“Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by Sven Fund. Sven is the Managing Director of Knowledge Unlatched and founder of fullstopp, a digital consulting agency serving publishers, libraries, and intermediaries. From 2008 to 2015, Sven was the CEO of Berlin-based publisher De Gruyter. Prior to that he served in different functions from Managing Director to Executive Board member at what is now Springer Nature. He is a lecturer at Humboldt University in Berlin.
Open access (OA) is undergoing yet another metamorphosis. So far, the space has been dominated by author-pays (via Article Processing Charges – APCs) models, both hybrid and “pure”. And while funders like Wellcome and the German Research Foundation are reviewing their policies – many of them a decade old by now – it is becoming ever clearer that APCs will not be the future of OA, at least not uniquely. With their normative approach of flipping traditional acquisition budgets, Ralf Schimmer, Kai Geschuhn and Andreas Vogler have been advocating in principle that which is now becoming reality: i.e. that in order to really shake up the academic publishing market, other transactional models are necessary….
To make OA really work, libraries have to cooperate and co-spend in order to shift the market-shaping from publishers to themselves. Publishers are structured like supermarkets: They operate as global consortia around their own products, generating demand, shouldering financial risk and investments and in the process generating profit. As long as libraries or other agents are not prepared to supersede this role with a better structure, the underlying problem will remain….”
“It’s tempting to blame faceless corporate overlords for this, but I believe consumers are the actual culprits (and, in a sort of justice, victims). By being cheapskates, they have driven the bargains, supported the leaders, and tolerated the deals that are now coming back to haunt them….
In the midst of this short-term thinking is a set of irreconcilable ideas, namely the idea that publishers have to charge less and do more — manage more business models, deal with endless mandates and the related compliance complexity, review and reject more papers, invent and validate new impact measures, create and promulgate more and better technology, and support every little notion about research outputs academia can dream up, from text- and data-mining to open data….”
“At the start of 2017, fifty German universities and libraries cancelled their license agreements with Elsevier, and a further 90 or so have announced that they, too, will let their agreements expire at the end of 2017. As allotted funds in subscription budgets must be employed or lost, many librarians in Germany are faced with the decision of how best to use the monies liberated from their Elsevier deals.
OA2020-DE, the German constituency of the Open Access 2020 Initiative, proposes that institutions seize the funds that were destined to Elsevier renewals and reinvest them, at least in part, in publishing initiatives that support the open access transformation. …”
“Will the revolution be open? This is an important question and the jury is out. In this webinar series we examine what it will take for the academic library community to develop the human, technical and financial resources that will be required to support an open future for global scholarship. The Elsevier purchase of Bepress was for many a wake-up call. It indicated that much of the infrastructure academic libraries rely on to manage and make content openly accessible was at risk of being monopolized by proprietary interests, just as scholarly journals have been. While the problem is clear — academic libraries need to control the infrastructure they depend on to make scholarly content open and discoverable and accessible. It seems clear that the level of support now provided is barely adequate at best, and that the academic library community faces a collective action problem that makes the necessary investments difficult. How to escape the current situation is not clear. In this webinar series the problem will be considered from both North American perspectives and those from outside of North America — in the hope of devising a way forward to create the infrastructure necessary to support a global open scholarly commons.
Join us on Thursday, May 17 at 12:00 ET for “The 2.5% Commitment: Investing in Open.” This webinar will focus on the David Lewis’ proposal for a 2.5% investment in open infrastructure and how it aims to make visible the investments academic libraries make in open infrastructure and content. It will also review actions that have taken place in the past nine months to advance these ideas. For background on the “Invest in Open Initiative” see the initiative website at: https://scholarlycommons.net and a recent College & Research Library News article describing the initiative at: https://crln.acrl.org/index.php/crlnews/article/view/16902.
Time May 17, 2018 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)”
“In Germany, the fight for open access and favorable pricing for journals is getting heated. At the end of last month (June 30), four major academic institutions in Berlin announced that they would not renew their subscriptions with the Dutch publishing giant Elsevier once they end this December. Then on July 7, nine universities in Baden-Württemberg, another large German state, also declared their intention to cancel their contracts with the publisher at the end of 2017.
These institutions join around 60 others across the country that allowed their contracts to expire last year….”
“A primary goal for collection management is assessing the relative value of continuing information resources. A variety of new environmental factors and data are pertinent to relative value. One of the emerging metrics is the degree to which the articles within a subscription journal are also available open access (OA). That OA level directly affects the value of a journal subscription. This paper outlines a theoretical model for accounting for open access in decision making by proposing an Open Access-adjusted Cost per Download metric. Refinements to the metric are also discussed, as well as how it can be applied, and the broader scholarly communication implications of leveraging open access in library decision making….
From the perspective of the individual institution, transformation of the broader scholarly communication system will always be indirect. Each research library can focus on journal value, supporting new OA models where applicable, and making decisions that support management flexibility suitable for a rapidly changing environment. Since the library shields costs from journals’ primary stakeholders (readers), the library bears the responsibility to be good stewards of those resources. If we choose not to use OA in decision making, even as the data becomes more readily available and reliable, we are not being good stewards of our institutional resources, and we are not serving future researchers as much as we could be through development of collectively heterogeneous and deep collections.33 One of the broadest questions research libraries are faced with is an ethical one: are we perpetuating a legacy, and suboptimal, scholarly communication system that does not best serve either current or future researchers? While the impact of the perpetuation of the traditional journal subscription model on research libraries’ collective collection diversity is out of scope here, it is relevant to note that continued commitment to the model, especially in the form of a big deal, constrains experimentation with—and adoption of—new OA funding models. The resulting lack of budget flexibility, even in the presence of organizational will to make substantive changes, consigns OA-related initiatives to the margins where they are largely disconntected from the core players and systemwide economic forces. Transition to a competitive OA journal market will require disruption of the current market.34 Until libraries use all available data, including about OA, to reduce expenditures on traditional subscription journals, large publishers will continue to develop a separate author-facing market (Hybrid OA) and to restrict non-market OA (Green). A meaningfully reduced spending on traditional subscription journals will push lower value journals into unsustainability as subscription journals; they may then become viable through competing for authors as Gold OA journals, or they may be nonviable and be eliminated. The OA-adjusted Cost per Download is one tool to support libraries in leveraging, and even just thinking about, all of the data that is available to us in a rapidly changing scholarly communication landscape.”