Unusual Business: A University Press Goes Private, And No One is the Wiser — G. Geltner

“On 11 March this year, a brief announcement by the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and Amsterdam University Press (AUP) marked the latter’s transfer into private hands. The upbeat text conjures up a healthy image: a rigorous restructuring had saved an ailing organization. Following a dire diagnosis, AUP achieved a great “track record” and “international visibility” and was “stable and growing.” “A good moment” presented itself to let AUP direct its own destiny, a “long-cherished dream” of its new owner, whose “network in the sector” reassured UvA Ventures Holding B.V., the company through which the UvA formally owned AUP, of the press’s bright future.

Anyone unversed in the corporate idiom of mergers and acquisitions could easily be forgiven for reading the press release as a tale of unmitigated success. The truth is more complex, and shrouded in secrecy since neither the UvA, nor UvA Ventures Holding B.V., nor AUP itself have been forthcoming about the precise circumstances of the press’s privatization. It seems, at any rate, that what led to the UvA’s decision was a desire to cut its losses, rather than faith in the press’s viability….

As a proud former author, advisory board member and a series editor at AUP until recently, I (like other colleagues I’ve polled) was never formally told in real time by the press about this rather dramatic change in its status. But perhaps even more telling is that the UvA never specifically disclosed the reasons why tax-paid scholarship and the labor of numerous staff members turn at the stroke of a pen into someone else’s private property, even if contributors originally signed up to publish, review, edit and indeed solicit scholarly texts on behalf of an ostensibly public press. Some of these “content creators” may not care that they are literally volunteering to produce wealth for a private company that is unaccountable to them, and which may fold or be sold to the highest bidder, with no guarantee that fields it supports today will be continued tomorrow. (On that topic, see, most recently, s.v. Ashgate). Others, like me, very much do care….”

The Netherlands leads way with implementation of the new educational exception – International Communia Association

“Just one month after the new Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive went into force, the Dutch government has shared their proposal for its implementation, through an amendment of their existing copyright law. The proposal is currently in a public consultation phase.

We would like to provide here an overview of the Dutch proposal to implement locally the new EU educational exception (article 5 in the final version of the Directive). This is the beginning of our effort to track how countries across Europe will implement, over the coming two years, this mandatory exception to copyright for educational purposes….”

Access agreement between Elsevier and Dutch universities extended

The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) and Elsevier have announced a further 6-month extension to their current agreement, providing researchers at Dutch universities with access to more than 16 million publications from over 2,500 journals published by Elsevier, including  Cell Press and The Lancet titles, and journals published on behalf of its society partners.

The agreement includes an extension of the Elsevier-VSNU gold OA pilot, enabling researchers at Dutch universities to publish open access in the majority of Elsevier’s hybrid and gold OA journals in support of the Netherland’s open access goals.

The extension, which runs from July 1 through Dec 31, 2019, will allow for continued explorations between Elsevier, VSNU, the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU) and NWO on how to work together on aspired future Dutch open science infrastructure services….”

Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) — KNAW

DANS encourages researchers to make their digital research data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. It does this by providing expert advice and certified services….

By participating in Dutch and international projects, networks and research, DANS is helping to innovate the global scientific data infrastructure. Its philosophy is: open whenever possible, protected where necessary.  DANS is a joint institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research….”

Mixed reactions to Wiley German deal | Research Information

Concerns have been raised over a new publishing deal between Wiley and a German consortium of 700 research institutes, libraries and universities. 

The deal, which is being described as the first country-wide agreement in a leading research nation, was announced at the APE conference in Berlin, Germany in January but the details have only recently been made public. The deal is described as ‘publish and read’, a system that is seen by some as a move towards open access….

Commentators have pointed out that the deal protects German researchers from ‘double-dipping’ – they will no longer have to subscribe to Wiley’s journals as well as paying to publish in them – but there have also been complaints that researchers in the Netherlands are paying a significantly lower fee (1,600 euros) to publish with Wiley.

Jon Tennant, founder of the Open Science MOOC, tweeted: ‘I find it impossible to see this as a success in any way. Public funds are being directly converted into private profits. This is absurd. The per-article cost is more than buying a brand new MacBook pro. For publishing a paper. Zero goes to authors, zero to reviewers.’ “

VSNU statement on Plan S: ambitions remain high, transition will require due care

The VSNU endorses the objectives of and has been actively involved in the developments on Open Science as stated in the National Plan Open Science (NPOS). Open Science aims to bring about a fundamental improvement of science by making the scientific process transparent and ensuring that research output is widely available. The social impact of science can in turn be strengthened through greater involvement in and accessibility of scientific output, including articles and research data. …

In addition to supporting the objectives of Plan S, the VSNU also recognises the concerns among scientists in particular. Before Plan S can make the desired contribution to our Open Access ambitions, these concerns must be properly addressed:

 

  • Enough time must be allowed for the transition: for instance, an additional round of transformative deals based on the scheduled evaluation in 2023.
  • The quality of the scientific publications is crucial. It must be clear to researchers which journals are reliable, while other initiatives such as platforms and repositories must have a clear and transparent review process. 
  • The independence of science continues to be guaranteed.
  • Publishing is and will remain affordable for all, and costs will be transparent.
  • Scientists have sufficient options for publishing their articles.
  • There is adequate consideration for the position of young or ‘early career’ researchers in particular.
  • Open Science and Open Access are given attention within the system of scholarly recognition and remuneration. This area will require commitment from scientists, but especially from managers and administrators. …”

Open access-International alignment

“This eZine gives readers the opportunity to contribute their views on how to achieve the goal of 100% open access. You can contribute by responding to the polling questions given for the various topics.

Major steps still need to be taken to further strengthen the link between science and society. In the year ahead, the VSNU will be bringing together various themes such as valuing and rewarding academics, open science and open access. Not only do we expect this development from ourselves, but also from the parties we work with. International ‘alignment’ is therefore very important if we are to achieve the desired disruptive effect regarding the transparency of science which is paid for with public funds. We are eager to see what we can achieve in this area and look forward to the resulting social impact….”

Towards 2020: progress in each of the five pillars

“In February 2017, in order to implement the European agreements in the Netherlands, the National Open Science Plan was presented by ten parties including KNAWNWO/ZonMw and VSNU/UKB. One of the main ambitions of this plan is to achieve 100% open access publication by 2020: i.e. scientific publications (articles, (sections of) books, reports) paid for by the government will be directly accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world, for consultation and reuse from 2020 onwards.

The VSNU/UKB is the driving force behind this main ambition, which means that it has the task of initiating joint policies and then ensuring coordination between the key players in the field. Together with the parties which are most closely involved, agreements have been reached for the coming period (2018 – 2020). This is still taking place under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. In the coalition agreement and the 2018 Higher Vocational Education Sector Agreement, it is specified that open access and open science are the norm for scientific research.

The Open access roadmap 2018-2020 eZine focuses on the five pillars of the plan. In this version, we provide background information about the progress and developments for each pillar. You can also give your opinion on the next steps to be taken….”