WHOIS behind SNSI & GetFTR? | Motley Marginalia

“I question whether such rich personally identifiably information (PII) is required to prevent illicit account access. If it is collected at all, there are more than enough data points here (obviously excluding username and account information) to deanonymize individuals and reveal exactly what they looked at and when so it should not be kept on hand too long for later analysis.

Another related, though separate endeavor is GetFTR which aims to bypass proxies (and thereby potential library oversight of use) entirely. There is soo much which could be written about both these efforts and this post only scratches the surface of some of the complex issues and relationships affect by them.

The first thing I was curious about was, who is bankrolling these efforts? They list the backers on their websites but I always find it interesting as to who is willing to fund the coders and infrastructure. I looked up both GetFTR and SNSI in the IRS Tax Exempt database as well as the EU Find a Company portal and did not find any results. So I decided to do a little more digging matching WHOIS data in the hopes that something might pop out, nothing interesting came of this so I put it at the very bottom….

It should come as no surprise that Elsevier, Springer Nature, ACS, and Wiley – which previous research has shown are the publishers producing the most research downloaded in the USA from Sci-Hub – are supporting both efforts. Taylor & Francis presumably feels sufficiently threatened such that they are along for the ride….”

Elsevier and Japan Alliance of University Library Consortia for E-Resources agree on proposal for subscription framework with measures to support Open Access goals

The Japan Alliance of University Library Consortia for E-Resources (JUSTICE) and Elsevier, a global leader in research publishing and information analytics, have successfully reached agreement on a new three-year proposal for subscription publishing with measures to support Japan’s open access (OA) goals, beginning January 1, 2021.

Elsevier Chairman Y.S. Chi’s letter to President-elect Joe Biden

“Congratulations on your election as the 46th President of the United States. We also extend our enthusiastic congratulations to Senator Kamala Harris on her historic election as our next Vice President.

My congratulatory letter is also a letter of our commitment to act with open and transparent evidence-based solutions to help your administration to meet the challenges and opportunities of our time….

For example, in January 2020, Elsevier launched a Coronavirus Info Center that made all relevant journal articles, clinical insights and data analytics freely available; and shortly afterwards, added a series of freely accessible resource hubs for healthcare workers and researchers, including a global Healthcare Hub; a Research Hub; and a Mental Health Hub. We are also partnering with OSTP, NIH, and the WHO to support COVID-19 research solutions. And lastly, we launched Elsevier’s The Lancet COVID-19 Commission—an interdisciplinary initiative led by Jeff Sachs, alongside leaders in health sciences, business, finance, and policy—focused on helping to speed up equitable and lasting solutions to the pandemic….”

Scientific publishers propose installing spyware in university libraries to protect copyrights – Coda Story

“A recent proposal recommending the deployment of surveillance software in order to monitor those accessing academic material has drawn fire from digital rights advocates and scientists.

The plan was outlined on October 22 during a virtual webinar hosted by a consortium of the world’s leading publishers of scientific journals, featuring security experts discussing the threats posed by cyber-criminals and digital piracy to academic research. 

One speaker proposed a novel tactic publishers could take to protect their intellectual property rights against data theft: introducing spyware into the proxy servers academic libraries use to allow access to their online services, such as publishers’ databases. …”

Cybersecurity Landscape – Protecting the Scholarly Infrastructure

“Institutions and publishers have always collaborated on ways to ensure researchers, students and faculty have access to critical research information in efficient and secure ways.


The proliferation of online resources for learning, research and basic operations has also meant a proliferation in cyber-attacks targeting institutions, publishers and other service providers. Fighting cyber-attacks is not a task any one entity can do alone.

The purpose of this virtual security summit is to discuss security threats to the research ecosystem with the aim to engender closer collaboration between publishers
and academics in dealing with these threats….”

To Prevent Free, Frictionless Access To Human Knowledge, Publishers Want Librarians To Be Afraid, Very Afraid | Techdirt

“After many years of fierce resistance to open access, academic publishers have largely embraced — and extended — the idea, ensuring that their 35-40% profit margins live on. In the light of this subversion of the original hopes for open access, people have come up with other ways to provide free and frictionless access to knowledge — most of which is paid for by taxpayers around the world. One is preprints, which are increasingly used by researchers to disseminate their results widely, without needing to worry about payment or gatekeepers. The other is through sites that have taken it upon themselves to offer immediate access to large numbers of academic papers — so-called “shadow libraries”. The most famous of these sites is Sci-Hub, created by Alexandra Elbakyan. At the time of writing, Sci-Hub claims to hold 79 million papers.

