Renew the Open Textbook Pilot Grant Program – SPARC

“The Open Textbook Pilot is a federal grant program that supports projects at institutions of higher educations that create or expand the use of open textbooks to achieve savings for students. First funded by Congress in the bipartisan fiscal year 2018 budget bill then renewed for a second year, the program has awarded $10 million in grants through the U.S. Department of Education.

SPARC and U.S. PIRG co-lead a national campaign to secure this first-ever federal funding, and we are now working to renew and strengthen the funding for a third year….

SPARC is working to renew and strengthen the Open Textbook Pilot funding in the FY20 budget. We are calling on Congress to increase the amount of funding, increase the number of grants available, and require the Department of Education to run a new competition.

While the timeline of the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations process is still unclear, the House and the Senate have taken steps toward renewing the Open Textbook Pilot. In June 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2740 which includes a $5 million appropriation. On September 18, 2019, the Senate released bill language and the accompanying report for the relevant budget bill, which includes a $6 million appropriation—a $1 million increase—along with instructions for the Department of Education to run a new competition….”

New Read & Publish agre­e­ment publicly avai­lab­le – Kungliga biblioteket –

“46 organisations chose to join the new agreement, which runs for three years, starting January 1st 2019. It covers rights to publish in over 1 800 hybrid journals at no extra cost for the author as well as reading rights from 1997 for over 2 100 journals. Together with the other agreement recently signed for publishing in gold open access journals, this new Read & Publish agreement allows researchers affiliated with the Bibsam Consortium to publish open access in almost the entire Springer Nature journal portfolio….”

Society Publishers Accelerating Open access and Plan S (SPA-OPS) project

“This collection contains the key outputs from the Society Publishers Accelerating Open access and Plan S (SPA-OPS) project. This project set out to identify routes through which learned society publishers could successfully transition to open access (OA) and align with Plan S.

This project was led by Alicia Wise and Lorraine Estelle of Information Power, and was commissioned by Wellcome, UK Research and Innovation, and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP)….”

Open access – reflecting on our journey 15 years on

“We weren’t the first or the fastest to adapt, but we’ve come a long way since the introduction of our self-archiving policy in 2004 and the launch of our first open access journal in 2009. Today, with over 250 fully open access journals and 26 percent growth of OA articles year-on-year, we are one of the world’s fastest-growing open access publishers….”

It’s time to get serious about open educational resources | Times Higher Education (THE)

“For universities, the business case is compelling. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey indicates that a $32,000 (£26,000) investment saved its students $1.6 million over two years. At Ontario Tech, we had a professor receive a standing ovation from his students when he announced that a certain expensive astronomy textbook was to be replaced by open educational resources.

At their best, OERs allow faculty and students to build course material in much the same way as developers build open code or open software. Everything is shared. Collective insights can be captured for future students in a virtuous cycle of learning and improvement….

But there are four primary challenges that need to be overcome before the movement can really take off….”

Unsustainable scholarship: How private companies control research in higher education – The Daily Tar Heel

“Research at UNC is financed by taxpayers and other grants. Neither the author nor peer reviewers are paid if their original research is accepted by a scholarly journal for publication.

Private publishing companies then package journals together in clumps, and sell university libraries access to them. The publishing companies charge each university differently, depending on its subscription history and school size, and have each school sign nondisclosure agreements, keeping universities from discovering costs paid by peers. 

Once the content is back in the hands of universities, it’s put behind a paywall, where only university affiliates can access the information.

In this model, taxpayers fund research, and then must pay again to access it. 

Nerea Llamas is the associate University librarian for collections, strategies and services, and her job is to strategize the acquisition and dissemination of academia in the digital age. 

She said this process can be unhealthy. 

“The effect is that not only are we paying multiple times, but we are cutting off access to other people who can’t afford to pay for that,” she said. “That could be other institutions in the U.S., but then also other institutions internationally.”

Llamas said the publishing companies advertise their packaged, multi-journal deals as the best cost available. But over time, the companies can raise the price by introducing new costs and subscriptions, like how cable companies can charge customers for unwanted perks, she said. 

Political science professor Timothy Ryan has published many scholarly articles, and said he sympathizes with the Libraries’ concern. 

“Publishers — and Elsevier is the clearest example of this — make a boatload by selling academics’ material back to us, at a steep premium,” he said. “It’s not at all clear what value they add.”

Elsevier is the world’s largest commercial publisher of scholarly journals, with close to $4 billion in 2018 revenue and profit margins consistently above 30 percent. …”

New Journal Focused on Reproducibility

“Cambridge University Press is launching a new open-access journal to help address science’s reproducibility issues and glacial peer-review timelines. Experimental Results, announced today, gives researchers a “place to publish valid, standalone experimental results, regardless of whether those results are novel, inconclusive, negative or supplementary to other published work,” according to the press. It will also publish work about attempts to reproduce previously published experiments….”

University Library: Scholarly Communication Librarian (Open until filled. Apply by 9/27/19) (JPF00746) – UCSC Academic Recruit

“The University Library at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) invites applications for the position of Scholarly Communication Librarian. Under the direction of the Head of Research Support Services, the Scholarly Communication Librarian will spearhead Library-wide efforts to: (1) advance alternatives to high-cost publishing models, including open access initiatives, and (2) provide scholarly publishing guidance and training to researchers and scholars, including guidance on copyright….”