Now Is Not The Time For Publishers to Go After Online Libraries: Hachette Book Group, Inc. v. Internet Archive – The Temple 10-Q

“Nothing better promotes the progress of science and the arts than access to knowledge, especially during a global pandemic. COVID-19 has highlighted how our society has changed in the past few decades and how much it needs to change in the decades to come. As schools and workplaces, law firms included, went partially or completely remote, connectivity and access to online resources became more important than ever. It is in this environment that several publishers chose to bring litigation against Internet Archive (IA) in Hachette Book Group, Inc. v. Internet Archive. 

Open Library is a non-profit digital library founded by IA that offers online access to more than 1.3 million books that it has digitized into a PDF format. Operating under the Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) model, Open Library lends out only as many books as it has physical hardcopies of. Essentially, the basis of CDL is that a book must be owned to be loaned.  …”

Continuing the open access transition in 2021 and beyond | Advancing Discovery | Springer Nature

“However, for those of us committed to accelerating the transition to immediate gold OA, 2021 has come with a new challenge – the introduction by cOAlition S of its Rights Retention Strategy (RRS) and its  determination that zero-embargo green OA be used as an alternative to gold OA.  As we have made clear from the outset in our Plan S submission and contributions to blogs and letters, seeking to assert a prior CC BY licence on the accepted manuscript (AM) version of an article risks undermining the transition to immediate open access to the version of record, a goal we had thought cOAlition S shared with us.  This RRS/zero-embargo green OA approach forces publishers into defending subscription income since this is the only income available to pay for their per article costs. Further, this RRS/zero-embargo green OA approach has introduced significant confusion for authors with the priority it gives zero embargo green OA even if a journal provides a compliant immediate OA option for the version of record….”

Joint Position Statement on “Data Repository Selection – Criteria That Matter” | Zenodo

Abstract:  Over the past three years, “Data Repository Selection-Criteria That Matter” – “a set of criteria for the identification and selection of those data repositories that accept research data submissions” – were developed by a group of publishers facilitated by the FAIRsharing initiative. Throughout this time, a large number of organizations and individuals have formulated responses and expressed concern about the criteria and the process through which the criteria were developed. Collectively, our organizations consider that the “Data Repository: Selection Criteria that Matter” recommendations – as currently conceived – will act as an impediment to achieving these aims. As such, we are issuing this Joint Position Statement to highlight the community’s concerns and request that the authors of these criteria respond with specific actions.

 

Big Read-and-Publish Push Arrives

“More than 140 U.S. institutions have now signed open-access deals with Cambridge University Press, marking a significant shift in strategy for the nonprofit publisher.

At the end of 2020, just 13 U.S. institutions had so-called read-and-publish deals with the Cambridge University Press. The University of California system, which was the first U.S. institution to sign a read-and-publish deal with Cambridge University Press, accounted for nine of those 13 deals.

The publisher announced today that it struck read-and-publish deals with another 129 U.S. institutions in the first few months of 2021 — signaling a rapid adoption of the model. The institutions include state university systems, liberal arts colleges and major research institutions….

While the MIT framework supports immediate open access publication, it does not necessarily align with the read-and-publish model. Chris Bourg, director of MIT Libraries, and Roger Levy, an associate professor and chair of the Faculty Committee on the Library System, recently wrote that they had concerns about agreements such as the University of California’s read-and-publish deal with Springer Nature becoming the norm. 

One of the primary concerns about read-and-publish deals is that in the long term, the “barriers currently imposed on readers will be erected for authors instead,” said Jefferson Pooley, professor of media and communication at Muhlenberg College….”

 

AAUP Addresses Opposition to Copyright Exemption for Researchers | AAUP

“On March 10, 2021, the AAUP signed onto a reply comment addressing opposition to its previously submitted long-form comment seeking an exemption from a prohibition on circumventing technological protection measures for text and data mining (TDM) of lawfully accessed motion pictures and lawfully accessed literary works distributed electronically….

The AAUP continues to support the exemption because faculty and academic researchers are and will continue to be adversely affected in their ability to make fair use of motion pictures and literary works if they are prohibited from accessing certain classes of works. The AAUP is delighted to be working with the Berkeley Clinic for the first time.”

No, it’s not The Incentives—it’s you – [citation needed]

“There is, of course,  an element of truth to this kind of response. I’m not denying that perverse incentives exist; they obviously do. There’s no question that many aspects of modern scientific culture systematically incentivize antisocial behavior, and I don’t think we can or should pretend otherwise. What I do object to quite strongly is the narrative that scientists are somehow helpless in the face of all these awful incentives—that we can’t possibly be expected to take any course of action that has any potential, however small, to impede our own career development.

“I would publish in open access journals,” your friendly neighborhood scientist will say. “But those have a lower impact factor, and I’m up for tenure in three years.” …

It’s also aggravating on an intellectual level, because the argument that we’re all being egregiously and continuously screwed over by The Incentives is just not that good. I think there are a lot of reasons why researchers should be very hesitant to invoke The Incentives as a justification for why any of us behave the way we do. I’ll give nine of them here, but I imagine there are probably others….”

Four Concerns About the new UC-Elsevier Deal

“I can only speak for myself, but here, in a nutshell, are some key things that make me hesitate to cheer this new deal:

Elsevier does what’s best for Elsevier. The serials crisis—the slow-motion catastrophe that has seen a few journal oligopolies commandeer library budgets, crowding out other investments—is not an accident or a natural disaster. It is the result of a deliberate business strategy, implemented by commercial firms whose sole duty is not to science but to their shareholders. By far the largest and most-boycotted (to little effect) of these firms is Elsevier. That Elsevier loves this deal is enough to make me worry. That concern only deepens when we see sharp independent observers like Roger Schonfeld argue persuasively that these deals will ensure Elsevier’s continuing dominance of scholarly publishing in the open access future.

