Digital Textbooks Are Forcing a Radical Shift in Higher Ed | WIRED

“Just as traditional software has a thriving open source community, textbooks have Open Educational Resources, complete textbooks that typically come free of charge digitally, or for a small fee—enough to cover the printing—in hard copy. And while it’s not an entirely new concept, OER has gained momentum in recent years, particularly as support has picked up at an institutional level, rather than on a course by course basis. According to a 2018 Babson College survey, faculty awareness of OER jumped from 34 percent to 46 percent since 2015.

One of OER’s leading proponents is OpenStax, a nonprofit based out of Rice University that offers a few dozen free textbooks, covering everything from AP Biology to Principles of Accounting. In the 2019–2020 academic year, 2.7 million students across 6,600 institutions used an OpenStax product instead of a for-profit equivalent….”

Digital Content vs. Digital Access | Digital Tweed

“All good, it would seem.  These strategies suggest lower cost, “fresher” (or constantly improving) curricular content along with better options for Day One access.   After all, textbook prices are the low-hanging fruit (and publishers the villains) in one component of the continuing public anger and angst about college costs.  So strategies that promise to reduce costs and enhance Day One access are good things.

And yet, going digital or digital first strategies may actually disadvantage large numbers of low-income, full- and part-time undergraduates, primarily enrolled in community colleges or public four-year comprehensives, who are the intended beneficiaries of these initiatives.  As shown below, there is consistent and significant concern from faculty, from provosts/Chief Academic Officers, and from CIOs, about digital access as a key issue in the process of going digital….”

University of California Battles With Global Publisher Elsevier Over Access To Research – capradio.org

“The UC does a lot of both. It publishes roughly 10 percent of all research in the United States, and on average downloaded a study every three seconds last year. 

To continue at that pace under a new contract that would allow for open-access, the UC would continue to pay $11 million for access to research articles, plus an additional $15 million in publishing fees for the roughly 5,000 articles it makes available through Elsevier annually. 

Those combined fees would more than double the previous contract price. Negotiations brought that down a bit, but still pushed the price tag up by 80 percent, which was unacceptable to the system’s negotiators.

“[It’s] double dipping,” said Jeff MacKie-Mason, UC Berkeley’s librarian and the co-chairperson of the Elsevier negotiation team. “They charge the libraries reading fees, and then they charge the authors publishing fees on top of that if they want their articles open-access.”

Hersh says the company is supportive of open-access, but characterized the UC’s demands as wanting “two services for the price of one service.”

“I can be absolutely crystal clear here that Elsevier does not double-dip,” Hersh said….”

Easily record open access compliance and cost

A new service enabling institutions to record data relating to the publication of Open Access outputs by their academics, including both ‘Gold’ and ‘Green’ publication routes, which can then be used for reporting to funders….”

Easily record open access compliance and cost

A new service enabling institutions to record data relating to the publication of Open Access outputs by their academics, including both ‘Gold’ and ‘Green’ publication routes, which can then be used for reporting to funders….”

The UK’s aggregation Article Processing Charge (APC) data, ready for you to explore

Monitor UK is a new service presenting APC (article processing charge) data from across the UK in the form of a number of easy-to-use reports. These will enable institutions and funders to explore and evaluate UK cost and compliance data relating to open access publishing….”

The UK’s aggregation Article Processing Charge (APC) data, ready for you to explore

Monitor UK is a new service presenting APC (article processing charge) data from across the UK in the form of a number of easy-to-use reports. These will enable institutions and funders to explore and evaluate UK cost and compliance data relating to open access publishing….”

Journal articles ‘should cost £300 to publish’ | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Publishers are hugely inflating their costs through unnecessary spending on marketing, lobbying and executive pay packets, according to open access campaigners who have calculated what they claim is the real cost of publishing.

It should cost on average just $400 (£315) to publish an academic paper, and at the very most about $1,000 for very selective journals with high rejection rates, an analysis says.

This is far less than the prices universities currently pay publishers, it argues: estimates of costs vary, but subscription journals receive about $4,000 to $5,000 per article, while article processing fees for open access papers average at least $1,470….”

Guest Post: Do Authors Have Any Power Over Publishers? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“A goal of open access is a reduction in barriers to knowledge for no additional cost. In fact, the Budapest Open Access Initiative envisioned an open access world could be achieved at lower cost than traditional publishing. More recently, the University of California’s Pay it Forward project relies on the idea that authors will exercise their market power to put downward pressure on article processing charges (APCs). But as a scientist, my evaluation criteria are predominately centered around ‘more papers in higher ranking journals’. I am doubtful that authors have ever had much market power and, to the extent that we do, I have no expectation we will be using it to push down fees….

To the extent that authors have the power of choice in the scholarly publishing market, we are not using it to drive down APCs. In a recent study, I found no evidence that journals that increase or introduce an APC lose business in terms of article volume. In fact, tracking APCs at major commercial publishers from 2012-2018showed that higher APCs tended to predict higher article volumes – consistent with how the majority of open access papers are published in a minority of fee-charging journals.

To the extent that authors have an incentive to try and save money on APCs, it is probably trivial when compared with the imperative to publish more papers in higher ranking journals. No librarian is ever going to care more about my career than I do, so while a librarian might balk at a $3,000 subscription to the Journal of Neuroscience, I would happily spend $6,000 in research funds to put an elite journal title on my CV. As publishers are happy to point out, publishing costs are around 1% of research expenditure, so it doesn’t make much difference to a project’s overall costs if we take the more expensive option….”

Assessing the size of the affordability problem in scholarly publishing [PeerJ Preprints]

Abstract:  For many decades, the hyperinflation of subscription prices for scholarly journals have concerned scholarly institutions. After years of fruitless efforts to solve this “serials crisis”, open access has been proposed as the latest potential solution. However, also the prices for open access publishing are high and are rising well beyond inflation. What has been missing from the public discussion so far is a quantitative approach to determine the actual costs of efficiently publishing a scholarly article using state-of-the-art technologies, such that informed decisions can be made as to appropriate price levels. Here we provide a granular, step-by-step calculation of the costs associated with publishing primary research articles, from submission, through peer-review, to publication, indexing and archiving. We find that these costs range from less than US$200 per article in modern, large scale publishing platforms using post-publication peer-review, to about US$1,000 per article in prestigious journals with rejection rates exceeding 90%. The publication costs for a representative scholarly article today come to lie at around US$400. We discuss the additional non-publication items that make up the difference between publication costs and final price.