Swedish researchers’ responses to the cancellation of the big deal with Elsevier

Abstract:  In 2018, the Swedish library consortium, Bibsam, decided to cancel big deal subscriptions with Elsevier. Many researchers (n = 4,221) let their voices be heard in a survey on the consequences of the cancellation. Almost a third of them (n = 1,241) chose to leave free-text responses to the survey question ‘Is there anything you would like to add?’. A content analysis on these responses resulted in six themes and from these, three main conclusions are drawn. First, there is no consensus among researchers on whether the cancellation was for good or evil. The most common argument in favour of the cancellation was the principle. The most common argument against cancellation was that it harms researchers and research. A third of the free-text responses expressed ambivalence towards the cancellation, typically as a conflict between wanting to change the current publishing system and simultaneously suffering from the consequences of the cancellation. The general support for open access in principle reveals a flawed publishing system, as most feel the pressure to publish in prestigious journals behind paywalls in practice. Second, it was difficult for researchers to take a position for or against cancellation due to their limited knowledge of the ongoing work of higher education institutions and library consortia. Finally, there are indications that the cancellation made researchers reflect on open access and to some extent alter their publication pattern through their choice of copyright licence and publication channel.

 

Humtank Prize 2020 to the Royal Library – Humtank

From Google’s English:  “Society needs humanistic knowledge. The humanities need to reach out to society. Therefore, for the sixth year in a row, the think tank Humtank awards the Humtank Prize to academics or institutions that have made a meritorious contribution to important humanities perspectives in society. This year’s winner is the Royal Library, and this is the motivation:

 

The Royal Library (KB) has, by opening up its entire digitized newspaper archive on the internet during the corona pandemic, paved the way into the future. In a time marked by copyright and commercial tunnel events, KB gave everyone the opportunity to explore almost 400 years of Swedish news reporting and history – regardless of where they are in the country. A temporary copyright agreement meant that the entire archive could only be accessed freely for a few months, but through the initiative, the library has opened a wide window, which no researcher or good citizen wants to see closed anymore. In a far-sighted and meritorious way, KB has thus shown a genuinely digitized future, where history is free and accessible for everyone to explore.”

Updated Guidelines for Publication with Open Access – Forte (English)

“As of 1 October, a new version of Forte’s Guidelines for Publication with Open Access comes into force. The intention is that the changes will make the guidelines clearer and easier to follow.

It is the objective of both the Swedish government and the EU that publications resulting from publicly funded research must be published with open access as of 2020. It is a question of democracy. The government also emphasises that there continues to be a need for higher education institutions and research funding bodies to assume a shared responsibility for striving to ensure that the national objective for open access is achieved.

The revision of Forte’s guidelines for open access makes it clearer that the requirement for immediate open access applies to all research that is granted funds as of 2021, regardless of when the results are published.

One addition to the guidelines also stipulates that all publication must be undertaken with an open licence (CC-BY). This must be stated in all versions of manuscripts submitted for publication. This means that copyright remains with the author, and is not assigned to publishers who can then restrict the use or dissemination of the published article….”

Scandinavian universities perform dismally at reporting clinical trial results

“Universities across Finland, Norway and Sweden have failed to upload the results of hundreds of clinical trials onto the EU Clinical Trial Register, in violation of EU transparency rules….”

Cancelling with the world’s largest scholarly publisher: lessons from the Swedish experience of having no access to Elsevier

Abstract:  This article covers the consequences of the decision of the Bibsam consortium to cancel its journal licence agreement with Elsevier, the world’s largest scholarly publisher, in 2018. First, we report on how the cancellation affected Swedish researchers. Second, we describe other consequences of the cancellation. Finally, we report on lessons for the future. In short, there was no consensus among researchers on how the cancellation affected them or whether the cancellation was positive or negative for them. Just over half (54%) of the 4,221 researchers who responded to a survey indicated that the cancellation had harmed their work, whereas 37% indicated that it had not. Almost half (48%) of the researchers had a negative view of the cancellation, whereas 38% had a positive view. The cancellation highlighted the ongoing work at research libraries to facilitate the transition to an open access publishing system to more stakeholders in academia than before. It also showed that Swedish vice-chancellors were prepared to suspend subscriptions with a publisher that could not accommodate the needs and requirements of open science. Finally, the cancellation resulted in the signing of a transformative agreement which started on 1 January 2020. If it had not been for the cancellation, the reaching of such an agreement would have been unlikely.

