Do Publishers Suddenly Hate Libraries?

” In a memo to authors and agents last month, Macmillan CEO John Sargent all but blamed libraries for depressing book sales and author earnings. “Historically, we have been able to balance the great importance of libraries with the value of your work,” Sargent claimed. “The current e-lending system does not do that.”

I’m far from the first to observe this, but the claims in Sargent’s memo are questionable at best….

Do publishers and authors see the library’s relationship to them as more symbiotic, or parasitic?…”

There are dark hints that the hand of Amazon is at work in the current tensions over library e-book lending, including reports that Amazon reps have been showing publishers data to portray library e-book lending in a negative light….”

Macmillan To Restrict New E-Book Sales To Libraries : NPR

“Libraries across the U.S. are furious with one of the country’s big five publishing houses. As of Friday, Macmillan Publishers Ltd. is drastically restricting the sales of its e-books to libraries.

For the first eight weeks after an e-book goes on the market, a library system can buy only one copy. So if you are used to getting your books from a library and you are an e-book fan who has been eagerly awaiting Hillary Mantel’s next book, The Mirror and the Light, for example, you may have a long wait when it comes out in March 2020.

Under the old rules, a large library system like New York’s or Chicago’s might have ordered hundreds of e-book copies. Now each system — large or small — can buy only one when it goes on sale….”

Libraries to boycott publisher’s e-book policy | WSYX

“Several large library systems across the U.S. plan to suspend purchases beginning Friday of all electronic versions of Macmillan Publishers’ new releases, in a protest against the publishing house’s planned restrictions on library sales….

Macmillan’s library embargo, which also begins Friday, will restrict public libraries and consortium of all sizes to buying a single copy of each newly released e-book for the first eight weeks of publication….

“By limiting the number of copies our library can purchase, Macmillan is allowing only a certain segment of our society to access digital content in a timely manner — those who can pay for it themselves,” he said in a statement. “And that’s unacceptable in a democratic society.”

Last year, nearly 67,000 Columbus library patrons checked out nearly 2 million items from our digital collection. Digital content downloads continue to trend upward….”

Don’t Let Science Publisher Elsevier Hold Knowledge for Ransom

It’s Open Access Week and we’re joining SPARC and dozens of other organizations this week to discuss the importance of open access to scientific research publications. 

An academic publisher should widely disseminate the knowledge produced by scholars, not hold it for ransom. But ransoming scientific research back to the academic community is essentially the business model of the world’s largest publisher of scientific journals: Elsevier.

In February of this year, after drawn-out negotiations broke down, the University of California terminated its subscription with Elsevier. A central sticking point in these negotiations was around open access: specifically Elsevier’s refusal to provide universal open access to UC research, a problem exacerbated by skyrocketing subscription fees.

This has been an ongoing fight, not just in California. Many academics (and EFF) believe that scholarly research most effectively advances scientific progress when it is widely available to the public, and not subject to the paywalls erected by publishers. Scientific research is a driving force behind technological innovations, medical breakthroughs, and policy decisions, and the bulk of it in the U.S. is publicly funded. When libraries, universities, individuals, and even researchers themselves have to pay to access academic work, we all suffer.

Elsevier boasts profit margins in excess of 30%, much of it derived from taxpayer dollars. Academics effectively volunteer their time to publishers to write articles, conduct peer review, and sit on editorial boards, and then publishers demand ownership of the copyright and control over dissemination. Universities and other institutions fund these researchers, and a mega-publisher like Elsevier reaps the benefits while trapping all of that work behind a paywall.

In response to this outdated and deleterious system, two UCSF researchers have started a petition to boycott Elsevier, calling on all academics to refuse to publish in Elsevier journals, peer-review their articles, or sit on their editorial boards (as many already have). They’ve also written a piece calling for a wider re-imagining of the academic publishing system, that’s more in line with an open access model. A large and growing number of scholars have signed the petition already.

This is far from the first time someone has called for a boycott of Elsevier. Efforts go back to 2012 with a call to action from mathematician Timothy Gowers which led to the “The Cost of Knowledge” campaign. Since then, boycotts have extended across entire countries, across Asia, Europe, and

Opinion: Boycotting Elsevier Is Not Enough | The Scientist Magazine®

“Boycotting Elsevier is a good first step, but it needs follow-through to support open infrastructure and systemic reforms. Latin America’s academy-owned non-commercial platforms now publish hundreds of thousands of articles a year and have actively opposed the toxic pay-to-publish business model. We need to lobby our institutions and funders to support open science infrastructure and do something similar in the so-called developed world.

