Universities Step Up the Fight for Open-Access Research | WIRED

“FIVE YEARS AGO, when Jeffrey MacKie-Mason first joined the University of California team that negotiates with academic publishers, he asked a colleague what would happen if he failed to strike a deal. What if, instead, he simply canceled their subscription? “I was told I would be fired the next day,” the UC Berkeley librarian says. Last year, he tested out the theory. The university system had been trying to negotiate a deal to make all of its research open-access—outside of a paywall—with Elsevier, the world’s largest academic publisher. But they were too far apart on what that would cost. So MacKie-Mason’s team walked away.

To his surprise, the army of UC researchers who depended on that subscription were willing to go along with it. They’d lose the ability to read new articles in thousands of Elsevier journals, sure, but there were ways to get by without a subscription. They could email researchers directly for copies. The university would pay for individual articles. And yes, unofficially, some would just probably download from Sci-Hub, the illicit repository where virtually every scientific article can be found. To MacKie-Mason, it was clarifying: The conventional wisdom that had weakened his negotiating hand was thoroughly dispelled.

Since then, progress towards open access has crept along. More deals of the kind UC wants have been struck, especially in Europe. But in the United States, progress has been especially halting. Then, last week, MIT officials announced that they too had stepped away from the table with Elsevier, saying they couldn’t agree to a deal. And now, University of California officials have announced their intention to make a deal with Springer Nature, the world’s second-largest publisher, to begin publishing the university system’s research as open-access by default. The deal starts in 2021 for a large number of the company’s journals—and puts UC on the path, at least, to do so for all its journals within two years, including its most prestigious ones, like Nature….”

UC reaches groundbreaking open access deal with leading global publisher | University of California

“The University of California today (June 16) announced a transformative open access publishing agreement that will make more of the University’s research freely and immediately available to individuals and researchers across the globe. The deal furthers the global push for open access to scientific research by bringing together UC, which accounts for nearly 10 percent of all U.S. publishing output, and Springer Nature, the world’s second-largest academic publisher.

The agreement, which is the largest open access agreement in North America to date, and the first for Springer Nature in the U.S., signals increasing global momentum and support for the open access movement. As leaders in accelerating the pace of scientific discovery, UC and Springer Nature aim to get research into the hands of scholars and the public to help solve the world’s most pressing problems, including those in the critically important fields of medicine and health care….”

EarthArXiv announces new partnership with California Digital Library to host earth sciences preprint service – Office of Scholarly Communication

“The Advisory Council of the EarthArXiv preprint service for earth sciences is pleased to announce a partnership with the California Digital Library (CDL) that will support EarthArXiv’s mission, future growth, and long-term sustainability. Core to this partnership will be the transition of EarthArXiv’s preprints server – including public display and submission management – from the Center for Open Science to the eScholarship Publishing program at the CDL.

CDL will host EarthArXiv using Janeway, an open source publishing platform developed by the Centre for Technology and Publishing and the Open Library of Humanities at Birkbeck University of London. EarthArXiv’s Advisory Council will maintain ownership and control over the preprint server, while the eScholarship Publishing team will contribute to the development, support, and maintenance of the Janeway platform.

Since its founding, EarthArXiv has partnered with the Center for Open Science to host its content online. Recently, however, financial considerations made it necessary for the Advisory Council to explore alternative hosting partners. “After several organizations stepped up to offer new partnerships (for which EarthArXiv will always be grateful), the Advisory Council voted unanimously to partner with the team at the California Digital Library,” said Bruce Caron, one of the founders of EarthArXiv….”

UC Berkeley Library makes it easier to digitize collections responsibly with novel workflows and bold policy | UC Berkeley Library News

“If you’ve spent any time stoking your curiosity with the UC Berkeley Library’s new online Digital Collections website, you’ve likely discovered all types of treasures digitized from the Library’s collections. The Library has already scanned and made available a virtual mountain of materials, from a photo of folk icon Joan Baez singing in front of Sproul Hall in 1964, to (almost) the entire run of the Daily Californian student newspaper.

The effort is part of the Library’s moonshot goal of wanting to make its estimated 200 million items from its special collections (rare books, manuscripts, photographs, archives, and ephemera) available online for the world to discover and use. But there’s a catch: Before institutions can reproduce materials and publish them online for worldwide access, they have to sort out complicated legal and ethical questions — ones that often stop libraries and other cultural heritage organizations from being able to move forward in setting these treasures free.

The good news? It just got easier to navigate these challenges, thanks to newly released responsible access workflows developed by the Library, which stand to benefit not only UC Berkeley’s digitization efforts, but also those of cultural heritage institutions such as museums, archives, and libraries throughout the nation….”

