“The room with the negotiating table isn’t the most pleasant room to be a part of.
But when hundreds of thousands of students are denied access to valuable research, there’s no other place negotiators should be.
It has been almost four months since the University of California’s California Digital Library lost direct access to Elsevier’s journals. Elsevier is one of the largest scientific publishers in the world, owning over 2,500 research journals that UC students and researchers were once able to access. The last agreement between the two parties, which valued at about $10.5 million, ended in December.
Negotiations for a new deal continued into the new year, but firmly broke off at the end of February over differing opinions on both sides about costs and access.
The CDL wanted to lower subscription costs and publish its research with open access to the public, while Elsevier wanted to charge publishing fees to UC authors on top of the monumental subscription cost – a cost that has seen incremental increases since 2014.
At the core of this standoff are two parties bickering with each other on the basis of unfeasible demands. Meanwhile, students will be the ones paying the price….”
“Remember when Elsevier floated the idea of regional open access in 2017 and was soundly pilloried for it?
I do. So imagine my surprise to hear that Jean-Claude Burgelman, the Open Access Envoy of the European Commission who serves on the cOAlition S Executive Steering Group, has suggested geo-specific access as an approach to achieving open access!…
When pushed to reconcile his proposal with the principles of open access, Burgelman replied that regional access “is better than no OA and that it could be imagined at a regional level.” …
The proposed solution is geowalling, which takes inspiration from the fact that “Amazon knows if someone is in the US or the UK and shows them different prices.” But, instead of different prices, geowalling would allow a user access or not based on geo-location. Burgelman seems to suggest that this geowalled access could also be used as a policy lever, to get other nations to follow the European lead.
Johan Rooryck, the cOAlition’s Open Access Champion, stated to me via e-mail that “Jean-Claude Burgelman has made is clear that he made his remarks about Geowalling strictly in a personal capacity. This proposal does not reflect the position of cOAlition S, whose purpose is full and immediate Open Access as reflected in the June 2019 principles and implementation guidance.” …
I tend to agree with Burgelman that full regional access is better than no open access. More reading access for more readers at the same or lower price is a good thing. But, it is not open access.
And, to quote Johan Rooryck, the cOAlition’s Open Access Champion, it is also: “Not in line with Plan S. Period.” …”
“A statement released by UWA claims the changes will help “to guarantee modern university publishing into the future”, foreshadowing “a mix of print, greater digitisation and open access publishing.”…
The notion that a respected publishing house can be replaced by open access publishing is disproved by examining other Australian university presses, such as the now-closed University of Adelaide Press, founded in 2009 with a mission to be an open access publisher….
Sydney University Press, which was relaunched in 2003 after closing in 1987, has employed a “hybrid approach” to open access. It is now returning to a more standard university publishing model….
Open access has an important role to play in academic publishing, but it is laughable to claim UWA Publishing’s cultural impact can simply be replaced through open access….
“Open access is often seen as a process of switching from the existing closed-subscription model of scholarly communication to an open one. But Latin America has had an open access ecosystem for scholarly publishing for over a decade, and the recent AmeliCA initiative seeks to develop cooperative scientific communication further still. These efforts, however, could yet be undermined by recent open access proposals from the cOAlition S consortium of research funders in the Global North, write Eduardo Aguado López and Arianna Becerril García (both Redalyc, AmeliCA, and Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México)….”
“The international Plan S research-funder consortium cOAlition S proposes that institutional libraries should transition from subscription to ‘pure publish’ deals with open-access journals by 2024 (see Nature 572, 586; 2019). However, the coalition represents just 16 European funding agencies and 3 international charity foundations. Many other European funders are not in a position to pay open-access publication fees on behalf of their researchers.
For example, Denmark’s 14,000 private foundations that currently support half of the country’s research are stretched to the limit. Their researchers will therefore have no choice but to pay the bill out of their own research grants, which are already under intense pressure from spiralling costs.
Remedial action is urgently needed if publication and knowledge flow are not to be skewed towards the wealthiest countries and universities. For example, national or European Union funds could be established to help cash-strapped researchers cover their publishing costs.”
“This new challenge [Plan S] causes some concerns to us. This program is unlikely to be equivalent between Europe and the United States8). because key US federal agencies such as National Institute of Health (NIH), mandate a ‘green’ Open Access policy, whereby articles in subscription journals are automatically made available after a 12-month embargo. This policy protects the existing ‘paywalled’ subscription business model. Also, ‘Plan S’ does not allow for scientists to publish their papers in hybrid journals….
One piece of bright news, however, is that Open Access publication fees would be covered by funders or research institutions, not by individual researchers. Although our journal is already Open Access, we have some concerns regarding the publication fee being covered by either researchers or institutions….”
Given that the publishing industry is approaching a new era in which 85% or more of journals are Open Access, it is necessary for us to develop a survival strategy against this coming fierce competition….
“Regardless of whether you feel a stronger affinity with the ZTC [zero textbook cost] camp or the OER camp, there is something we should all strive to remember. Our primary priority should neither be minimizing cost nor maximizing pedagogical flexibility. Our primary priority should be increasing student learning, and our efforts to reduce costs and increase pedagogical flexibility must always be subservient to that end. When we fail to put student learning first, we can become zealots who confuse the means with the ends. This makes it possible for us to pursue cost reduction at any price to student learning. It also makes it possible for us to pursue pedagogical flexibility regardless of the cost to student learning….”
“I think Michael Feldstein is directionally correct in his analysis of what has been happening to “open education” for the past several years. Without wading into the labeling fray (are we a movement? a coalition? a community? a field? a discipline?) I’d like to add a bit of my own perspective. Where Michael sees three groups with different goals, I see four groups who are trying to use OER to solve closely related – but ultimately very different – problems:
The negative impact on access to education caused by the high price of traditional learning materials
The negative impact on student success caused by limitations in the traditional publishing model
The negative impact on pedagogy caused by copyright-related constraints inherent in traditional learning materials
The negative impact on students caused by a wide range of behaviors related to the business models of traditional publishers….”
“Last weekend, at the Open Education Conference in Phoenix, David Wiley, chief academic officer of Lumen Learning and the conference’s organizer for 16 years, announced that this would be its last gathering, or at least the last with him at the helm. The conference, which grew from 40 attendees in 2003 to 850 this year, was a meeting place for advocates of open education, a sometimes hard-to-define goal that often involved the use of open educational resources — free, openly licensed digital textbooks.
“This is not a call for another person or organization to come forward to keep the same conference running the same way into the future. Rather, it’s a call to reset and start over,” Wiley wrote on his blog. “This reimagining must be owned by the community. It must be driven by the community. And it would be inappropriate for me to try to facilitate that process beyond extending a brief invitation.”…
The announcement prompted reactions across blogs and Twitter feeds, with some commentators saying that the announcement represented a fracturing of the tenuously aligned coalition of open education advocates. Michael Feldstein, chief accountability officer at e-Literate, wrote on his blog that differences in the goals and preferred tactics of open education advocates could no longer be bridged. Tensions within the “coalition” of open education supporters had become insurmountable, he wrote.
Many people in the coalition had different goals, Feldstein wrote, such as increasing access to education, improving educational quality or promoting the values of education. They also had different strategies, such as lowering the cost of instructional materials, increasing their quality or fostering autonomy for educators. As awareness and adoption of open educational resources has grown, so have tensions, he said….”