Why Is Access to the Scholarly Journal Literature So Expensive?

“For more than 30 years the spiraling costs of scholarly journal subscriptions, often called the “serials crisis,” have been a hotly debated topic. Academics and librarians have pointed out the high profit levels of the major commercial publishers, despite that the content they sell is provided by unpaid authors and reviewers. The publishers then resell it to the universities of these same authors and reviewers. Publishers have attempted to justify their prices by cost increases, their investments in information technology, and the value they add. A useful framework for understanding the situation is Michael Porter’s five forces model for explaining the competitive conditions in an industry. Despite claims to the contrary, the degree of market concentration in scholarly publishing is not higher than that in many other industries, and it is not the main cause of the problem. But because the big deals of different publishers are complements rather than substitutes, the leading companies essentially do not compete for customers, in contrast to other industries, such as mobile phones or automobiles. The high barriers to new entrants, partly due to journal ranking lists and impact factors, as well as the low bargaining power of suppliers and customers, explain why this industry has been so well shielded from the disruptive forces of the Internet. The protected competitive position and high profitability are also major reasons why the big subscription publishers have been slow to adopt the open access business model….”

Computational Access and Use of Texts and Data behind Paywalls: Challenges and Resources – MIT Events

“The rise of applied data science, digital humanities, machine learning, and artificial intelligence has resulted in an increased need for computational access and reuse of research data and publications, many of which are only available behind paywalls and governed by restrictive terms of use. 

What can you do with proprietary sources, how do you gain access, and how can you make your own research output from such sources shareable are questions that many are asking. 

Join experts Katie Zimmerman, Laura Hanscom, and Ye Li from the MIT Libraries in this session to learn about the copyright and contractual implications of paywalled data sources and how you can use them and share your results….”

Paywalls, Newsletters, and the New Echo Chamber | WIRED

If the paywall sites are going to attract more consumers, and provide them safe harbor from the free-news vortex, then Radcliffe says they’ll need to make a better case for why it’s worth the money. That means letting people know the actual cost of producing journalism, and what’s at risk if you don’t financially support it. Otherwise, big publications will only serve a minority of the population, small publications will struggle to survive, and people who have grown accustomed to free news will continue to seek it out, even if it ends up not really being news at all.

Remote access to Taylor & Francis Online made easier with SeamlessAccess – Taylor & Francis Newsroom

“Accessing research through an institutional subscription using SAML authentication (Shibboleth and OpenAthens) is now more straightforward with the introduction of SeamlessAccess on Taylor & Francis Online.

SeamlessAccess automatically recognizes if you have previously logged into Taylor & Francis Online using Shibboleth or OpenAthens and presents your previously used institution as the first option, removing the need to manually search each and every time you want to access journal research articles.

The feature not only works on Taylor & Francis Online but follows you across all participating publisher platforms. So, if you have logged into your institution on another participating publishing platform and then switch to another also using SeamlessAccess, your institutional choice will be carried with you. This works even if you’re visiting a publisher platform for the first time….”

Paywall: The Business of Scholarship

Paywall: The Business of Scholarship is a documentary which focuses on the need for open access to research and science. The film questions the rationale behind the $25.2 billion a year that flows into for-profit academic publishers, examines the 35-40% profit margin associated with the top academic publisher, Elsevier, and looks at how that profit margin is often greater than some of the most profitable tech companies such as Apple, Facebook, and Google. 

Structural inequalities in scholarly communications

“However, there are significant drawbacks to electronic resources:

Electronic versions of scholarly materials are subject to licenses, which often put strict limitations on who can use them. Libraries can share print materials by sending them through interlibrary loan — mailing materials to those who need them — but not all e-journal content can be shared this way. E-books usually can’t be shared between libraries, meaning that they are available only to those who have a current affiliation with the University or those who can physically visit one of our spaces.
E-materials are expensive and often do not have the “friendliest” terms. Multi-user licenses are not always available or may be prohibitively expensive. In a time when University budgets are facing large cuts, it is hard to accept that a print volume may cost $100, yet the multi-user e-version might cost $900.
Electronic materials also often lack perpetual access. This may mean that the same materials have to be purchased multiple times.
Access to electronic materials also requires access to the internet — stable broadband access. This is often lacking for scholars all over the world; even in the United States, it is estimated that only three-quarters of adults have broadband internet service at home….”

Improving access and delivery of academic content – a survey of current & emerging trends | Musings about librarianship

“While allowing users to gain access to paywalled academic content aka delivery services is often seen to be less sexy than discovery it is still an important part of the researcher workflow that is worth looking at. In particular, I will argue that in the past few years we have seen a renewed interest in this part of the workflow and may potentially start to see some big changes in the way we provide access to academic content in the near future.

Note: The OA discovery and delivery front has changed a lot since 2017, with Unpaywall been a big part of the story, but for this blog post I will focus on delivery aspects of paywalled content. 1.0 Access and delivery – an age old problem

 

1.1 RA21, Seamless Access and getFTR

 

1.2 Campus Activated Subscriber Access (CASA)

1.3 Browser extensions/”Access Brokers” 1.4 Content syndication partnership between Springer Nature and ResearchGate (new) 1.5 Is the sun slowing setting on library link resolvers? 1.6 The Sci-hub effect?

1.7 Privacy implications …”

About the ICOLC Expanded Access Spreadsheet | Google Docs

This Complimentary Expanded Access Specifics (EAS) spreadsheet is designed and maintained on behalf of the ICOLC community by SCELC Library Consortium Licensing Services team staff members: Jason Price, Erik Limpitlaw, and Carly Ryan. 

 

Its purpose is to make information service provider announcements and offers of COVID19-related expanded access to resources more accessible to libraries and their users all over the world.

 

 

On March 13, ICOLC issued a Statement on the Global COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Impact on Library Services and Resources that urged publishers to consider a range of responses. The open letter links to an Information Service Provider Response (ISPR) Registry that is populated by members of the ICOLC community as they learn of these responses.

 

 

Providers, Consortia, or Libraries can recommend complimentary resources for addition to the lists using the ICOLC Complimentary Expanded Access Submission Form. Entries that are added to the EAS sheet are also added to the ISPR registry.

 

CORE helps Lean Library to provide its users with freely accessible copies of research papers – Jisc scholarly communications

“Lean Library – a browser extension that brings library services directly into a patron’s browser – enriches its services with CORE’s help and brings to its users even more open access articles….

The Lean Library browser extension delivers library services into library users’ workflows, wherever they are….[It directs] users to open access materials whenever they hit a paywall. By utilising the CORE Discovery API, Lean Library is able to extend its pool of open access materials, helping libraries meet the needs of their users….”

The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free ? Current Affairs

“But let us also notice something: the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the New Republic, New York, Harper’s, the New York Review of Books, the Financial Times, and the London Times all have paywalls. Breitbart, Fox News, the Daily Wire, the Federalist, the Washington Examiner, InfoWars: free! …”