby a fixed annual fee, often based on the size of faculty or expected number of submitted articles, covers all or a percentage of article-processing fees for the institution for the year.
The issue of OA publisher memberships is interesting and fraught. Harvard University is not currently a member of any of the major OA publishers—BioMed Central, Hindawi, or Public Library of Science. (Actually, Harvard Medical School is a PLoS member.) I’m not involved in Harvard’s decisions about institutional memberships, although I am not a fan of memberships in general, as you will see. I’ll explain my own view of the difficulty with memberships in terms of the market design for publisher services, and then talk about what alternatives there are….”
“Aggregating the world’s open access research papers
We offer seamless access to millions of open access research papers, enrich the collected data for text-mining and provide unique services to the research community….”