“On behalf of the member institutions of both our associations, we are writing to the publishers and service providers of the publishing industry about the 2021 subscriptions and renewals of electronic resources and databases. We want to make the industry aware that universities, schools, industries, and libraries worldwide are facing significant budget cuts for the next fiscal year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that library subscription is an area that is being looked at for potential savings. To assist libraries and institutions in this possible financial crisis, we request that you support them by reducing prices in 2021. We greatly appreciate such generous gestures already extended by many publishers and vendors, and honestly expect a similar approach from the rest….”
” “We’re in a moment beyond statements now…” Jon Cawthorne’s remark captured the heart of the discussion at the recent ACRL/SPARC Forum on navigating the current challenges of COVID-driven budget cuts and the need for libraries to move from intention to action on equity and inclusion. During this time of profound change with economic upheaval and long-needed focus on racial justice issues, libraries are being pushed to rethink how to move forward. There is no definitive pandemic “end line”, where the world just goes back to normal—and, in any event, we don’t want to simply go back to the business of scholarly communication as it was. As Chris Bourg framed it, “This pandemic may be our ‘cross the Rubicon’ moment” where we have the opportunity to move forward with re-structuring this system to prioritize openness and equity at its core. With this year’s Open Access Week centered on “taking action to build structural equity and inclusion,” this focus on aligning actions with values is critical. …”
“Recently OCLC Research and LIBER (the Association of European Research Libraries) hosted the first of seven small group discussions comprising the OCLC-LIBER Open Science Discussion Series. This discussion series, which takes place from 24 September through 5 November 2020, is based upon the LIBER Open Science Roadmap, and will help guide research libraries in envisioning the support infrastructure for Open Science (OS) and their roles at local, national, and global levels. I wrote about this collaborative effort between our two organizations in an earlier blog on 28 September….”
“At the time of writing, we expect the overall effective publisher price increases for academic and academic medical libraries for 2021 (before any currency impact) to be in the range of 2 to 3 percent for individual titles. Also important is the role of e-journal packages in the information marketplace. More than half of EBSCO’s sales for 2020 were from e-journal packages; likewise, library budgets are, in large part, spent on these collections. As a result, their impact on the overall serials price increase is significant. We expect the overall average price increase for e-journal packages, including provisions for mandatory take-over titles, upgrades, etc. to be in the range of 1 to 3 percent….”
“The importance of Open Access for university libraries and academic publishers is slated to increase, as printed books and in-person access become deemphasized in the COVID-19 context….
In North America, the pandemic onset has accelerated the evolution of university libraries toward closer involvement with supporting the digital access needs of students and researchers. On the one hand, this has spurred the launch of publisher-led projects targeted at the higher education market. On the other hand, scholarly publishers, such as ProQuest, make extra efforts to integrate Open Access into the panoply of their offerings that span both paywalled and freely accessible content (Enis, 2020).
In this respect, Open Access books and resources are likely to demand less copyright compliance management than their closed access counterparts. Additionally, Open Access does not involve the access uncertainty that free access usually does, as journal and book publishers wind down their free access deals with the presence of COVID-19 becoming the new normal. In this context, renewable subscription models gain in uptake, as vendors factor in library budget shortfalls into their product structures (Enis, 2020)….”
“During this call, you will hear about the SPARC Journal Negotiation Community of Practice, including a brief overview of programs and discussion groups developed for libraries in support of their current negotiations and subscription decision-making. The call will then focus in on one of these programs, the Journal Cancellation Reinvestment Working Group. Co-leads, Kathleen DeLaurenti (Johns Hopkins University) and Curtis Brundy (Iowa State University) will describe their efforts leading a community of librarian volunteers developing resources to support libraries prioritizing Open investments.”
“Representatives from seven Virginia universities will soon be in contract negotiations with Elsevier, the largest science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) scholarly publisher.
Working as a group, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, Old Dominion University, William and Mary, and James Madison University will be discussing the unsustainable cost of accessing Elsevier’s academic journals and options to make their public universities’ research more accessible to the public that paid for it….”
“Operating a non-commercial, scholar-led open access publishing program through our library is intensely rewarding work. On a daily basis we connect with motivated and resourceful editors and scholars, who are deeply committed to open scholarship and to enriching the commons. Each new issue published on our platform feels like a small victory for our team, and we know what we’re doing is meaningful, not just to our small community, but also to all the invisible readers who come across our content and engage with it in some way. However, this work also comes with its own set of complex challenges and thorny issues.
Our program is provided at no cost to eligible Canadian open access scholarly journals and we wholly fund the staffing and infrastructure of the program through our library’s operating budget. Our institution has elected to do this, rather than charge service fees, as an effort to reduce one of the many barriers to publishing that small scholarly associations face. We’ve also chosen to take a strong stance against charging APCs or submission fees at the University of Alberta, and one condition of participating in our program is that our journals do not charge fees to authors. While we believe this model benefits both journals and their communities, this lack of externally generated revenue comes with predictable challenges around resource constraints….
Within our no-fee model, we simply cannot offer these services to the 70 journals that we publish and instead, we grudgingly off-load the problem to our editorial teams, who must immediately face this issue when they join our program. Finding revenue to fund some of the operational elements of their journal production, without resorting to subscriptions or APCs, is a constant pain point for all of us….”
“As we consider individual and institutional actions in our rapidly changing environment, we must employ a new framework to more effectively dialogue both among ourselves and with outside vendors. Even before the pandemic, exciting conversations and thinking around open scholarship;2 new publishing ventures;3 and individual leaders, systems, and changes in the landscape of scholarly communication were all underway.4 Even more recently, transformational open access agreements have been announced.5…
College and research libraries have some steep mountains to climb as they seek to transform collection spending. In the face of such mountains, who among us is willing to work toward a new culture? Here is the hard truth that faces us: Outside of personnel budgets, library collections stand at the top of our spending. This is the case across all college and research libraries, as a result of our long-standing practice of buying back scholarship from vendors. Constructing and implementing a framework to address this systemic cultural issue will not be easy, I assure you. In fact, we know these mountains well—they appear in economics, in promotion and tenure, and in what we believe is possible. I know, however, that we can and will reach the other side and be ready to conquer new challenges, if we are willing to do the work that matters for all of us….”