It transforms access, but caters to IF mania. Open access activism has long been focused on how commercial academic publishers use copyright to lock up and monetize research. Open access aims to remove copyright as a barrier to access to knowledge, and on those terms, the UC-Elsevier deal is a success. But copyright is only half (maybe less) of the dysfunction in academic publishing. The deeper, more insidious problem is the journal prestige economy (aka impact factor mania)—the academy’s reliance on journal reputation and metrics like journal impact factor in evaluating the quality of scholarship and of scholars. A publisher who controls a high-prestige title has a captive workforce of authors who must struggle to publish in their outlet in order to advance professionally. Transforming the copyright aspect of this system without also upsetting the prestige economy (e.g., by reforming promotion and tenure) only shifts the unsustainable cost of IF mania from readers to authors (and author-supporting institutions, like the UC).

Far from unsettling the prestige economy, the UC deal seems to cater to it, offering authors reassurance that publishing fees will not be a barrier to their participation in this system. When libraries urge faculty to embrace open access, a common rejoinder is “Then the library should pay my APCs.” When I hear that suggestion, the ensuing conversation is typically about why that’s an unsustainable model, and why more radical change is needed to address the many harms of the old system. The UC’s response, at least in this deal, is, “Sure, here you go!” That may put the rest of us in a difficult position.

It undermines the only potential upside of charging authors to publish. Shifting costs to authors is generally a disaster for them, especially authors in less-wealthy countries and those without access to grant funds to offset publication costs. But advocates for this cost-shift have long argued that this pain is good because it will give authors a reason to publish in more efficient (read: cheaper) journals. Once they have “skin in the game,” the invisible hand will lead authors to choose cheaper journals, forcing publishing charges down as journals compete on price to attract authors. But that hasn’t happened so far, and there’s little reason to believe it will. In any event, deals like the UC-Elsevier deal undermine this potential upside of charging authors by subsidizing and, if necessary, completely covering the cost on their behalf. Insulating academics from the exploding costs of their choices is exactly the 

Article processing charge may be a barrier to publishing

Abstract:  Recently most of the journals charge a fee known as article processing charge (APC) for publication of an article. These charges can vary from journal to journal. This publication fee is often paid by the author, the author’s institution, or their research funder organization. Though low- and middle-income countries are usually exempted from APC, India does not come under the category of waiver by most of the journals that ask for the APC. Most of the Indian institutes do not pay for publication and research thus individual researcher suffers huge financial burden due to APC. Hence, less affluent institutions, scholars, and students are unable to publish their work due to these barriers. These articles highlight the challenges faced by authors and solutions for publishers and journals to avoid APCs.

Economic assessment of the impact of the new Open Access policy developed by UK Research and Innovation

“2. Key findings

2.1 The UK’s academic publishing sector is world-leading and generates nearly 60% more value for the UK economy than it earns in profits. The UKRI Policy will affect the ability of all types of academic publishers – commercial organisations, learned societies and university presses alike – to contribute to the UK’s research ecosystem.

2.2 If the proposed UKRI Policy is pursued, the estimated loss to UK-based journals would be in the order of GBP 292 million per year or approximately GBP 2.0 billion in the period from 2022 to 2027. For some, monograph publishing will become unsustainable. This would prevent publishers from making the necessary investment to maintain the quality and impact of UK research, and perhaps even lead to some smaller publishers going out of business. The associated loss of economic output would be in the order of GBP 3.2 billion.

2.3 A significant proportion of the loss to UK-based journals would represent the loss of export revenue, with foreign entities standing to gain the most financially from the UK transition. Indeed, there would be a substantial ‘first-mover’ disadvantage for the UK, as a research-intensive nation, to transition at a faster rate than the rest of the world.

2.4 The UKRI Policy could also mean an increase in expenditure for research intensive universities in the UK in the order of GBP 130-140 million per annum, if a significant number of journals were to transition to ‘Fully OA’ in response to the UKRI Policy. In this scenario, the ‘Top 20’ most research-intensive universities in the UK would need to cover approximately half of the anticipated increase in publication costs.

2.5 Moreover, UK libraries would still need to subscribe to content that is not currently available on an OA-basis. The cost saving associated with certain journals or monographs transitioning to ‘Fully OA’ would be modest, in the order of a few million pounds per year.

2.6 Importantly, the UKRI Policy would inhibit scholars’ ability to conduct research in their respective disciplines in an effective and accurate way, with an associated cost to research productivity. Indeed, the Policy could dilute the benefits that could be expected from OA to the published outputs of academic research. Ultimately, UK research would risk becoming less impactful and less wellregarded, with a knock-on effect on the UK’s standing as a global research hub….”

Open Response to “Economic impact of UKRI open access policy” report – The Official PLOS Blog

“While we are not setting out to provide an extensive review and analysis of this report, we do want to generally refute the assertion that OA via the UKRI policy is economically damaging, and we’ll provide some references that support this position….

PLOS believes that publishers globally should be leading the efforts to devise and develop the next generation of business models that are able to support their operations in an Open Access context. This will, of course, require deep, and sometimes difficult, work by transitioning publishers. But we strongly believe this work is not outside the acceptable effort level of conscientious members of the scholarly publishing industry that have been aware of Open Access, and its benefits, for at least the last 20 years….

to successfully set up the most efficient,  frictionless Open Access ecosystem, we should leverage the existing budgets and infrastructures of scholarly publishing but with OA as the outcome. This way, Open Access is not viewed as a destructive force, or something external and different that traditional publishers are not part of, but simply as the new way to publish and communicate research that all publishers can facilitate..”