With 50% Cut, Virginia Research Libraries Recalibrate Relationship with Elsevier – SPARC

“Equity, affordability, and accessibility were at the center of the recent decision by the Virginia Research Libraries (VRL) consortium to cut their spend with Elsevier nearly in half while maintaining access to their most frequently used materials.

The decision by six members of VRL (William & Mary, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, George Mason University, Old Dominion University, and James Madison University) was grounded in a values-driven negotiation process that relied on data to make the case to move away from Elsevier’s “Big Deal” Freedom Collection. The new one-year agreement with Elsevier for 2021 significantly reduced the overall spend for each campus and allowed for a collection tailored to include each institution’s most used materials….”

Gold Open Access Mandates May Be Associated with Publisher Revenue Losses and Library Cost Increases | Open Research Community

A recent analysis outlining alternative scenarios for the publishing market development in the United Kingdom (UK) suggests a strong likelihood of lose-lose outcomes for publishers and universities for mandate-driven transitions to Open Access.

Universities pressure Elsevier for cheaper journal fees | Financial Times

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https://www.ft.com/content/9525bbfc-87b7-44d8-bb58-fdc4eef19b11

British universities are demanding that Elsevier, the world’s largest academic publisher, cuts the cost of its journals and increases the share of articles made available for free online. The 160 higher education institutions which negotiate through the Joint Information Systems Committee (Jisc), a non-profit technology provider for the sector, warn that their annual £50m bill is unacceptable at a time of intensifying financial pressure and demand for openly accessible science. The call comes as criticism grows of the traditional model of academic publishing, with increasing government and philanthropic funders including Wellcome insisting that the research they support is made available for free through “open access” online journals. The tensions have been accentuated with the surge in scientific articles including on Covid-19 topics published in recent months, against a backdrop of falling income to universities….”

Universities pressure Elsevier for cheaper journal fees | Financial Times

“Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found here.

https://www.ft.com/content/9525bbfc-87b7-44d8-bb58-fdc4eef19b11

British universities are demanding that Elsevier, the world’s largest academic publisher, cuts the cost of its journals and increases the share of articles made available for free online. The 160 higher education institutions which negotiate through the Joint Information Systems Committee (Jisc), a non-profit technology provider for the sector, warn that their annual £50m bill is unacceptable at a time of intensifying financial pressure and demand for openly accessible science. The call comes as criticism grows of the traditional model of academic publishing, with increasing government and philanthropic funders including Wellcome insisting that the research they support is made available for free through “open access” online journals. The tensions have been accentuated with the surge in scientific articles including on Covid-19 topics published in recent months, against a backdrop of falling income to universities….”

Libby is stuck between libraries and e-book publishers – Protocol — The people, power and politics of tech

“On the surface, there couldn’t be a more wholesome story than the meteoric rise of the Libby app. A user-friendly reading app becomes popular during the pandemic, making books cool again for young readers, multiplying e-book circulation and saving public libraries from sudden obsolescence.

But the Libby story is also a parable for how the best-intentioned people can build a beloved technological tool and accidentally create a financial crisis for those who need the tech most. Public librarians depend on Libby, but they also worry that its newfound popularity could seriously strain their budgets….”

Measure Twice and Cut Once: How a Budget Cut Impacted Subscription Renewals: The Serials Librarian: Vol 0, No 0

Abstract:  Library staff at California State University, Fullerton carried out a project to determine where budget cuts could be made in their electronic journal subscriptions. The team analyzed usage statistics by journal title, determined pricing for each journal, and created a formula to clearly define the cost effectiveness of continuing or deactivating a subscription. In this presentation, Keri Prelitz and Greg Yorba, with contributions from Ilda Cardenas, explain the special considerations, challenges, and outcomes of the project. Using this information, they will repeat the analysis annually, especially in the wake of additional budget cuts due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Measure Twice and Cut Once: How a Budget Cut Impacted Subscription Renewals: The Serials Librarian: Vol 0, No 0

Abstract:  Library staff at California State University, Fullerton carried out a project to determine where budget cuts could be made in their electronic journal subscriptions. The team analyzed usage statistics by journal title, determined pricing for each journal, and created a formula to clearly define the cost effectiveness of continuing or deactivating a subscription. In this presentation, Keri Prelitz and Greg Yorba, with contributions from Ilda Cardenas, explain the special considerations, challenges, and outcomes of the project. Using this information, they will repeat the analysis annually, especially in the wake of additional budget cuts due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Resourcefully: Let’s End the Serials Crisis: The Serials Librarian: Vol 79, No 1-2

“This is not the first time I’ve written about the Serials Crisis, but I would love for it to be the last. 1 The Serials Crisis is a short-hand term commonly applied to the multidecade-long effects of unsustainable serials cost increases as it affects relatively flat academic library budgets. 2 The crisis is currently in at least its fourth decade, which is to say it has defined the work of whole generations of library workers, myself included. A cursory review reveals it has been written about in the Serials Librarian at least 58 times, and referenced at least 907 times since 1981. 3 …

A quaint crisis by our current standards – the Serials Crisis was a symptom and indicator of the knowledge inequities that would explode in importance under the pressure of COVID-19. Here in the flickering last light of the inevitable destruction of the prestige economy, let’s confront the issue of access, which has always been the issue of cost. 4 …

[T]he Serials Crisis is one obnoxious fire we can put out with all this daunting, harrowing, and powerful urgency serving as a cap which deprives it of fuel….

