Lifting the lid on preprints: part one

So as an academic author, what is important to know about preprints? We [Elsevier] have asked two experts to shed some light on the topic: Gregory J. Gordon, President and CEO of the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), which joined Elsevier in 2016, and Courtney K. Soderberg, statistician at the Center for Open Science (COS) in Charlottesville, Virginia….”

The open access wars: How to free science from academic paywalls – Vox

“This is a story about more than subscription fees. It’s about how a private industry has come to dominate the institutions of science, and how librarians, academics, and even pirates are trying to regain control.

The University of California is not the only institution fighting back. “There are thousands of Davids in this story,” says University of California Davis librarian MacKenzie Smith, who, like so many other librarians around the world, has been pushing for more open access to science. “But only a few big Goliaths.”

Will the Davids prevail?…”

Setting a trend? Norway and Elsevier enter into a two-year transformation pilot agreement – OpenAIRE Blogs

On April 23, Elsevier and the Norwegian Unit jointly issued a press release, announcing a two-year pilot agreement on access to research and open publishing. This news took many by surprise since Unit only the month before had announced its decision not to renew their agreement with Elsevier. This decision came after a lengthy period of negotiations and was not made lightly. We quickly got back to our talks with Elsevier, however, and were able to work out the details of the pilot in a very short time. The agreement is made up of a standard Science Direct Licence with an “Elsevier – Unit Open Access Pilot Terms” added at the end. The licence was signed with a confidentiality clause but stated that it is without prejudice to the applicable Norwegian public Act and Public Administration Act. Within a couple of days after announcing the agreement, a Request for Information came from a university paper claiming the right of these Acts. After consulting with Elsevier, the licence including the Open Access Terms was sent over, and duly published in the paper Khrono. We then published the licence on our website (we will also publish our agreement with Wiley shortly) and have registered both of them in the excellent ESAC registry.  …”

Elsevier welcomes new open access guidance from cOAlition S

Elsevier welcomes cOAlition S’s updated implementation guidance: “Accelerating the transition to full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications.” Elsevier fully supports and promotes open access. Authors can achieve full and immediate open access — and so be Plan S compliant — either by publishing their articles in our gold open access journals or publishing their articles gold open access in our hybrid journals….”

What are mirror journals, and can they offer a new world of open access?

To meet the evolving needs of our community and expand our open access publishing options, Elsevier is piloting the concept of open access “mirror journals.” These journals are fully gold open access but share the same editorial board, aims and scope and peer review policies as their existing “parent” journals – and the same level of visibility and discoverability. They provide an additional option for open access publishing in the Elsevier portfolio.

They will have the same title as their parent journal, distinguished by the letter X after their name. The new titles will have their own ISSN numbers and citation metrics….

We introduced the concept of OA mirror journals in 2018, launching a pilot program of more than 40 mirror journals across a range of subject areas in life, health and physical sciences….

DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) has accepted the first OA mirror journals, and Elsevier will continue to start DOAJ approval processes with all other OA mirror journals. Clarivate has accepted the first mirror journal for ESCI (Emerging Sources Citation Index) coverage, and other applications are in the pipeline. We have been gratified to see that citations have already started to flow in to the OA mirror journals, demonstrating their immediate impact with the research community….

For further information, we have created this FAQ. …”

UW Faculty Senate votes to support UW Libraries bargaining and licensing priorities in scholarly journal subscription negotiations — UW Libraries

On May 16, the UW Faculty Senate voted unanimously to approve a Class C Resolution expressing its support for the UW Libraries Licensing Principles and bargaining priorities in upcoming journal package negotiations with major journal publishers. The legislation, sponsored by the Faculty Council on University Libraries, endorses the Libraries’ negotiation and licensing priorities and voices support for:

  • Bringing down subscription costs and increases to a sustainable level that will not imperil other collection and service needs
  • Ending non-disclosure agreements to allow the Libraries to disclose their contractual terms and permit greater market transparency
  • Allowing interlibrary loan to facilitate resource sharing
  • Protecting the rights of users to share articles with students and colleagues
  • Ensuring the privacy and data security of all users
  • Protecting the ability of students and researchers to continue to access journals and articles
  • Supporting the University’s Open Access policies by allowing re-use and embargo-free deposit rights and protecting researchers’ copyright in their own research
  • Enabling greater market flexibility and responsiveness by negotiating contracts on a 3-year basis
  • Providing equitable service and access to information for all our library users….”

