Libraries Face a Future of Open Access – The Scholarly Kitchen

“When librarians prepare for a negotiation, they now routinely reach for the muscle. At least that’s how I read the news about the Swedish library consortium and its dealings with Elsevier. If you have been too preoccupied with the Royal Wedding to pay attention to news coming out of the world of STM publishing, you can get a good backgrounder here. Briefly, the Swedish consortium attempted to dictate terms to Elsevier, terms that Elsevier would not accept. The result is that Elsevier’s contract will be cancelled, meaning that there will be no authorized access to Elsevier content for the consortium users.

I have written previously about how the current landscape looks to publishers. In every negotiation, publishers are mindful that their ability to control access to their publications is compromised by unauthorized access from such sites as Sci-Hub and ResearchGate. How can Elsevier or any publisher shut off the Swedes or the Germans when Alexandra Elbakyan is waiting in the anteroom? Librarians have learned to reach for the muscle and now confidently demand terms that no publisher can or will accept. This raises the obvious question of whether librarians knowingly and actively seek the support of copyright pirates; or perhaps librarians simply are going about their business in their usual upbeat way, working diligently to make the world a better place, and the critical involvement of the shady characters is neither sought nor recognized. My own view has changed. I think the cynicism quotient in academic libraries, measured against other organizations and institutions, is very low. This is not, after all, Wall Street or, lord help us, the telecommunications business. But, like the populist governments that have now been installed in a number of Western democracies, the party of cynicism has taken control of some leading library organizations. Thus a nod to the likes of Luca Brasi no longer seems out of line. Having grown up in New Jersey, I have some qualms about what it means for anyone to form an alliance with unsavory characters. What do you do when they ask for a favor in return?

So it’s about time to consider what happens if the libraries win. By “win” I mean they refuse deals with publishers and turn their constituencies over to unauthorized sites. This will save them huge amounts of money, of course, money that they would surely like to put to other uses. Publishing is an ecosystem, however, and a significant change in one element can ripple across the entire field. If Sci-Hub becomes the default place to go for full-text content, what else will change?

…”

The Supercontinent of Scholarly Publishing? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Three years ago, I felt called to the unhappy task of pointing out the many points of failure in what Lettie Conrad calls the “researcher experience.” I observed that “Instead of the rich and seamless digital library for scholarship that they need, researchers today encounter archipelagos of content bridged by infrastructure that is insufficient and often outdated.” Perhaps researchers need a supercontinent.

Since then, Sci-Hub has come on the scene, and publishers are in some combination of being outraged and/or scared. It may be that these businesses are too late. The formula for stabilizing a sector facing rampant piracy is the combination of legal action and seamless central access to content that allowed the music industry to find a future after Napster. Thus far, for scholarly publishers, legal action is not working, with cross-border enforcement challenging in this geopolitical moment. But what about the seamless centralized access to content? How is this sector going to accept the tectonic shift necessary to establish the supercontinent?…”

Making Knowledge Free Can Cost You Your Freedom – Bloomberg

“Seven years ago, a Kazakhstani graduate student named Alexandra Elbakyan started a website with a seemingly innocuous goal: Make most of the world’s research freely available to anyone with internet access. It’s a sad reflection on the state of scientific publishing that she is now a fugitive hiding in Russia. Most people agree that if the public funds scientific research, it should also have free access to the results. …The publishers have responded with legal action. Last year, Elsevier won $15 million in damages for copyright infringement. More recently, a Virginia court awarded the American Chemical Society $4.8 million and ordered internet search engines, web hosting sites and service providers to stop facilitating Sci-Hub activities….”

Open Access and the Theological Imagination | Talea Anderson, David Squires | Digital Humanities Quarterly

“Abstract:  The past twenty years have witnessed a mounting crisis in academic publishing. Companies such as Reed-Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, and Taylor and Francis have earned unprecedented profits by controlling more and more scholarly output while increasing subscription rates to academic journals. Thus publishers have consolidated their influence despite widespread hopes that digital platforms would disperse control over knowledge production. Open access initiatives dating back to the mid-1990s evidence a religious zeal for overcoming corporate interests in academic publishing, with key advocates branding their efforts as archivangelism. Little attention has been given to the legacy or implications of religious rhetoric in open access debates despite its increasing pitch in recent years. This essay shows how the Protestant imaginary reconciles–rather than opposes–open access initiatives with market economics by tracing the rhetoric of openness to free-market liberalism. Working against the tendency to accept the Reformation as an analogy for the relationship between knowledge production, publishers, and academics, we read Protestantism as a counterproductive element of the archivangelist inheritance.”

The PACE PLOS One data will not be released and the article won’t be retracted – Mind the Brain

“Two years have passed since I requested release of the PLOS One PACE data, eight months since the Expression of Concern was posted. What can we expect?…

The PLOS One Senior Editors completed the pre-specified process of deciding what to do about the data not being shared.  They took no action. …

International trends will continue toward making uploading data into publicly accessible repositories a requirement for publication. PLOS One has slowed down by buying into discredited arguments about patient consent forms not allowing sharing of anonymized data….”

Capitalism and Open Science ? Epeak World News

“I see a lot of confusion about the interaction between capitalism, neoliberalism and open science in public discussion right now. This article is a response to Stuart Lawson’s Against capital and a continuation of the arguments I found in Eric Kansa’s article It’s the Neoliberalism, Stupid: Why instrumentalist arguments for Open Access, Open Data, and Open Science are not enough.”

Capitalism and Open Science ? Epeak World News

“I see a lot of confusion about the interaction between capitalism, neoliberalism and open science in public discussion right now. This article is a response to Stuart Lawson’s Against capital and a continuation of the arguments I found in Eric Kansa’s article It’s the Neoliberalism, Stupid: Why instrumentalist arguments for Open Access, Open Data, and Open Science are not enough.”