SPARC Urges Department of Justice to Block Merger Between Cengage and McGraw-Hill – SPARC

“Today, SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) submitted a detailed filing to the U.S. Department of Justice urging federal antitrust enforcers to block the proposed merger between college textbook publishing giants Cengage and McGraw-Hill Education. The merger would create the largest publisher of college course materials in the United States and the world’s second largest education publisher overall….”

Open access and social justice driving African development

“The open access movement is being hailed in Africa as one of many solutions that can contribute to its development, as it opens access to scholarly literature which is critical for development. To fast track a positive development trajectory, Africa needs access to scholarly content to generate new knowledge, which provides solutions, at an exponential rate, to local challenges. Hence, there is growing reliance on freely accessible scholarly content, as well as free and open channels for the dissemination of scholarly information generated from the global south. Driving these free access and open dissemination channels is the social justice principle that researched and published solutions need to be equitably shared. As much as there is strong advocacy for free access, there has to be equal support for inclusive participation by global south researchers in knowledge creation and the free and equitable dissemination of this knowledge.

The open access movement must embrace the social justice elements embedded in the movement and robustly advance the liberation of marginalised voices. These “new voices [need] to find their way into disciplinary conversations, reach new audiences, both academic and public, and impact existing and emerging fields of scholarship and practice in a transformative way” (Roh 2016: 83). Open access services must become mainstream for academic and research institutions in Africa as open access is one of the most significant conduits for inclusive and free access to scholarship for the marginalised and has the mandate and potential to strongly promote unhindered participation in knowledge production.

This conference must challenge the open access movement and its advocates with their social justice principles to usher in equity and equal opportunity and to open the doors for full participation of new African voices in the scholarly communication landscape. There has to be a mind-set shift away from the assumption that the global south will remain ignorant and underdeveloped until it has access to the global north’s knowledge. The creation and dissemination of global south research will convert the one directional flow of information to a facilitated process of equitable knowledge exchange.”

ARL Endorses COAR/SPARC Good Practice Principles for Scholarly Communication Services – Association of Research Libraries

“The Association of Research Libraries (ARL), through its mission to catalyze the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information, supports the COAR/SPARC Good Practice Principles for Scholarly Communication Services. The landscape of tools and infrastructure to support the research enterprise reflects a complex mix of economic models, both commercial and community-owned, both proprietary and open source. With the growing enthusiasm and support in Canadian and US research libraries for academy-owned, community-governed open scholarly communication, these seven principles serve as excellent guideposts for the community as it builds and coordinates components and services for open scholarship….”

AmeliCA – SPARC

Latin America has a vision for open scholarly communication—and it works. Scientists have long shared their research results through academic institutions, sidestepping the commercial publishing structure and enabling equitable access to all.

Now, as market forces threaten to alter the landscape, a new effort is underway to preserve the unique, publicly-funded approach and celebrate the successful model native to the region.

Open Knowledge for Latin American and the Global South, known as AmeliCA, launched in October 2018 with the goal of strengthening well-established scientific publishing and building partnerships. The coalition strives to develop a platform across institutions that will enable journals to keep operating without charging authors or readers. To date, 18 universities have joined and more than 100 journals are sharing a common infrastructure of software, tools, hosting, and training services.

Recognizing that equity and inclusion are at the center of this initiative’s mission, SPARC honors AmeliCA with its June 2019 Innovator Award as a shining example of what works with Open Access….”

ACRL/SPARC Forum: Collective Reinvestment in Open Infrastructure (ACRL)

Libraries are increasingly considering scaling back their subscriptions or cancelling big deals altogether. Yet, the question of how and where to reinvest the resources that become available is both far from settled and increasingly pressing. As we start to move away from the subscription model, we should be intentional about crafting the vision for open research communication we strive to build and how we intend to build it. 

This forum, “If I Had A Million Dollars: Collective Reinvestment in Open Infrastructure,” will invite active participation throughout the session in a facilitated discussion with experts representing both libraries and research funders. …”

Theme of 2019 International Open Access Week To Be “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge” – Open Access Week

The 2019 Open Access Week Advisory Committee is pleased to announce that the theme for the 2019 International Open Access Week, to be held October 21-27, will be “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge”.

As the transition to a system for sharing knowledge that is open by default accelerates, the question “open for whom?” is essential—both to consider and to act upon. Whose interests are being prioritized in the actions we take and in the platforms that we support? Whose voices are excluded? Are underrepresented groups included as full partners from the beginning? Are we supporting not only open access but also equitable participation in research communication? These questions will determine the extent to which emerging open systems for research will address inequities in the current system or replicate and reinforce them.

This year’s theme will build on the groundwork laid last year when discussions focused on “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge.” The 2018 theme highlighted the importance of making a central commitment to equity as we transition toward new systems for sharing knowledge, and the past twelve months have only seen the pace of that transition increase. Because of this, the Open Access Week Advisory Committee decided it was important to focus on equity again in 2019—to deepen our conversations about being inclusive by design and to turn those conversations into action.

