The UC and Elsevier are refusing to compromise at unacceptable cost to students | Daily Bruin

“The room with the negotiating table isn’t the most pleasant room to be a part of.

But when hundreds of thousands of students are denied access to valuable research, there’s no other place negotiators should be.

It has been almost four months since the University of California’s California Digital Library lost direct access to Elsevier’s journals. Elsevier is one of the largest scientific publishers in the world, owning over 2,500 research journals that UC students and researchers were once able to access. The last agreement between the two parties, which valued at about $10.5 million, ended in December.

Negotiations for a new deal continued into the new year, but firmly broke off at the end of February over differing opinions on both sides about costs and access.

The CDL wanted to lower subscription costs and publish its research with open access to the public, while Elsevier wanted to charge publishing fees to UC authors on top of the monumental subscription cost – a cost that has seen incremental increases since 2014.

At the core of this standoff are two parties bickering with each other on the basis of unfeasible demands. Meanwhile, students will be the ones paying the price….”

Kumsal Bayazit, Elsevier CEO, shares her vision for building a better future in research

“First and foremost, I want to be very clear: Elsevier fully supports open access….

In fact, my professional background is in applying technology to content to help professionals make better decisions. For example, working in the part of RELX that serves legal professionals, I’ve seen the powerful benefits of analytical services that are built on top of freely available content, such as case law. This is why I’m excited by the potential to create value for researchers by applying text-mining and artificial intelligence technologies to the entire corpus of peer-reviewed content. I understand and appreciate the role that open access can play in delivering that vision.

The question is not whether open access is desirable or beneficial — the question is how we get there. My takeaway from my discussions on the topic is that there are many points of view. Publishers are often blamed for not making enough progress, which I think is fair. But it would also be unfair not to recognize the lack of alignment within our communities about the best way forward, which is understandable as this is a multi-dimensional issue that requires substantial problem-solving and action to make progress.

I am a pragmatist, and I commit to working pragmatically with libraries and other stakeholders to achieve shared open access goals. Part of this means acknowledging obstacles where they exist and discussing them openly and objectively so that we can find solutions to overcome them. If we don’t, progress will continue to be slow. I feel optimistic given the extent of commitment to make progress. In that spirit, please allow me to share t some of the obstacles that I have learned about in the last nine months….”

Simba Information: Scientific & Technical Publishing Bucked Headwinds, Posted Strong Growth in 2018

“The report Global Scientific & Technical Publishing 2019-2023 found that the global scientific and technical publishing market grew 3% to $10.3 billion in 2018. Currency exchange fluctuations inflated growth somewhat in 2018, but even taking that into account, this is the highest growth rate tracked by Simba since 2011 when market growth exceeded 4%.

The findings stand in stark contrast to media reports that the industry is facing a long-term decline due to the rise of open access publishing. There have been more reports of university libraries canceling their journal subscription packages in 2018 and 2019. The industry also faces threats from websites that freely share pirated copies of copyrighted research papers….”

Don’t Let Science Publisher Elsevier Hold Knowledge for Ransom

It’s Open Access Week and we’re joining SPARC and dozens of other organizations this week to discuss the importance of open access to scientific research publications. 

An academic publisher should widely disseminate the knowledge produced by scholars, not hold it for ransom. But ransoming scientific research back to the academic community is essentially the business model of the world’s largest publisher of scientific journals: Elsevier.

In February of this year, after drawn-out negotiations broke down, the University of California terminated its subscription with Elsevier. A central sticking point in these negotiations was around open access: specifically Elsevier’s refusal to provide universal open access to UC research, a problem exacerbated by skyrocketing subscription fees.

This has been an ongoing fight, not just in California. Many academics (and EFF) believe that scholarly research most effectively advances scientific progress when it is widely available to the public, and not subject to the paywalls erected by publishers. Scientific research is a driving force behind technological innovations, medical breakthroughs, and policy decisions, and the bulk of it in the U.S. is publicly funded. When libraries, universities, individuals, and even researchers themselves have to pay to access academic work, we all suffer.

Elsevier boasts profit margins in excess of 30%, much of it derived from taxpayer dollars. Academics effectively volunteer their time to publishers to write articles, conduct peer review, and sit on editorial boards, and then publishers demand ownership of the copyright and control over dissemination. Universities and other institutions fund these researchers, and a mega-publisher like Elsevier reaps the benefits while trapping all of that work behind a paywall.

In response to this outdated and deleterious system, two UCSF researchers have started a petition to boycott Elsevier, calling on all academics to refuse to publish in Elsevier journals, peer-review their articles, or sit on their editorial boards (as many already have). They’ve also written a piece calling for a wider re-imagining of the academic publishing system, that’s more in line with an open access model. A large and growing number of scholars have signed the petition already.