Even academics with access to publications through their institutional subscriptions often prefer to use Sci-Hub, because it is so much simpler and quicker. In this respect, Sci-Hub stands as a constant reproach to academic publishers, emphasizing that their products aren’t very good in terms of serving libraries, which are paying expensive subscriptions for access. Not surprisingly, then, Sci-Hub has become Enemy No. 1 for academic publishers in general, and the leading company Elsevier in particular. The German site Netzpolitik has spotted the latest approach being taken by publishers to tackle this inconvenient and hugely successful rival, and other shadow libraries. At its heart lies the Scholarly Networks Security Initiative (SNSI), which was founded by Elsevier and other large publishers earlier this year. Netzpolitik explains that the idea is to track and analyze every access to libraries, because “security” ….”

Plan S and what it means for your journal

“Initially, 11 funding bodies signed up as cOAlition S signatories to Plan S, and this has since increased to 24. They are predominantly European-based and collectively support about 5 percent of funded articles globally. Some notable funders include Wellcome, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Health Organization. Three funding bodies that originally signed up to Plan S have since left. Most notably, the European Research Council published a statement on 20th July 2020 announcing its withdrawal from cOAlition S due to Plan S’s imposition on researcher choices. Only a handful of funders will actually implement Plan S principles into their funding body agreements from 2021, with the rest deploying the principles at different times and in varying ways….

Some highlights:


The Plan S principles advocate for the publication of research that cOAlition S members have funded in compliant open access journals, platforms, and repositories that enable free and immediate access to the content. The author or their institutions should also retain copyright to their work. Further, the article should be published under an open re-use license, preferably the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY) unless a CC-BY-ND (No Derivatives) re-use license is explicitly requested and justified by the grantee. The Gold OA model is therefore a primary compliant route for cOAlition S funders.
Journals are also compliant if they are part of Transformative Agreements (a commercial agreement with an OA component switching typical subscription costs to cover OA publishing).
For hybrid titles (subscription-based journals that allow authors to make individual articles open access upon payment of an Article Publishing Charge (APC), cOAlition S funders will not normally fund the APC. Authors are nevertheless permitted to publish through this model only if authors immediately self-archive their final published article in a repository, having first selected the Gold OA option and adopted a CC-BY license. cOAlition S will fund the APC in hybrid journals as long as the journal has a clear transitional pathway to gold open access (referred to as “transformative arrangement”) by 2024. The hybrid journal in this instance will become a Transformative Journal, and must therefore meet certain targets on its OA content share as part of its compliance with Plan S principles and commitment to transitioning.
When open access publication fees are applied, they must be commensurate with the publication services delivered, and the structure of such fees must be transparent to inform the market. Further, publishers will be asked to provide transparent breakdowns of their pricing from July 1, 2022, so that only publishers who adhere to at least one of the approved frameworks will be eligible to receive funds to support the open access APC from cOAlition S members….”

Swedish researchers’ responses to the cancellation of the big deal with Elsevier

Abstract:  In 2018, the Swedish library consortium, Bibsam, decided to cancel big deal subscriptions with Elsevier. Many researchers (n = 4,221) let their voices be heard in a survey on the consequences of the cancellation. Almost a third of them (n = 1,241) chose to leave free-text responses to the survey question ‘Is there anything you would like to add?’. A content analysis on these responses resulted in six themes and from these, three main conclusions are drawn. First, there is no consensus among researchers on whether the cancellation was for good or evil. The most common argument in favour of the cancellation was the principle. The most common argument against cancellation was that it harms researchers and research. A third of the free-text responses expressed ambivalence towards the cancellation, typically as a conflict between wanting to change the current publishing system and simultaneously suffering from the consequences of the cancellation. The general support for open access in principle reveals a flawed publishing system, as most feel the pressure to publish in prestigious journals behind paywalls in practice. Second, it was difficult for researchers to take a position for or against cancellation due to their limited knowledge of the ongoing work of higher education institutions and library consortia. Finally, there are indications that the cancellation made researchers reflect on open access and to some extent alter their publication pattern through their choice of copyright licence and publication channel.