Abstract: We survey the reasons for the ongoing boycott of the publisher Elsevier. We examine Elsevier’s pricing and bundling policies, restrictions on dissemination by authors, and lapses in ethics and peer review, and we conclude with thoughts about the future of mathematical publishing.
“The progress of scientific and technological knowledge is a cumulative process, one that depends in the long?run on the rapid and widespread disclosure of new findings, so that they may be rapidly discarded if unreliable, or confirmed and brought into fruitful conjunction with other bodies of reliable knowledge. “Open science” institutions provide an alternative to the intellectual property approach to dealing with difficult problems in the allocation of resources for the production and distribution of information. As a mode of generating reliable knowledge, “open science” depends upon a specific non-market reward system to solve a number of resource allocation problems that have their origins in the particular characteristics of information as an economic good. There are features of the collegiate reputational reward system — conventionally associated with open science practice in the academy and public research institutes – that create conflicts been the ostensible norms of ‘cooperation’ and the incentives for non-cooperative, rivalrous behavior on the part of individuals and research units who race to establish “priority.” These sources of inefficiency notwithstanding, open science is properly regarded as uniquely well suited to the goal of maximising the rate of growth of the stock of reliable knowledge.
High access charges imposed by holders of monopoly rights in intellectual property have overall consequences for the conduct of science that are particularly damaging to programs of exploratory research which are recognized to be vital for the long-term progress of knowledge-driven economies….”
Over the summer, librarians and academic leaders in Germany came together to lead a push in taking down the paywalls that block access to so many scientific research articles. The initiative, named Projekt DEAL, represents a bold push toward open access that could change the landscape of academic publishing.
The latest developments in Projekt DEAL pick up on a battle now over two years in the making, where libraries and universities in Germany have united in pushing large publishers to adopt a new business model. The institutions are looking to forego the typical subscription-based academic publishing business model in lieu of paying an annual lump sum that covers publications costs of all papers whose first authors are associated with German institutions.”
“This report looks closely at the attitudes on open access of a sample of 314 deans, chancellors, department chairmen, research institute directors, provosts, trustees, vice presidents and other upper level administrators from more than 50 research universities in the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland and Australia. The report gives detailed information on what they think of the cost of academic journal subscriptions, and how they understand the meaning of the term “open access.” The study also gives highly detailed data on what kind of policies the research university elite support or might support in the area of open access, including policies such as restricting purchases of very high-priced journals, paying publication fees for open access publications, mandating deposit of university scholarship into digital repositories, and developing open access educational materials from university resources.
Just a few of the report’s many findings are that:
- The lowest percentage considering the high cost of journals a big problem was in the United States, where only 11.56% of higher education leadership had this opinion; the highest share, in Canada, 27.45% had this view.
- More than 40% of administrators from public universities in the sample supported the idea of using university funds to develop open access textbooks from materials developed or owned by the university or its scholars.
- Support for mandatory deposit requirements for scholarly output into university digital repositories was highest among the universities ranked in the top 41 worldwide.
Data in the report is broken out by country, university ranking, work title, field of work responsibility, level of compensations, age, gender and other variables.”
“In conclusion, screen reading interfaces may contain an array of pros and cons, but the assumption that online information and publishing are always free is false. Internet access, electricity use and production, manufacturing of electronic devices, and the labor of writing and editing all come at a cost. Open access publishing is a solution created to solve this problem, which aimed to remove a portion of these costs from consumers and instead have the authors pay to become published. However, this model also contains many pros and cons, being very controversial in the publishing domain. Open access publishing may widen the audiences of articles, yet it can also lead to lower quality in articles and to legal issues. The future of open access publishing relies on authors themselves, because they make their own decision to publish their articles in open access, or to publish their article in an academic journal.”
“APCs are currently the dominant model, though, because they seem to be a sustainable one. The question becomes how to ensure no research is lost because a researcher can’t pay a fee. Libraries can play a major role in this.
Firstly, an increasing number are offering OA funds. This means they hold some money that researchers who meet certain requirements can use to pay their APC. By doing this, libraries are acting as a safety net for scholars who don’t have another way to pay their charges.
Most libraries also help increase awareness and guide scholars through the OA publishing process. They help people avoid predatory publishers and even act as their agent with legitimate publishers. This means they negotiate on behalf of authors to ensure they retain the right to their own work, and other important issues.”
“The growth of open access (OA) via the payment of article processing charges (APCs) in hybrid journals has been a key feature of the approach to OA in the UK. In response, Jisc Collections has been piloting ‘offsetting agreements’ that explicitly link subscription and APCs, seeking to reduce one as the other grows. However, offsetting agreements have become increasingly contentious with institutions, advocates and publishers.
With reference to issues such as cost, administrative efficiency, transparency and the transition to open access, this paper provides an update on the status of UK negotiations, reflects on the challenges and opportunities presented by such agreements, and considers the implications for the path of future negotiations. “