Elsevier acquisition highlights the need for community-based scholarly communication infrastructure – SPARC

“Like many others in the scholarly community, we were very disappointed to learn about the recent acquisition by Elsevier of bepress, the provider of the popular Digital Commons repository platform.1The acquisition is especially troubling for the hundreds of institutions that use Digital Commons to support their open access repositories. These institutions now find their repository services owned and managed by Elsevier, a company well known for its obstruction of open access and repositories.2

While we were disappointed, we were not surprised. Elsevier’s interest in bepress and Digital Commons is reflective of the company’s long term strategy to stake an ownership claim in all the functions vital to the research cycle—from data gathering and annotation, to sharing and publication, to analytics and evaluation. Prior high-profile acquisitions (including SSRN and Mendeley) have made this strategy crystal clear. While this might be a smart business move on the part of a commercial company, it presents significant challenges and risks to the academic and research community.

The dangers inherent in the increasing control of crucial research communication functions in the hands of a small number of commercial players are well-known and well-documented.3 The dysfunction in the academic journal market serves as a case in point. This consolidated control has led to unaffordable costs, limited utility of research articles, the proliferation of western publishing biases, and a system in which publisher lock-in through big deal licenses is the norm. This situation is damaging for the research enterprise, individual researchers, and for society. Further consolidation of the market across functions and platforms—including key elements like research information systems and open access repositories—will exacerbate this already unhealthy situation.”

Migrating to an Open Source Institutional Repository | fsu.digital.flvc.org

Abstract:  FSU Libraries recently completed a migration from Digital Commons (a hosted proprietary IR platform) to Islandora (an open source digital collections platform based on Drupal and Fedora Commons). In implementing a mission-critical open source system, we have encountered a variety of challenges related to technical development, shared governance, communications, and user testing. This presentation shares some of the lessons we learned so that others can benefit from our experience.

Elsevier acquires bepress, a leading service provider used by academic institutions to showcase their research

“Elsevier, the global information analytics business specializing in science and health, today acquired bepress, a Berkeley, California-based business that helps academic libraries showcase and share their institutions’ research for maximum impact. Founded by three University of California, Berkeley professors in 1999, bepress allows institutions to collect, organize, preserve and disseminate their intellectual output, including preprints, working papers, journals or specific articles, dissertations, theses, conference proceedings and a wide variety of other data.”

Elsevier Acquires bepress

“Today, Elsevier announces its acquisition of bepress. In a move entirely consistent with its strategy to pivot beyond content licensing to preprints, analytics, workflow, and decision-support, Elsevier is now a major if not the foremost single player in the institutional repository landscape. If successful, and there are some risks, this acquisition will position Elsevier as an increasingly dominant player in preprints, continuing its march to adopt and coopt open access….”

“Library-led Publishing with bepress Digital Commons: Data and Benchm” by Casey Busher, Irene Kamotsky et al.

Use the link to access the full text report.  The abstract reads as follows: “The Digital Commons community launched 156 journals in 2013, putting the total number of journals published across all Digital Commons repositories at almost 700, including law reviews. These numbers speak to the success of library-led publishing efforts, and there is much more to discover by exploring the journals’ publishing history and performance data in more detail.

This report presents detailed data from across all journals hosted on Digital Commons. We show how publishing rates and readership vary within the community and how these trends can be used to derive target activity levels for new journals. We also look at publishing across various disciplines to see which of those disciplines are well represented and which may be underrepresented. Measuring the success of publishing efforts can be key in proving viability to stakeholders. Using data that reflects the publishing experiences of over 180 institutions, we’re able to suggest benchmarks of publishing activity and readership that will help publishers set goals and prove effectiveness.”