We also need to build open access into our career and incentive structures. We currently don’t employ, fund, or promote scientists who publish in open-access journals or use open science practices, so it is no surprise that the vast majority of scientific papers are not “born free.” Aside from Plan S, most funders’ open-access policies offer neither carrot nor stick. For example, the NIH Public Access Policy offers no rewards for compliance and only administrative consequences for non-compliance.

Scientists already have many of the tools needed to change science publishing. For example, I was frustrated by the lack of quality, fee-free, open-access journals in behavioural neuroscience, so I got some colleagues together and started one. There is a plethora of free open source software for running journals and typesetting articles, which leaves us with very minimal costs. Our main challenge is cultural—convincing scientists it doesn’t have to cost $3,000 to publish an article and to take a risk with a new and unproven outlet….”

California academics quit Elsevier journals in open access row | Times Higher Education (THE)

“More than 30 University of California faculty have quit editorial positions at Cell and other leading academic journals owned by Elsevier in an escalating showdown with the publishing giant over open access.

The editors include many leading figures in their fields, compounding the pressure on Elsevier as it battles a major statewide university system that produces 10 per cent of the US’ academic research papers….

In making their move, the editors talked more about the inconvenience that California faculty now face than they did about any determined commitment to global efforts aimed at making science articles freely available to all users.

In a three-paragraph letter to Elsevier, the participating faculty said simply that they were protesting against the lack of a contract between the California system and Elsevier, and their resulting inability to directly access the company’s library of 2,500 scientific journals….

By other measures, however, Elsevier may have little reason for urgency. The quarterly earnings report issued last month by its parent company, RELX, showed that Elsevier’s operating profit remained at about 36 per cent – a level many academics see as proof that the company is not treating them fairly – with reported increases in both contract renewals and new subscription sales….”

Top University Of California Scientists Tell Elsevier They’ll No Longer Work On Elsevier Journals | Techdirt

“Last week we highlighted the ongoing dispute between academic publishing giant Elsevier and the University of California (UC) system. Earlier this year, UC cancelled its contract with Elsevier, after the publishing giant — which gets nearly all of its content and labor for free, but charges insane prices for what is often publicly funded research — refused to lower prices or to work with the UC system on moving to an open access approach. Last week, we covered how Elsevier had emailed a bunch of UC folks with what appeared to be outright lies about the status of negotiations between the two organizations, and UC hit back with some facts to debunk Elsevier.

Perhaps Elsevier is getting antsy because a bunch of UC scientists have sent an open letter to Elsevier, saying they will no longer do editorial work for any Elsevier publications until this dispute gets worked out….”

Crispr pioneer among University of California researchers boycotting Elsevier | News | Chemistry World

“31 members of Cell Press editorial boards at the University of California (UC) have suspended their ‘editorial services’ to Elsevier as part of an on-going dispute between the university and publishing giant over the cost of journal subscriptions and open access. Among the signatories is Jennifer Doudna, one of the original developers of the Crispr gene-editing technique.

The open letter to Elsevier follows the collapse of negotiations to renew a contract between the university and the publishing giant in March, leading to the University of California cancelling its contract across its 10 campuses. The university sought reduced journal subscription costs and for all work published by its researchers in Elsevier’s journals to be open access, but the publisher refused. Last year, the university spent over $10.5 million (£8.3 million) in subscription and open access fees. Elsevier cut off the University of California’s access to newly published articles in July….”

UCCellPressEditorialBoardSuspensionsAlphabetical – Google Docs

“The undersigned University of California scientist members of Cell Press editorial boards are writing to inform you of our position, in light of the current impasse in negotiations between the University and Elsevier. We value our long-standing relationships with Cell and other Cell Press journals, which have helped make and keep these journals at the forefront of scientific publishing. These journals have in turn been of service as standard bearers of excellence to the life sciences community as a whole.

We therefore wish to express our concern at the current lack of a contract between UC and Elsevier, and the decision to deny our UC colleagues access to research published in Cell Press and other Elsevier journals. 

Pending the signing of a new contract with UC, we wish to inform you that we are suspending our editorial services to Cell Press journals. We very much hope to hear of an appropriate resolution and resume our productive relationships with Cell Press….”

UC Faculty Protest Elsevier by Suspending Work for Cell Press | The Scientist Magazine®

“Faculty members at a number University of California schools have stopped serving on the editorial boards of journals published by Cell Press in protest of its parent company, Elsevier, not having reached a dealwith UC for access to its publications. The 31 signatories of a letter to Elsevier, posted yesterday (August 7) online, write that unless Elsevier and UC can agree upon a new contract, they will not serve on the boards of Cell, Neuron, Immunity, Current Biology, and others…..