This is far from the first time someone has called for a boycott of Elsevier. Efforts go back to 2012 with a call to action from mathematician Timothy Gowers which led to the “The Cost of Knowledge” campaign. Since then, boycotts have extended across entire countries, across Asia, Europe, and

Opinion: Boycotting Elsevier Is Not Enough | The Scientist Magazine®

“Boycotting Elsevier is a good first step, but it needs follow-through to support open infrastructure and systemic reforms. Latin America’s academy-owned non-commercial platforms now publish hundreds of thousands of articles a year and have actively opposed the toxic pay-to-publish business model. We need to lobby our institutions and funders to support open science infrastructure and do something similar in the so-called developed world.

We also need to build open access into our career and incentive structures. We currently don’t employ, fund, or promote scientists who publish in open-access journals or use open science practices, so it is no surprise that the vast majority of scientific papers are not “born free.” Aside from Plan S, most funders’ open-access policies offer neither carrot nor stick. For example, the NIH Public Access Policy offers no rewards for compliance and only administrative consequences for non-compliance.

Scientists already have many of the tools needed to change science publishing. For example, I was frustrated by the lack of quality, fee-free, open-access journals in behavioural neuroscience, so I got some colleagues together and started one. There is a plethora of free open source software for running journals and typesetting articles, which leaves us with very minimal costs. Our main challenge is cultural—convincing scientists it doesn’t have to cost $3,000 to publish an article and to take a risk with a new and unproven outlet….”

bjoern.brembs.blog » Scholarship has bigger fish to fry than access

” For the last 6-7 years, paying for subscriptions has ceased to be necessary for access. One sign of the changing times is the support that initiatives such as DEAL, Bibsam etc. have: two years without subscriptions to Elsevier and what do you hear out of, e.g., Germany? Crickets! Nothing! Of course, it would be silly to conclude that in these two years nobody in Germany has read any Elsevier articles. The reason for the silence and the continued support for DEAL is that we now can access anything we want without subscriptions….

With the realization that EOSC; Plan S, DEAL, etc. are actually working on different aspects of the same issue, the problem to be solved is no longer that scholars publish in toll-access journals, but that institutions haven’t come up with a more attractive alternative. If individuals are not to blame, than there is no reason to mandate them to do anything differently. Instead, institutions should be mandated to stop funding journals via subscriptions or APCs and instead invest the money into a modern, more cost-effective infrastructure for text, data and code. Obviously, in this specificity, this is nearly impossible to mandate in most countries. However, there is a mandate that comes very close. It has been dubbed “Plan I” (for infrastructure). In brief, it entails a three step procedure:

Build on already available standards and guidelines to establish a certification process for a sustainable scholarly infrastructure
Funders require institutional certification before reviewing grant applications
Institutions use subscription funds to implement infrastructure for certification….”

University Librarian Elaine Westbrooks is on a mission to open Carolina’s research to all – The Well : The Well

“I hope our scholars realize that this is something that has to be done. This is the tipping point for us. The money is not there to support the status quo. I’ve heard from many faculty who agree that that we need to change this system that we have.

The current model is unsustainable for universities and is inconsistent with the values of a public university. We’re “of the public, for the public,” designed to serve the state and the citizens of the state. So, I feel as though we have no choice but to transform this system to critique what we’ve done. That critique is going to have some consequences, which I think are good….

We’re negotiating with Elsevier to find out what kind of license we can sign that will be affordable, sustainable, promotes open access and is transparent. Those are the four values that we have set. We’re at a tipping point where it’s just not possible to keep doing business as usual….”

Moedas: Europe should lead negotiations with academic publishers | Times Higher Education (THE)

“The European Union’s outgoing research chief has called on nations to strike deals with academic publishers together, rather than negotiating country by country and weakening their power.

Carlos Moedas, who is at the end of a five-year term as European commissioner for research, science and innovation, told Times Higher Education that negotiating with publishers was a “great example” of something the EU should take on.

In recent years several European countries including Germany, Norway and Sweden have been locked in talks with big academic publishers such as Elsevier and Springer Nature in an attempt to shift towards open access and drive down costs….

“I think that should be done at the level of the union. This is a great example of added value,” he said, referring to an area where it made sense for the EU, rather than nation states, to take the lead….”

SCELC Supports the University of California’s Push for Open Access to Research | SCELC

“SCELC, a California based consortium of 113 private academic and nonprofit research libraries, fully supports the University of California in their decision to not renew their Elsevier subscriptions until a transformative open access agreement can be reached. As North America’s largest publicly funded research university system, UC’s position puts it in the forefront of the global movement to shift the publication of research to open access, placing control of researchers’ output in the hands of its creators. Unsustainable journal subscription price increases have far exceeded the capacity of library budgets, and open access models such as that being negotiated by the UCs offer a long-term viable alternative that benefits both libraries and public access to the research that is often supported by public and grant funds….”

Case for Open Access and the Current Situation with the University of California and Elsevier

“The last few weeks have provided great assurance that the University of California going forward will have agreements based on open access principles, including with Elsevier. Norway has reached an open access deal with Elsevier and the University has reached an open access deal with another important publisher, Cambridge University Press. In these models, which work on the principles of “pay to publish,” costs are contained and risks mitigated for both institutions and publishers, which will create a sustainable and open scholarly ecosystem.”