Sustaining Values and Scholarship: A Statement by the Provosts of the Big Ten Academic Alliance

“The current system of academic publishing is complex and has evolved unlike traditional markets. In its current state, academic publishing behaves as a price-inelastic market, with little relationship between demand and price. Cost increases for publications have been unrelenting with highs of 10- 12% annual inflation in the 1990s and now a more “modest” rate of 5-6% that still outpaces the CPI. Publisher mergers and acquisition of non-profit society publications by commercial entities, along with “big deal” aggregations for publisher databases, have contributed to an unsustainable model. Today, five commercial publishers control a majority market share of academic journals, the venues in which a large proportion of our scientific and other discoveries are documented and shared. The majority of published research is locked behind paywalls and accessible only to a shrinking number of institutions whose libraries can afford the subscription or license.

In 2006, we shared an open letter in support of taxpayer access to federally-funded research. In 2012, we repeated our advocacy for open access in the face of potentially restrictive legislation to curtail that openness. Since then, our institutions have further invested in systems, repositories, and local policies to support open access to the works of our faculty. And we have encouraged our libraries and faculty to work together to assess the value of purchased or licensed content and the appropriate terms governing its use. With Big Ten libraries’ expenditures on journals exceeding $190 million, we recognize that our institutions are privileged in the level of access we provide our campuses, yet the status quo is not sustainable….

Demand for open access continues and has been furthered by the rise of open access publications, federal and institutional open repositories, and an insistence by public funders that research results must be widely available—that equity be fostered. While no current model offers a fully tested framework to recognize the intellectual and financial resources our universities contribute to publishing, it is incumbent on our institutions to advance more sustainable modes of funding publishing. …”

Sustaining Values and Scholarship A Statement by the Provosts of the Big Ten Academic Alliance

“We, the provosts of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, are committed to sustaining and advancing equitable modes of sharing knowledge. Our 14 institutions embrace individual mission statements that support the common good, equity of access, and the global impact and reach of our research and scholarship. Collectively, our institutions’ more than 50,000 faculty are supported by over $10 billion (2017) in research funding, and our institutions have similarly invested significantly in our capacity to further our missions to advance knowledge. Together, we produce roughly 15% of the research publications in the United States….

In 2006, we shared an open letter in support of taxpayer access to federally-funded research. In 2012, we repeated our advocacy for open access in the face of potentially restrictive legislation to curtail that openness. Since then, our institutions have further invested in systems, repositories, and local policies to support open access to the works of our faculty. And we have encouraged our libraries and faculty to work together to assess the value of purchased or licensed content and the appropriate terms governing its use. With Big Ten libraries’ expenditures on journals exceeding $190 million, we recognize that our institutions are privileged in the level of access we provide our campuses, yet the status quo is not sustainable….”

 

 

The Monograph Is Broken. Long Live the Monograph. – The Chronicle of Higher Education

“Despite the steadfast nature of this trust dynamic in publishing, scholarly-book publishing has been in a self-professed state of crisis for at least the past quarter century, even as the number of scholarly books published increases each year. This crisis is rooted in the desire of — and necessity for — scholars to publish monographs at a time when sales of such books continue to dwindle. These conflicting pressures are exacerbated by other changes, such as the growth of digital publishing and open access….”

OSAOS [Open Source Alliance for Open Scholarship] Handbook

Open source projects in the scholarly domain exist at the intersection of academia, technology, and the public interest. The diversity of the communities involved results in unique opportunities for financial support, but also potentially in the tragedy of the commons — a situation where multiple stakeholders use open scholarly resources but collectively fail to sufficiently support them.

There’s no one path to financial sustainability that is right for all projects. Many projects begin in academic contexts, run by students and volunteers, and eventually gain funding via donations and grants. Two examples are NumPy and the Dat Project, which were initially run by volunteers and have been supported by donations and private philanthropic funds. Other projects seek investment from venture capital firms to scale their work.

As the open scholarly ecosystem matures, the community is exploring how to maintain long-term sustainability to maintain operations while building the potential to scale….”

Enhancing OER Support by Developing a Workflow and Service Model

Abstract:  My capstone project for the 2018-19 SPARC Open Education Leadership Program focused on developing internal infrastructure in order to support a new and quickly growing OER program at the University of Houston (UH). The primary goals of my project were to develop an OER adoption workflow to support instructors in replacing commercial textbooks, and to develop a service model for an effective and sustainable level of OER support.

