MIT ends negotiations with Elsevier over research access dispute

“The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has ended negotiations over a new contract with the major journal publisher Elsevier, making it the latest high-profile academic institution to walk away from Elsevier amid an escalating fight that could shape the way that academic research gets read and paid for….”

MIT and Elsevier | Scholarly Publishing – MIT Libraries

“MIT has long been a leader in sharing its research and scholarship openly with the world. In the face of unprecedented global challenges, equitable and open access to knowledge is more critical than ever.

For several months, the MIT Libraries had been in discussions with Elsevier, one of the largest publishers of scholarly journals in the world, about a new journals contract. Guided by the principles of the MIT Framework for Publisher Contracts, MIT Libraries sought a contract that would reflect the Institute’s values and needs and preserve our ability to share MIT research openly with the world.

Despite our best efforts, including agreeing to a six-month extension of our current contract to provide Elsevier time to develop an offer for us based on principles we shared with them in August 2019, Elsevier was unable to present a proposal that aligned with the framework. After months of good faith negotiations, it became clear that Elsevier was not able to meet our needs, so we ended negotiations at the conclusion of our six-month extension.

See the FAQ below for more information….”

SPARC Debrief on Three Recent Big Deal Cancellations – SPARC

“On May 15th, SPARC hosted a member debrief on recent Big Deal cancellations. Curtis Brundy, Evviva Weinraub Lajoie, and Nerea Llamas, spoke about their institutions’ processes leading up to the decision to walk away from their bundled Elsevier subscriptions, shared suggestions for other libraries that may be considering a similar move, and answered questions from the audience. 

All three institutions sought a cost reduction in their upcoming Elsevier contracts, as well as sustainable, affordable, and transparent agreements before making the ultimate decision to unbundle their Big Deals. Each speaker emphasized the importance of campus engagement strategies, including surveying faculty, hosting town halls, and equipping themselves and others with in-depth data analysis processes. Speakers recommend empowered negotiations decision-making through tools and communication strategies, ensuring vendors do not drag out the timeline for their own gain. …”

Claremont School of Theology Donates 250,000 Books to the Open Library – Cal schol.com

“Claremont School of Theology has donated about 250,000 religious studies volumes to the Internet Archive to be placed in their Open Library for “controlled digital lending.” These volumes include many very important and very recent resources in the field. … Look for these books to begin appearing the Open Library beginning around Jan. 1. The digitization of the entire collection is scheduling to take place within the next two years. CST has made this donation as it relocates to Salem, OR to embed within Willamette University. The CST board approved this donation in large measure to increase global access to religious studies scholarship….

If libraries wish to be even more radical in their stand of solidarity with the Open Library and their commitment to Controlled Digital Lending, cease licensing ebooks altogether going forward. Despite the deceptive marketing of ebooks, libraries never actually buy or purchase them anyway. Licenses give a fraction of the rights available to libraries under First Sale. The more libraries have shifted to ebook licensing, the more voluminous the bleeding of paying more and more money for less and less rights. Going forward, only buy print books, and partner with the Open Library to ensure they are digitized and that the digital analogs of each print book are made available to the global public. Only in this way can libraries continue to obtain and exercise their full bundle of First Sale rights.”

Academic libraries and coronavirus: a view from Italy

“A few publishers opened access to textbooks for students (but not so many indeed). Some Italian publishers and vendors followed the invitation that has come from many libraries and institutions to open up their collections, like that promoted by the Wellcome Trust. Many publishers responded positively and created free open access hubs to help researchers all over the world to find a cure for this terrible disease, and libraries highlighted them on their web pages. However, most publishers, either in Italy or internationally, just opened a selection of resources – and in some cases upon request – that they believe are useful to Covid-19 research, but they did not open all their publications to allow researchers to see and choose what can be really useful from the different scientific perspectives necessarily implied in this urgent aim. Definitely, what has emerged quite clearly from this pandemic emergency are the many obstacles and walls that prevent access to knowledge and science, as well as all the restrains current acquisitions methods for digital resources in libraries impose through clauses included in subscription licenses….

