Texas Universities Join Forces to Negotiate Their Future

“Twenty-seven universities across Texas have joined forces as the Texas Library Coalition for United Action (TLCUA) to think creatively about access to faculty publications and the sustainability of journal subscriptions. TLCUA has organized to identify the best way to change current models and the relationships between academic institutions and publishers. The goals of the Coalition are ambitious – improved access to scholarship, greater control over faculty content, and pricing models that are sustainable for strained library budgets in higher education.

The sustainability of providing scholarly research at ever-increasing costs is putting these academic libraries in difficult positions as they work to offer access to scholars on their campuses….

The Coalition has begun its mission by entering into dialog with academic publisher Elsevier. They hope that through positive engagement and mutual understanding, an improved and sustainable model for the dissemination of scholarship can be achieved….”

A brief history of open access at Harvard · Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication

“This is the first of two related posts. The second will describe our current thinking about open access. (Watch for it around Open Access Week, 2020.) We’re looking forward and want to start by showing where we’ve come from. 

For now, this brief history focuses mostly on Harvard’s thinking about subscription journal prices and Harvard’s open access (OA) policies. There are many other OA initiatives at Harvard we might add later, for example on courseware, data, digitization, open-source software, and publishing, as well as our partnerships with larger, multi-institutional initiatives. …”

Commercial Textbooks Present Challenges in a Virtual Environment | Library

“As we approach the fall 2020 semester, library staff are working hard to provide alternative access to the print course reserves collection. …However, this work is hampered by textbook publishers who do not provide electronic purchasing options for libraries. Approximately 85% of existing course textbooks are simply unavailable to libraries in any other format than print. …

We are working with instructors to explore and identify viable textbook alternatives, including…Adopting an open educational resource (OER). OERs are freely available educational materials that are openly licensed to allow for re-use and modification by instructors….”

Commercial Textbooks Present Challenges in a Virtual Environment | Library

“As we approach the fall 2020 semester, library staff are working hard to provide alternative access to the print course reserves collection. …However, this work is hampered by textbook publishers who do not provide electronic purchasing options for libraries. Approximately 85% of existing course textbooks are simply unavailable to libraries in any other format than print. …

We are working with instructors to explore and identify viable textbook alternatives, including…Adopting an open educational resource (OER). OERs are freely available educational materials that are openly licensed to allow for re-use and modification by instructors….”

Universities should commit to opening up their research to everyone (opinion)

“Since the novel coronavirus struck, scientific research has been shared, and built upon, at an unprecedented pace. An open and deeply collaborative academic enterprise has emerged, with scientists from around the world sharing data and working together to map the SARS-CoV-2 genome and develop the first vaccines.

During normal times — when we’re not in a pandemic — much of the taxpayer-funded research that universities conduct is locked away by publishers, out of reach for all but those who can afford costly subscriptions. This year, given the dire need to fight a deadly disease, publishers temporarily lifted the paywalls that normally shut out this important knowledge from public view….

The COVID-19 crisis inspired a global collaboration that has led to a scientific renaissance — and we must not revert to our old ways. Imagine the progress that could be made if the international research community worked together to develop treatments for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Climate change, educational equity and racial justice could all be studied through a more expansive and inclusive lens.

Years from now, we will look back at this pandemic as a historic time of incredible challenges, disruption and anguish. But I hope we will also remember it as an inflection point — the end of restricting knowledge to a privileged few and the dawn of a new era in scientific progress.”

Open and Shut?: Unbundling the Big Deal: An interview with SUNY’s Shannon Pritting

“Nevertheless, many libraries did sign big deals. And many later regretted it, not least because, having done so, they felt they had no choice but to keep renewing the contract, even as the cost kept going up and devoured more and more of their budget. 

Libraries felt trapped, conscious that if they did not renew they would have to go back to subscribing to individual journals at list price, which would mean being able to afford access to fewer journals, and fearful that when they discovered that journals they wanted were no longer available, faculty would revolt.

Over time, however, a greater willingness to think the unthinkable emerged, and some libraries began to cancel their big deals. And when they did so the sky did not fall in – which allowed other libraries to take heart.

The list maintained here suggests that libraries began cancelling their big deals as long ago as 2008, but the number doing so has been accelerating in the last few years. What has really focussed minds are the recent decisions by both the University of California and MIT to walk away from their negotiations with Elsevier rather than renew their big deals.

But it is not necessary to walk away completely in the way UC and MIT have done. Instead, libraries can “unbundle” their Big Deal by replacing the large package of several thousand journals they are subscribed to with a small à la carte bundle of a few hundred journals, and in the process save themselves a great deal of money.

What is helping libraries to make the decision to unbundle is the knowledge that more and more research is becoming available on an open access basis. In addition, new tools like Unsub are available to advise them on which journals they can cancel without too great an impact, and which journals are essential and so should be retained….

So how is a decision to unbundle made, and what are the issues and implications of making the decision? To get a clearer picture I spoke recently by email with Shannon Pritting, Shared Library Services Platform Project Director at SUNY. In April, SUNY replaced its Big Deal of 2,200 journals with Elsevier with a “little deal” of just 248 journals. By doing so, it says, it has saved about $7 million….”

 

Measuring the impact of institutional repositories in selected Zimbabwean State Universities – Open Repositories 2021

“There is a dearth of empirical evidence in Africa to support the assertion that IRs have made research output easily accessible, visible and citable as acknowledged by some scholars. The study assessed the extent to which archived content is cited by publications indexed in Scopus. Five IRs in Zimbabwean state universities were analysed. Scopus cited references search facility was used to mine for documents citing IR content from 2014 to 2018. Results from Scopus searches were exported into text files then transported to excel workbooks for filtering and analysis. The impact of an IR was analysed from two perspectives; cited and citing documents characteristics. Results show that on average 8.6 documents per year were cited for all IRs combined within the 5 year period selected for the study. The most cited document types were thesis and dissertations followed by research articles. The University of Zimbabwe IR was found to be the most influential, with 34 citers affiliated in 12 countries. A new measure of IR research impact based on Scopus was put forward.”

Open access is the new normal: it makes more ways to value research | Campus Morning Mail

“Academics have been eagerly assigning copyright to their most precious research findings to private companies for years, in exchange for the opportunity to be published in well-known journals. This has resulted in most research being locked away behind paywalls.

Many research funders now require the work that they support to be published open access, with one group of funders pushing harder than most under an agreement called Plan S. But policing the open access requirements of grant funding has been technically challenging; and individual researchers remain under pressure to publish in high-prestige journals. As a result, progress has been patchy and copyright in research articles continues to be signed over to paywalled journals.

This month, Plan S funders announced that they will require that authors retain the copyright in publications that result from Plan S funded research. This means that authors no longer have the right to sign over copyright in their research outputs to a journal when they publish. It removes one of the last barriers for funders to require that the research they fund must be made open access  immediately upon publication….”