LSU ends Elsevier bundled journal subscription

Louisiana State University will terminate its “big deal” with publisher Elsevier at the end of this year, joining the growing list of U.S. institutions that have recently decided not to renew their bundled journal subscription deals with the publisher.

LSU is just the latest of several U.S. institutions, including the University of California system, Temple University and Florida State University, to announce its intentions to end its business relationship with Elsevier in the last two years….

LSU’s Faculty Senate approved a resolution recommending the cancellation of the subscription package in April. …”

The Faculty Lounge: @SSRN and the (Arbitrary) Determination of “Scholarly” Merit

Yesterday Brian Frye (@brianlfrye) (Kentucky) tweeted:

I am sad. @SSRN has decided that my article about Gremlins (1984), “In re Patentability of the Peltzer Inventions,” does not qualify for “public” status because it is “opinion, advocacy, or satire.” Why judge? Oh well.  You can still download it here:

I followed Brian’s direct link to the piece. The abstract refers refers to the many inventions of the movie’s Randall Peltzer character, and explains, “This essay takes the form of an opinion letter valuating the patentability of Peltizer’s inventions.” I don’t teach IP, but I like Brian’s work and so I downloaded the essay. It struck me as funny and as an excellent teaching tool.  But if you go to Brian’s author page on SSRN, you wouldn’t be able to access the paper.  You wouldn’t even see it.

I myself have posted material that apparently doesn’t meet SSRN’s criteria for a “scholarly paper,” including this interview with the principal drafter of some important state trust legislation (and the interview itself has been cited in subsequent scholarship) and this short piece for Tax Notes reviewing estate and gift tax law review articles published in 2016 (even though SSRN published my similar pieces reviewing scholarship for the years 2015, 20142013201220112010)….

Does the classification of publicly-available “scholarly” papers and privately-available “non-scholarly” papers as applied serve SSRN’s mission?  To me, the answer is no. Brian Frye’s patentability piece, which strikes me as a great teaching and learning tool, has an easy home in the “Law Educator: Courses, Materials & Teaching eJournal,” if not the substantive IP eJournals (not my field).  Oh, but wait, are “Courses” scholarship?  They must be.  So must be “Materials,” because they are publicly available and only “scholarly” works are publicly available.  But Brian’s piece isn’t “teaching material” in SSRN’s universe? That doesn’t make any sense to me.

Like others, I have been (and remain) skeptical of Elsevier’s acquisition of SSRN. Since then, I’ve noticed that papers tend to take longer to get “approved” (the longest wait I’ve had is 6 weeks, and even then, I had to contact customer service to point out that it had been 6 weeks since submission, and could SSRN pretty please post the piece). I find useless the JEL Classificiation Codes (not an Elsevier invention), at least in the case of the “Law & Economics” (or “K”) codes applied to most law review scholarship. These sort codes are so blunt as to be useless for my research, at least. Maybe the codes work better in Economics (after all, the classification system was developed by the Journal of Economic Literature)….”

Elsevier changes: Message from the provost | LSU Libraries

For decades, LSU has subscribed to a package of some 1,800 electronic journal titles from Elsevier publishing. Dramatic increases to subscription costs in recent years have become unsustainable, and a renewal in 2020 would come with a price tag of at least $2 million annually. The university administration, LSU Libraries, and the Faculty Senate have been grappling with the high cost of Elsevier’s journals, as have many other universities nationwide.

During the Faculty Senate’s final meeting of the spring semester, senators approved a resolution recommending the cancellation of the subscription package of Elsevier journals. Going forward, the Libraries will subscribe to Elsevier journals on a title-by-title basis, retaining the most highly used journals by the LSU community. The resolution further called for the creation of expedited document delivery to provide fast, unmediated access to articles in journals not on subscription.

The LSU administration supports this course of action. Once the current contract with Elsevier expires at the end of 2019, LSU will break away from the package agreement, and expects to spend $1 million on Elsevier titles, subscribing to fewer journals and providing access to all previously available material through alternate sources….”