# University staff urge probe into e-book pricing ‘scandal’ – BBC News

“More than 2,500 UK university staff have called for an investigation into the “scandal” of excessive pricing of academic e-books.

“Price rises are common, sudden and appear arbitrary” with some digital books increasing by 200%, they say in a letter to Education Committee MPs.

Organiser Johanna Anderson said some e-texts can cost 10 times print copies, with taxpayers and students the losers.

Publishers say the costs are due to the different formats and shared-use.

But Ms Anderson said the situation had become so financially serious for university libraries that it was time for MPs and competition authorities to hold publishers to account.

She cited the example of an economics book that costs £44 for a print copy but is £423 for a single e-book user and £500 for three users. An employment law book costs £50 for a hard copy, but is £1,600 for three users of the digital version….”

# Equitable, Affordable Access to Digital Course Materials for University Students: Issues and Solutions – Canadian Association of Research Libraries

“To better support student academic success and provide equitable access, libraries are working to overcome these challenges through a variety of means. Efforts include working with instructors to identify alternative course materials through the libraries’ existing collections; working with instructors, publishers, and vendors to identify alternative course materials that have better access and pricing models; and, advocating and developing support for the creation, adoption, and use of openly licensed, high-quality educational resources (OER), which allow for re-use and modification by instructors.[4]

More needs to be done. Online learning necessitates digital access models that foster an accessible, affordable, and inclusive environment for students. Among the measures we endorse are:

Allowing sales of all published e-textbooks and e-books to libraries under a licensing model that allows for access at a cost that fairly reflects content and use.
Making the pricing and availability of e-textbooks and e-books stable and transparent.

# Fall 2020 Updates: What do college students actually spend on course materials – PhilOnEdTech

“It’s also worth looking at that number: $410 per year. That is far below the ~$600 per year I described in 2015, and this gets to the second significant update. Both NACS and Student Monitor have reported a consistent downward trend on how much college students in the US spend on course materials….

Obviously spending does not equal prices for new materials, such as textbooks. One major contributor to the reduction in student spending has been the proliferation of acquisition options – new and used print purchases, used print rentals, digital purchases, digital rentals, subscription options, and even pirated downloads. A second major contributor has been the slow but steady increase in usage of Open Education Resources (OER), where the impact has been even larger than the 14-24% adoption rates would indicate. A third contributor is the move by the publishing and distribution market towards digital materials and even inclusive access models….

For those who advocate for OER and reduced costs for course materials (and I consider myself in this group), this information presents a double-edged sword. It should be far more difficult to use the previous tactic of college textbook pricing is skyrocketing to justify a new program as even a cursory review of the College Board budgets will refute the $1,200+ numbers. Likewise, this information should cause people to ask for more transparency in savings estimates for OER or inclusive access programs….” # Springer Nature and Max Planck reach landmark open access deal in Germany | News | Chemistry World “Some open access research advocates, however, are critical of the new agreement and the cost it imposes on researchers. ‘That opportunity is only open to selected organisations so the rest of the world cannot participate,’ says Peter Murray-Rust, a chemist at the University of Cambridge and campaigner in this area. ‘It’s basically saying that the primary point of publishing is to get an accolade,’ he continues. ‘There is a club of rich nations who get to publish in glamour journals like Nature and the publisher–academic complex works to dismiss everyone else.’ Peter Suber, who directs Harvard University library’s office for scholarly communication, is also sceptical. ‘It is a bad deal for universities, it’s not a bad deal for Nature,’ he tells Chemistry World. ‘Paying this “prestige tax” to publish in Nature is a bad idea. Libraries end up paying for Nature’s high rejection rate, not higher discoverability or visibility.’ ” # IFLA and IATUL Joint Statement on Publisher Pricing | IATUL – International Association of University Libraries “On behalf of the member institutions of both our associations, we are writing to the publishers and service providers of the publishing industry about the 2021 subscriptions and renewals of electronic resources and databases. We want to make the industry aware that universities, schools, industries, and libraries worldwide are facing significant budget cuts for the next fiscal year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that library subscription is an area that is being looked at for potential savings. To assist libraries and institutions in this possible financial crisis, we request that you support them by reducing prices in 2021. We greatly appreciate such generous gestures already extended by many publishers and vendors, and honestly expect a similar approach from the rest….” # Implementing Affordable Educational Resources (AER) and Open Educational Resources (OER) | LSU Libraries News & Notes “LSU Libraries offers numerous resources and services to help modify courses to make them AER/OER compliant. We offer: More than 400,000 AER book options for faculty to adopt for courses: www.lib.lsu.edu/ebooks/faculty; An online guide with information about the mandate and the support: guides.lib.lsu.edu/c.php?g=1081524; Individualized consultation services provided by subject librarians for every discipline to help faculty navigate: The resources available to identify and adopt high-quality OER/AER course material for each discipline; Assistance obtaining this material and making it available; Consultation about copyright considerations; An institutional repository for hosting books and articles by LSU faculty; …” # Affordabee: Low-Cost Open Access Publishing – eLife Innovation Sprint 2020 “Adam is an MSc student at a local university in Kenya. He has to work part time to pay his school fees. Adam does the same through his research project to pay for bench fees at a local research institution. Through sweat and long nights, he manages to get a manuscript ready, as he has to publish to graduate. Adam recently attended a seminar where he was introduced to open science. He is excited about his first paper and wants to publish open access. His excitement is cut short when he realises he has to pay a US$3,000 article processing charge (APC) to get his manuscript published. What are his options? Are there publishers that can offer him a waiver or a subsidy? Or, are there some funding opportunities he can tap into for support?