University Library: Research Librarian (STEM) (Open until filled. Apply by 6/1/2020) (JPF00819) – UCSC Academic Recruit

“The University Library at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) invites applications for the position of Research Librarian (STEM). Under the direction of the Head of Research Support Services, the Research Librarian (STEM) will support the Library’s strategic priorities related to access and discovery, research and scholarship, and student success in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math.

The Library has established support of STEM research through initiatives and partnerships housed in the Science & Engineering Library including the Video Game Lab, the Digital Scholarship Innovation Studio, and the STEM Hub. For this position, we seek a user-focused, forward-thinking, and entrepreneurial individual with strong communication and learning skills to lead the Library in defining its role and further developing capacity in support of STEM research, teaching, and learning. We welcome candidates who are seeking to launch a career in science librarianship and/or to further their professional expertise in the area of open science….”

4.5 Million UC Volumes Digitized & UC’s Most Popular Full View Books in HathiTrust for 2019 – California Digital Library

“The University of California Libraries recently contributed the 4,500,000th digitized book from their collections to HathiTrust Digital Library–a tremendous achievement resulting from 15 years of continuous digitization work. 

The vast majority of these millions of volumes were generated via the Google Books Library Project, which UC joined in 2006. That year the mass digitization of UC’s library collections began in earnest when the Northern Research Library Facility (NRLF) started sending books to the Google Books Library Project for scanning. UC’s work with the Google Books Library Project has never paused–by the time UC’s 3,000,000th volume was digitized in 2010, UC San Diego, UC Santa Cruz, and UCLA had all begun sending collections to Google for digitization. Since then, UC San Francisco, the Southern Research Library Facility (SRLF), UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC Riverside, UC Irvine, and UC Santa Barbara have all participated, with UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC Riverside, UCLA, and NRLF continuing to do so….”

“Sharing stories to drive open scholarship” by Rachel Samberg and Anneliese Taylor

“We believe these formats were essential for collaboration, and that using a storytelling framework was an effective way to demonstrate empathy and build trust across institutions, thus driving change. Indeed, following OATIP, nearly all participants signed a public affirmation to “advocate broadly, and work with our stakeholders both locally and in existing consortia, to advance these common goals.”22 We are excited to follow where these journeys will lead.”

Plos strikes California deal as big publishers drop paywalls | Times Higher Education (THE)

“The Public Library of Science has struck a deal with the University of California system designed to sustain the open-access publisher’s subscription-free journals and cover the cost of article processing charges.

The two-year agreement, which will use a combination of California library payments and researcher grant support to cover article processing charges for California research published by Plos journals, is designed to protect Plos periodicals at a time when they face a potential threat from the transition of traditional subscription-based publishers to “read-and-publish” deals in which universities pay publication fees up front in return for the removal of paywalls….

Sara Rouhi, director of strategic partnerships at Plos, said that author-paid fees were only meant to be an interim solution to help academic publishing move away from subscription barriers.

“What UC is doing, by choosing to put Plos as one of their first deals, is really meant to be a signal to the broader library community that these are the publishers that pioneered this model and have been on the right side of history from day one, and we can’t leave them on the sidelines,” she said….

Yet the change also raised the obvious possibility of pressure building over time for funding agencies to stop including money for author fees in grants, Dr MacKie-Mason acknowledged.

For that problem, he said, the solution must eventually require consultations among a broad cross-section of journals, funding agencies and universities to gain agreement on a common long-term set of cost-sharing norms….”

Open and Shut?: PLOS CEO Alison Mudditt discusses new OA agreement with the University of California

“The Public Library of Science (PLOS) and the University of California (UC) have today announced a two-year agreement designed to make it easier and more affordable for UC researchers to publish in the non-profit open-access publisher’s suite of seven journals.

Under the agreement – which is planned to go into effect this Spring – UC Libraries will automatically pay the first $1,000 of the article processing charge (APC) incurred when UC authors choose to publish in a PLOS journal.


Authors who do not have research funds available can request UC Libraries pay the full APC fee. The aim is to ensure that lack of research funds does not present a barrier for UC authors wishing to publish with PLOS.


The pilot is intended to test whether an institutional participation model that leverages multiple funding sources, rather than only grant funds, can provide a sustainable and inclusive path to full open access.


Below PLOS CEO Alison Mudditt discusses the new agreement and addresses some of the issues that the current trend for universities and consortia to sign so-called transformative agreements with legacy publishers raises for native open-access publishers like PLOS….”