Dutch Deal – Community-Owned Infrastructure

“Elsevier has negotiated a new deal with VSNU, a consortia of Dutch Universities. This new type of deal combines content with data analytics in a novel way. Signing the deal represents an insidious precedent for the academic community, and we’re following the impacts….”

SPARC Statement in Support of the Internet Archive and Controlled Digital Lending – SPARC

“The Internet Archive (IA) plays a critical role in democratizing access to the world’s knowledge. As a library, it provides a wide range of services, that include collecting and preserving materials ranging from books to audio recordings to the full content of the World Wide Web, and ensures that the public has barrier free access to this content.  

In June, a group of publishers filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of one of these services, the National Emergency Library (NEL), a temporary program that the IA set up to ensure the public could access books online while most libraries are physically inaccessible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Critically, the lawsuit also targets the practice of Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), the process of scanning a copy of a print book and lending it one digital copy at a time to one reader at a time—mirroring the long-standing library practice of lending physical books. CDL plays an important role in many libraries, and has been particularly critical to many academic and research libraries as they work to support students, faculty, and researchers through this pandemic. 

SPARC supports Controlled Digital Lending and has joined other libraries, library organizations, and individual librarians in signing this Position Statement to voice our support for this important library practice, and we encourage others in the community to consider signing this statement as well….”

The Dutch Consortia/Elsevier Contract: The Real Risks – Community-Owned Infrastructure

“In December, SPARC assessed an institutional agreement that a Dutch national academic consortia and Elsevier were in the process of negotiating. At the time, we were responding to leaks in the press, which were largely confirmed by the subsequent release of the terms of a framework agreement between the Dutch consortia and the publisher. Last week, the parties announced the official terms of the agreement.

As a quick recap, we originally noted five concerns:

Danger of linking publishing and data contracts into a “Bigger Deal”
A deal structure inhibiting competition in data analytics services
The implications of the resulting reduced competition on customer leverage
The creation of a monopoly (or quasi-monopoly) on data analytics resulting in the loss of diversity in academic assessment
The risks that the deal’s structure, if replicated, would pose to the overall health of the scholarly publishing ecosystem

While some new details have emerged since SPARC released our initial analysis, none of them materially change our conclusions….”

SPARC Releases Update to Landscape Analysis and Accompanying Interactive Website – SPARC

“In the year that’s elapsed since SPARC released its comprehensive Landscape Analysis and accompanying Roadmap for Action, an in-depth look at how the academic publishing market is changing and the implications of those changes for higher education institutions,  our community has experienced significant changes. Today, SPARC is releasing The 2020 Update  to those documents on a new interactive website designed to make taking action easier for librarians and campus administrators. 

 The update examines the events of the past year particularly the global COVID health and resulting economic crisis, and provides updates on the academic publishing market landscape, and the status of the key companies involved.  It highlights emerging trends in academic publishing market that merit close attention, including:

A significant deepening in the shift of major companies away from research publishing and towards research assessment;

A shift away from individual research distribution to more communal, consolidated models; and

The emergence of a “Bigger Deal,” where institutional content licensing is directly linked to the purchase of data analytics services….”

Fair OA publishers, infrastructures and initiatives supported by KU Leuven | KU Leuven Open Science

KU Leuven promotes non-commercial and community-owned approaches of OA, especially through the KU Leuven Fund for Fair OA. On the one hand, the fund supports innovative publishing initiatives and infrastructures. On the other hand, the fund covers membership costs for consortia and advocacy organizations focusing on a non-commercial approach to scholarly communication. On this page you can find an overview of everything that KU Leuven endorses.


SPARC Debrief on Three Recent Big Deal Cancellations – SPARC

“On May 15th, SPARC hosted a member debrief on recent Big Deal cancellations. Curtis Brundy, Evviva Weinraub Lajoie, and Nerea Llamas, spoke about their institutions’ processes leading up to the decision to walk away from their bundled Elsevier subscriptions, shared suggestions for other libraries that may be considering a similar move, and answered questions from the audience. 

All three institutions sought a cost reduction in their upcoming Elsevier contracts, as well as sustainable, affordable, and transparent agreements before making the ultimate decision to unbundle their Big Deals. Each speaker emphasized the importance of campus engagement strategies, including surveying faculty, hosting town halls, and equipping themselves and others with in-depth data analysis processes. Speakers recommend empowered negotiations decision-making through tools and communication strategies, ensuring vendors do not drag out the timeline for their own gain. …”

Common Misconceptions About Open Access To Taxpayer-Funded Research

“The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is reportedly considering a policy that would provide taxpayers with fast, barrier-free access to the results of scientific research that their tax dollars have funded. Such a policy is widely supported by scientists, universities, students, libraries, funders, patients advocates, and the public, as it would accelerate discovery, fuel innovation and economic growth, and improve the public good. However, we are aware of several letters circulating that raise deeply misleading concerns about the potential effects of policy. Specifically, they claim: …”

A National Open Access Policy for Taxpayer Funded Research: The Time is Now

“Empowering scientists to openly share the results of their research, without delay and free of cost, is key to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Open access—the free and immediate sharing of research results—lets scientists build on each other’s work in real time. By making research available under open licenses and in machine readable formats, open access enables powerful text and data mining techniques and makes research AI-ready, accelerating discovery, fueling innovation, spurring economic growth—and improving lives. The United States needs a national open access policy to meet the challenges we now face….”

SPARC in the Age of COVID-19 – SPARC

“After 2016, we eliminated the overhead and travel burden of SPARC’s annual meeting in favor of meeting our members where they live. We’ve increased our team’s regular campus visits and actively support local and regional community events to make sure that more of those in our member libraries who want to participate have more equitable opportunities to do so. We’ve also upped our online game, adding regular just-in-time programs on everything from preparing for “Big Deal” negotiations to running a one-person scholarly communications office to developing campus open access policies.

We also created new online opportunities for professional development like our first-of-its-kind Open Education Leadership Program and increased opportunities for our members’ voices to be heard by policymakers via online advocacy. So from a purely practical standpoint, we are well-positioned to continue to operate at full speed….

Meanwhile, as COVID-19 has thrown the entire operations of higher education institutions online virtually overnight, providing access to high-quality free, open educational resources has become an essential requirement in providing students with the best possible environment to continue their studies. As the first library membership organization to embrace and promote open education and OER, there is high demand for SPARC to accelerate our successful efforts in increasing the awareness, creation and adoption of OER throughout our member institutions as a cost effective strategy for student retention….

We realize that we’re living in a world that will be defined as “before and after COVID-19.” At SPARC, we recognize the magnitude of the challenges facing our community and our society. We’re immensely fortunate to have a remit to do work that can—and will—have a direct positive impact on our member libraries’ ability to individually thrive, and to collectively contribute to creating a more open, equitable and sustainable post-COVID system for sharing knowledge. It’s a mission we are more committed than ever to making a reality along with all of you.”