This report details the process of completing the capstone project, which included conducting an environmental scan of OER needs at UH, reviewing existing OER workflows and similar resources, developing an OER adoption workflow specific to the UH context, and beginning to develop a service model for OER support. Successful completion of the capstone project is evaluated by comparing project outcomes to the desired goals. 

Lessons learned include recognizing the value of documentation, resisting perfection, understanding my own process, and acknowledging my progress and successes. This project would not be as successful without my SPARC mentor, Camille Thomas (Scholarly Publishing Librarian, Texas Tech University), who provided constant guidance and support.

In support of open infrastructures: A statement from OPERAS in response to the ‘Open Research Library’, a new initiative from Knowledge Unlatched

On May 16, Knowledge Unlatched (KU) launched a new hosting platform for Open Access monographs, the Open Research Library (ORL). Notwithstanding its name, we do not consider the Open Research Library to qualify as an open infrastructure.

Open and Shut?: The OA interviews: Arianna Becerril-García, Chair of AmeliCA

“A professor in the School of Political and Social Sciences at the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEM), Arianna Becerril-García is also the Executive Director of Redalyc, the Network of Scientific Journals from Latin America and the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal. Redalyc is a regional open access portal for the social sciences and humanities that indexes 1,305 local journals and hosts the full texts of more than 650,000 articles. …

In addition, Becerril-García is the Chair of a new project called AmeliCA (Open Knowledge for Latin America and the Global South). AmeliCA’s goal is to propagate the Redalyc model to the more than 15,000 journals in the region and elsewhere in the Global South.

As Chair of AmeliCA, Becerril-García has become a vocal critic of Plan S – the European OA initiative announced last year by a group of funders that call themselves cOAlition S. While AmeliCA shares cOAlition S’s goal of achieving universal open access, says Becerril-García, it fears that, as currently conceived, Plan S would disenfranchise researchers in the Global South and exclude them further from the international scholarly publishing system….”

Library-Mediated Deposit: A Gift to Researchers or a Curse on Open Access? Reflections from the Case of Surrey

Abstract:  The University of Surrey was one of the first universities to set up an open access repository. The Library was the natural stakeholder to lead this project. Over the years, the service has been influenced by external and internal factors, and consequently the Library’s role in developing the OA agenda has changed. Here, we present the development and implementation of a fully mediated open access service at Surrey. The mediated workflow was introduced following an operational review, to ensure higher compliance and engagement from researchers. The size and responsibilities of the open access team in the Library increased to comply with internal and external policies and to implement the fully mediated workflow. As a result, there has been a growth in deposit rates and overall compliance. We discuss the benefits and shortcomings of Library mediation; its effects on the relationship between the Library, senior management and researchers, and the increasing necessity for the Library to lead towards a culture of openness beyond policy compliance.

Subscribe To Open: Annual Reviews’ Take on Open Access

Annual Reviews is keen to pursue open access (OA), believing its content to be of wide general interest, but does not consider APCs to be a viable route. The reviews are invited, and it can take three or four months to write them, so the publisher feels that it is not appropriate to present the author with a bill/invoice to publish. In addition, Annual Reviews authors rarely cite funder support, closing off the most obvious source of APC-based funding.

Instead, the staff of Annual Reviews want existing library subscription payments for gated access journals to be leveraged and then retained to convert and sustain the journals as OA. They are putting the idea to the test with a program called Subscribe to Open….”

Worried About the Future of the Monograph? So Are Publishers – The Chronicle of Higher Education

From your perspective as the AUP’s new president, what are the most important issues facing scholarly publishers?

Crewe: Our biggest challenge remains the low sales of scholarly monographs, such as revised dissertations or scholarly books with a narrow focus in a small field. Libraries share copies, and individuals don’t purchase the new books in their fields as they did 20 years ago.

We want to publish these books. They are the building blocks of our own reputation and they are often groundbreaking, field-changing works. We’re looking for publishing grants to support them, and we try each season to publish enough profitable books to cover the losses on monographs.

But today’s model isn’t sustainable. There are a number of experiments under way to figure out how to publish specialized monographs in a freely available open-access format….”