Leaked document prompts fears of big publisher ‘lock in’ | Times Higher Education (THE)

Only this fragment of the first sentence is OA: “Elsevier could sell Dutch universities a bundle of journal access rights and software, raising concerns that universities could become stuck in one publisher’s software ecosystem….”

Community-Owned Infrastructure – SPARC

“Data and data analytics are spreading fast at higher education institutions, and the academic  community is at a critical juncture. The growing trend of publisher acquisition of critical infrastructure has underscored a pressing need to understand the changing landscape and develop actions that institutions can—individually and collectively—take to maintain and regain control of data infrastructure. These actions will determine who ultimately controls the research and education process and whether we meaningfully address inequities created by legacy players or simply recreate them in new ways. These decisions will also shape libraries’ role in the scholarly enterprise, now and for the future.

To help inform our work to regain and maintain community ownership over data and data infrastructure, SPARC has produced two documents to aid our member institutions and the broader community. …”

How paywalls are poisoning public-interest research | The Spinoff

“Today, 51% of our New Zealand-based university research is made available to everyone – either through a university repository or by being published in a journal committed to using Creative Commons or other open licensing.

Which left a small group of highly profitable publishers in want of a business model. Enter the Performance Based Research Fund and international competition for university rankings.

When publishers with 40% profit margins start rebranding themselves as “information analytics” companies, it’s a good idea to take a close look at what they’re up to.

Let’s step back to 1955….”

Congress Looking into Anticompetitive Behavior in the Digital Library Market

“The American Library Association (ALA) has delivered a written report to the House Judiciary Committee telling lawmakers that “unfair behavior by digital market actors,” including Amazon and some major publishers, is “doing concrete harm to libraries.”

The report, delivered last week to a House antitrust subcommittee investigating competition in the digital market, comes as lawmakers are taking note of the growing backlash to Big Five publisher Macmillan’s decision to impose a two-month embargo on new release e-books in public libraries. In a September 13 letter to ALA executive director Mary Ghikas, the House Judiciary Committee asked ALA to respond to a set of questions in connection with its ongoing investigation, an invitation that came just days after an ALA press event at the Nashville Public Library kicked off a public awareness campaign calling attention to issues in the library e-book market. As of this writing, an ALA online petition opposing Macmillan’s planned embargo, launched at that press event, is approaching 150,000 signatures….”

Decrypting the Big Deal Landscape: Follow-up of the 2019 EUA Big Deals Survey Report

“As of 2017, the European University Association (EUA) assembled a unique collection of ‘Big Deals’ data on agreements between scholarly publishers and (national) consortia of libraries, universities and research organisations. This was carried out in the light of mounting higher education institution concerns about the increasingly unsustainable cost of subscriptions to scholarly publications. In 2016, EUA committed to “establishing an evidence base about current agreements and on-going negotiations with publishers in collaboration with NRCs”.1 Subsequently, data collected by EUA has served as the basis for two reports released in 2018 and 2019, respectively.2 Big Deals now receive increased attention due to their potential to ‘flip’ entire segments of the scholarly publication market from closed to open access publications. Big deals have also been widely criticised for locking-in library budgets, due to constantly increasing subscription costs. The 2019 EUA Big Deals Survey Report surveyed covered 30 European countries and found that over €1 billion is spent on electronic resources each year, including at least €726 million spent on periodicals alone. Big Deals are said to limit competition and innovation in the scholarly publishing system3 and curb universities’ and consortia’s financial freedom to pursue other priorities. However, recently, several European negotiating consortia and scholarly publishers have concluded Big Deals that allow eligible authors to publish articles in open access formats in specific journals. Known as ‘transformative agreements’, these contracts are also supported as one way to comply with future funder requirements that will apply as of 2021 under Plan S.4 In a system that is largely defined by Big Deals, this report aims to inform the transition to open access debate, by providing additional insights and indicators on these agreements’ costs, publication volumes and timelines. This has been achieved by placing EUA Big Deals data into context….

Part 1 explains the methods used to obtain the underlying data as well as limitations and responsible use of the data. Part 2 links the publication outputs of journal articles and reviews to the large five publishers’ market share. It seeks to provide a bigger picture of the relation between subscription costs and publishing output. Part 3 sets out an analysis of the price-per-article for each country and publisher, calculated on the basis of subscription prices and publication volume. It provides European negotiators with comparative Big Deals price per article data in 26 countries. Part 4 takes a closer look at the timeline of Big Deal agreements collected by the EUA Big Deals Survey. It shows that the 2018-2020 period is crucial for negotiations with scholarly publishers (in terms of market volume). Negotiations that occur during this time may also be crucial for the further development of ‘transformative’ agreements and therefore compliance with Plan S requirements. Part 5 provides a brief summary of our main findings, contextualises them with current developments and provides policy recommendations….”

North vs South – Are open access models in conflict?

“One particular challenge for researchers in the Global South is the potential for a shift from a ‘pay to read’ model of scholarly communication to a ‘pay to publish’ model in which researchers do not have the resources necessary to publish their research.

Plan S has stated that it is not focused on delivering only one business model for scholarly communication. However, Article Processing Charges (APCs) have been the only model clearly identified for financing.

If Plan S is proposing to pursue a global flip to open access, we believe that this will require the recognition and support of diverse business models and a clearer definition of the resources these organisations will need to implement these policies, much in the same way the coalition has provided guidance to commercial publishers to secure funding for APC payments.

For a system that publicly subsidises scholarly communication through academic institutions, as in Latin America, implementing charges to authors heightens the risk of breaking a structure that has been designed to support researchers and keep public money within a publicly managed ecosystem.

As Leslie Chan notes, when opening access is decontextualised from its historical and political roots, it has the potential to become as exploitative and oppressive as the system it is seeking to replace….”

Give EU more powers to take on academic publishers, says research commissioner | Science|Business

“The EU’s outgoing research commissioner has called for his successor to be granted stronger powers to negotiate lower prices with big science publishers.

Speaking at a Science|Business conference in Brussels on Tuesday, Carlos Moedas said the EU needed to flex more muscle with an industry that has been criticised for unyielding pricing policies.

The commissioner, who is leaving office on October 31, said he regretted his limited influence on this issue.

“The only thing I would tell my successor is to [get] a mandate to negotiate with publishers in full power. [I didn’t] have a mandate to say, I’m the one who calls the shots. Give that mandate to the commission. It’s not that difficult,” Moedas said.

Moedas praised the Plan S initiative, the European effort to knock down academic paywalls, but called for more political action against publishers, who wield great power when negotiating subscription deals with university libraries….”

Give EU more powers to take on academic publishers, says research commissioner | Science|Business

“The EU’s outgoing research commissioner has called for his successor to be granted stronger powers to negotiate lower prices with big science publishers.

Speaking at a Science|Business conference in Brussels on Tuesday, Carlos Moedas said the EU needed to flex more muscle with an industry that has been criticised for unyielding pricing policies.

The commissioner, who is leaving office on October 31, said he regretted his limited influence on this issue.

“The only thing I would tell my successor is to [get] a mandate to negotiate with publishers in full power. [I didn’t] have a mandate to say, I’m the one who calls the shots. Give that mandate to the commission. It’s not that difficult,” Moedas said.

Moedas praised the Plan S initiative, the European effort to knock down academic paywalls, but called for more political action against publishers, who wield great power when negotiating subscription deals with university libraries….”