 

Cancelling with the world’s largest scholarly publisher: lessons from the Swedish experience of having no access to Elsevier

Abstract:  This article covers the consequences of the decision of the Bibsam consortium to cancel its journal licence agreement with Elsevier, the world’s largest scholarly publisher, in 2018. First, we report on how the cancellation affected Swedish researchers. Second, we describe other consequences of the cancellation. Finally, we report on lessons for the future. In short, there was no consensus among researchers on how the cancellation affected them or whether the cancellation was positive or negative for them. Just over half (54%) of the 4,221 researchers who responded to a survey indicated that the cancellation had harmed their work, whereas 37% indicated that it had not. Almost half (48%) of the researchers had a negative view of the cancellation, whereas 38% had a positive view. The cancellation highlighted the ongoing work at research libraries to facilitate the transition to an open access publishing system to more stakeholders in academia than before. It also showed that Swedish vice-chancellors were prepared to suspend subscriptions with a publisher that could not accommodate the needs and requirements of open science. Finally, the cancellation resulted in the signing of a transformative agreement which started on 1 January 2020. If it had not been for the cancellation, the reaching of such an agreement would have been unlikely.

 

Evaluation of cancellation of journal agreement with Elsevier 2018 – Kungliga biblioteket – Sveriges nationalbibliotek – kb.se

“In May 2018, the Bibsam Consortium announced that they would cancel the agreement with Elsevier as of June 30 of the same year. The cancellation has stirred attention, both in the media and in academia. Open access and how open access is negotiated into publisher agreements has become known in more parts of the research community.

 

4,221 researchers and staff responded to an open survey. Many of them chose to submit free text responses about how the cancellation had affected them.

 

The evaluation shows that the cancellation affected researchers differently. While some were not affected at all in their work (37%), others were negatively (39%) or very negatively (15%) affected. There was no consensus on whether the cancellation was good or not. Many were ambivalent. For example, they understood or supported the reason for the cancellation but were still harmed by it….

The organisations participating in the Bibsam Consortium were less affected than expected by the cancellation. The cost of information work, interlibrary loans, and alternative access services relating to the cancellation were deemed marginal….

The cancellation was also crucial for finally arriving at a new [and better] agreement in November 2019.”

Mutinous librarians help drive change at Elsevier | Financial Times

“The company is facing a profound shift in the way it does business, as customers reject traditional charging structures. Open access publishing — the move to break down paywalls and make scientific research free to read — is upending the funding model for journals, at the behest of regulators and some big research funders, while online tools and the illicit Russian pirate-site Sci-Hub are taking readers. Even Donald Trump’s administration in December began consulting on an executive order to “liberate” publicly funded research, according to people briefed on the process….

But its willingness to experiment has increased markedly since Kumsal Bayazit, an Istanbul-born former management consultant, took over as chief executive last year. Admitting Elsevier’s transition to open access was too “slow”, she is now stepping up one of the big evolutions of the company’s history….”

New report on internal cost reallocation models within the Bibsam consortium – Kungliga biblioteket – Sveriges nationalbibliotek – kb.se

“Robert van der Vooren conducted a study commissioned by the National Library of Sweden about new ways of distributing publisher contract costs to Bibsam Consortium participants. The study is intended to be a basis when the Bibsam Consortium makes cost distribution future proof for full open access publishing….”