In the petition, libraries ask publishers to allow digital lending and direct document delivery with no restrains, and to allow opening of library collections temporarily to all users, including doctors and researchers not affiliated to academia who, according to license clauses, normally cannot access academic library resources. Moreover, The Library Commission of the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI) signed the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) Covid-19 petition for access to electronic resources from publishers….

This pandemic outbreak has clearly shown how crucial open access and open science have become. Researchers all over the world need to access data and knowledge quickly, as soon as it is produced, freely and without any limitation, in order to be able to defeat coronavirus. For this reason, AISA, an Italian Association for the promotion of Open Science, wrote a public letter to the President of the Italian Republic to ask for a serious and urgent national policy for open science, starting from rethinking research assessment and copyright laws….”

June 2020 Librarian Community Call – OpenCon

“To promote public health and slow the spread of COVID-19, thousands of universities and colleges closed campuses and libraries as they moved to remote teaching. Now, teaching, learning, and research continues almost exclusively online. With this shift came many questions about fair use, e-reserves, open licenses, scanning, digitization, and more! Many in the library community are working towards the best solution for students, faculty, staff, and patrons in this time of crisis. What can cultural institutions do to meet the needs of our communities? Join Kyle K. Courtney for a conversation about problems and solutions to some of the more interesting copyright law and policy complexities during the COVID-19 crisis.

This call brings together all librarians working with, or learning about, all things Open–and gives folks an opportunity to connect with each other to better their work and librarianship. …”

OpenGLAM

“The OpenGLAM initiative is currently working on a modern set of principles and values on Open Access for Cultural Heritage. We expect to draft a Declaration that outlines the rationales behind open access policy adoptions, acknowledges different cultural backgrounds, and addresses ethical and privacy considerations to help promote the adoption of open policies by a broader set of organizations around the world.

By April 2020 we will release a green paper focusing on the legal foundations of open access for cultural heritage, and examining some of the broader questions around copyright and open licensing, traditional knowledge, ethical and privacy concerns, and technical standards for open access. Following a consultation period, we plan to publish a final version of that paper and make the official launch of the Declaration on Open Access for Cultural Heritage by 2020. If you would like to get involved, please write to us at info [at] openglam.org….”

Opinion | After the Coronavirus, Libraries Must Change – The New York Times

“As we face tragedy, devastating economic turmoil and dislocation, public libraries will play a key part in the recovery of our country, cities and lives. Libraries offer all people — regardless of background or circumstance — free access to the tools and knowledge they need to open doors of opportunity and be productive members of society. To remain true to their mission, all libraries must undergo radical change. To serve the public in the face of unprecedented challenges, libraries will need to transition their services to the virtual space and explore new avenues to serve the public and bring people together, even while we are apart….”

Utility, Morality, Strategy, and Scholarly Communication – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Here’s what has raised these questions for me again recently: our library regularly gets invited to contribute financially to programs that will make content freely available to the world. Sometimes (for example, with programs such as Knowledge Unlatched or SCOAP3) we’ve been asked to contribute to a program that will directly underwrite making current or future publications available on an open access (OA) basis; other times (for example, with consortial transformative agreements) we’ve been invited to pay more for a journal package in order to allow our institutional authors to publish in those journals on an OA basis. In the former case, we’re being asked to make a financial sacrifice for the good of the wider world; the latter case is similar, though arguably in that case our increased outlay would create a direct benefit to our institutional authors as well (to the degree that they do, in fact, want to make their work OA; in reality, of course, some care about that more than others do).

The argument in favor of these arrangements is usually based on a clearly (if implicitly) utilitarian position: creating utility for the whole world is morally superior to creating utility primarily for members of the immediate campus community.

What I think is interesting, though, is that you can also imagine utilitarian arguments against arrangements like these.

For example, from a utilitarian perspective you could argue that using a relatively large amount of campus money to make a relatively small amount of university-produced content OA will not necessarily create more global utility than using that money for another purpose. After all, the money could also be used to support scholarships for students from underrepresented groups, or to bolster the programs of our crisis center. Can we be confident that these uses would do less good in the world than would be done by making some of the articles of some of our authors freely available? …”