 

[…]

The Forest of the SPARC Landscape

The recent “Landscape Analysis” from SPARC, released at the end of March, walks readers through a sober-sided evaluation of the market, with an emphasis on the major publishers — Elsevier, Wiley, and Springer Nature on the journals side, with Pearson and McGraw-Hill (and Cengage, now part of McGraw-Hill) on the education side.

There are some interesting analyses in the document, and some surprising figures to be sure (for example, Elsevier makes less money per article than either Springer Nature or Wiley). There are tables showing the asymmetry of usage (~5-7% of journals account for ~50% or more usage in multiple fields), but drawing what I consider to be unforgiving conclusion (I don’t agree that low usage equates to low value — a lot of good science and scholarship comes out of small disciplines, new ways of thinking, or emerging fields). The authors confirm in passing my finding that subscriptions only cost academic institutions 0.5% of their budgets. There are arguments about productivity gains, and some contradictory and incomplete data. But overall, the analysis seems solid at the detailed level, missing the mark only a few times here and there.

What’s truly interesting about the analysis is the forest it describes — the big picture it asserts — which is alive with customer knowledge and Big Data assumptions. The authors examine how Elsevier and other companies are now pivoting away from content and into the surveillance economy.

The implications of this are examined in the analysis through a narrow premise — that academic institutions can and should guide the data acquisition and analysis practices of private firms using information products as ways to ignite data exhaust they can use to sell information and projections about academic practices, research areas, and individuals back to institutions.

What the analysis describes is a fascinating — and totally expected — pivot, one we’ve seen developing for quite some time. The SPARC analysis puts a pin in it, and states it quite explicitly.

But exploring the forest is where the analysis falls down, failing multiple times to answer questions its own premise begs — for instance, it asserts data acquisition and analysis should be guided by academic culture, without testing whether there is actually something we can identify as “academic culture” against which proper data utilization practices can be judged….”

Redalyc celebra el surgimiento de Invest in Open Infrastructure

Throughout 16 years of experience, Redalyc has promoted, from permanent technological development and accompaniment to editors, a collaborative, sustainable and non-commercial scientific communication for the benefit of the Latin American scientific communities, mainly of the Social Sciences and the Humanities.

In the pursuit of this goal, Redalyc celebrates the emergence of Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI), an initiative that has brought together various institutions (including OPERAS, SPARC, Center for Open Science and recently Redalyc), meeting with the goal of building a Open, scalable and durable scientific infrastructure that seeks to extend its benefits on a global scale.

Redalyc is pleased to be part of this initiative and thus consolidates its objective of building a collaborative, sustainable and non-commercial Open Access ecosystem for Latin America….”

Investing in Open Scholarly Infrastructure: a Community Opportunity – SPARC

As an organization committed to making “open” the default in research and education, we at SPARC recognize that scholarship is at its best when communities of researchers and scholars are fully empowered to share, discover, and collaborate. Currently, however, the reality is that the needs of the community are not being well-served by the existing scholarly communication infrastructure, which is dominated by vendors whose missions and values often run counter to those of the community. When the business models of these vendors favor lock-in, consolidation, and monopoly, the result is a market where opportunity for healthy competition is limited, and opportunities for sharing are limited. Our SPARC Landscape Analysis catalogs these challenges and the threat they pose to our institutions.

There’s been an admirable effort by many in the community to address this issue, stepping up and building high-quality open tools and services.  While many of these promising open infrastructure projects have successfully launched and are in wide use, the general trend is that they operate independently, and often struggle with securing ongoing operational funding to needed to allow then to evolve and thrive. There is a pressing need for a coordinated, global effort to provide collective support for developing and sustaining this important layer of open infrastructure that operates in a manner that is aligned with the values of the scholarly community it serves.

Today, SPARC is excited to help address these challenges by supporting the launch of a new effort, Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI), designed to fill that need.  As a global initiative to increase the availability and sustainability of open knowledge infrastructure, IOI brings together initiatives building community-driven projects that enable a durable, scalable, and thriving open scientific and scholarly infrastructure serving the needs of global communities. SPARC is one of nineteen participating organizations launching IOI and will be represented on the group’s steering committee….”

Open Research Funders Group Applauds Launch of Invest In Open Infrastructure — Open Research Funders Group

The Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) is pleased to support the launch of Invest In Open Infrastructure (IOI), an initiative that aims to coordinate the creation and ongoing development of open source tools that facilitate open scholarship, research, and education . IOI is an effort to enable durable, scalable, and long lasting open scientific and scholarly infrastructure to emerge, thrive, and deliver its benefits on a global scale. The ORFG is fully supportive of the IOI’s long-term mission to create a shared, open, and interoperable infrastructure for enabling 21st-century scholarly communications. We look forward to working with IOI to develop a framework to track relevant activities, facilitate coordination across projects, and identify areas for wise strategic investment. …”