This first installment of Resourcefully will give a quick overview of the Serials Crisis and present my preferred path forward, one that requires significant action from us all, and particularly our colleagues in publishing. Then, we can appropriately direct our attention to the bigger fires in the room….

Since we contextualize the Serials Crisis as a crisis of cost, content, and ownership, Transformative Agreements with their emphasis on costs, copyright, transparency, and transition, are the appropriate response. The issue, yet again, is consistency and parity….

I have wondered if publishing executives bemoaning piracy have contemplated how they might have avoided the rise of SciHub 15 if they had been more willing to work with libraries. Having priced libraries out of subscriptions, the costs imposed succeeded only in alienating readers from both their publications and from library services, effectively undermining both institutions. Ultimately, publishers lost revenue and libraries lost patrons. This lose-lose situation is the sad truth at the heart of the Serials Crisis itself….

It might be considered the first truly Transformative Agreement, as it would leverage a scale fit to actually transforming the marketplace itself. It would be neither a “Read-and-Publish,” nor a “Publish-and-Read,” rather it would be a “This-Is-What-It-Costs” deal for us all.

Of course, alternately, just one major publisher could make the change to signal the others, open their content and share their actual costs so we can figure out what a sustainable scholarly communication system is together. …”

Emerging from uncertainty International perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 on university research

” Open access and open data have gained prominence just as library budgets are being squeezed. For university research funding a double impact is looming. Potential cuts in external research funding (from government, charities and industry) risk compounding the damage done by precipitous declines in other institutional income streams (including domestic and international student tuition fees, accommodation and conferences)….

Calls for open access have been strengthened by the crisis, as publishers made available COVID-related research that had a direct impact on health policy. But the digital infrastructure supporting the free exchange of research information and data is still not equipped for the scale-up required….

The case for open access and open data has been strengthened by the pandemic, but their adoption will require investment in supporting digital infrastructure and careful consideration of business models. This is all the more urgent given the added pressure library budgets will be under in a post-COVID world….

Librarians struggled to support blended learning alongside providing standard services. Interviewees noted that libraries continued to provide basic digital support for research including services relating to open access and institutional repositories, but the capacity to support research more broadly was severely constrained during the pandemic….

Interviewees from Australia indicated that COVID may provide an opportunity to move to a “pay to publish” model and to “break the control currently held by a small number of publishers”. Plan S, a European initiative to make publicly-funded scientific publications open access, is viewed favourably but some felt that it could increase costs for scholarly communication. Central budget allocations to pay for article publication charges (APCs), prevalent in some parts of Europe, are seen as an attractive option given the increased leverage it provides in budget negotiations. But the decentralised nature of library budgets in most Australian universities, where APCs are paid from a wide variety of sources (including departments, individual grants, researcher’s professional development funds etc.) reduces bargaining power. Interviewees were also concerned about universities’ ability to track APCs across the institution, which is seen as necessary to achieve better value for money….

There is strong consensus that the pandemic can be a catalyst for change to accelerate the transition to open access (OA). International actors including the European Commission, the World Health Organisation and UNESCO have all issued strong calls for greater and more equitable access to research results in recent months.59–61 Interviewees from all countries recognised that the pandemic has raised awareness of open science

among researchers that were previously unaware or not particularly sympathetic to it.62 At the same time, it has highlighted the importance of open research to decision-makers and the broader public….

 

As the dust settles, the expectation is that funders and open science advocates will use the pandemic as “the poster boy for open science”, providing new impetus towards change. This can in turn hasten the shift to open access in Europe and the UK. The European Commission, traditionally a strong proponent of open access and open data, notes that the achievement of a “Shared Research Knowledge System” by 2030 should

build on the collaborative efforts to tackle COVID-19 and considers these as “testament to the innovative power of opening up science, sharing knowledge and collaborating.” …

 

COVID-19 has exposed longstanding fault lines in the current system of scholarly communication. While the balance appears to have shifted decisively in favour of open science, tensions between rapid publication and robust quality assurance remain. Strategic thinking is needed to tackle a legacy of investment in digital infrastructure, redefine the roles of commercial and community actors, develop sustainable business models, and embed open science as the ‘new normal’ for research. …”