We envision a platform that can help Adam identify journals that can offer him waivers or subsidies, and how to access them; a platform that will point him to funding opportunities to help cover the APC. We seek a platform that will reduce the APC cost barrier for students from resource-poor settings, like Adam. …”

# PLOS and Transparency (including Plan S Price & Service Transparency Framework) – The Official PLOS Blog

“As a non-profit, mission-driven organization PLOS abides by our commitment to transparency. We openly share information and context about our finances, including target revenue amounts in some of our emerging business models. The Plan S Price & Service Transparency Framework provided us — and other publishers — a clear, uniform structure to share information about the services we perform and a percentage breakdown of how these are covered by the prices we charge. Many of our mission-driven publishing activities go well beyond peer review and production services. We provide commentary on some of these services, including how the varied editorial setups of our journals contribute to different percentage price breakdowns per title. We encourage other publishers to be transparent and openly share their data via such frameworks. And, we remain confident in showcasing how our prices cover our reasonable costs for a high level of service, with some margin for reinvestment….”

# Nature journals announce first open-access agreement

“The publisher of Nature has agreed its first deal to allow some researchers to publish in the journal, and in 33 other Nature-branded titles, under open-access (OA) terms.

Research published in Nature and its sister journals is behind a paywall, although the journals have sometimes chosen to make articles OA. But in April, publisher Springer Nature announced that it would offer open-accessing publishing routes for its most selective journals that would comply with Plan S, a European-led initiative to open up the scientific literature. (Nature is editorially independent of its publisher.)….

The publisher of Nature has agreed its first deal to allow some researchers to publish in the journal, and in 33 other Nature-branded titles, under open-access (OA) terms.

Research published in Nature and its sister journals is behind a paywall, although the journals have sometimes chosen to make articles OA. But in April, publisher Springer Nature announced that it would offer open-accessing publishing routes for its most selective journals that would comply with Plan S, a European-led initiative to open up the scientific literature. (Nature is editorially independent of its publisher.)…”

# Serials Price Projection Report 2021

“At the time of writing, we expect the overall effective publisher price increases for academic and academic medical libraries for 2021 (before any currency impact) to be in the range of 2 to 3 percent for individual titles. Also important is the role of e-journal packages in the information marketplace. More than half of EBSCO’s sales for 2020 were from e-journal packages; likewise, library budgets are, in large part, spent on these collections. As a result, their impact on the overall serials price increase is significant. We expect the overall average price increase for e-journal packages, including provisions for mandatory take-over titles, upgrades, etc. to be in the range of 1 to 3 percent….”