Abstract: This article reviews the conclusions of the author’s 2016 book, Reimagining the academic library and considers changes in scholarly communication and academic libraries that have taken place since its publication. Recommendations for alterations in the practice of individual libraries are provided. The problem of created integrated community-controlled open infrastructure is considered at length, especially the collective action problem that the library community must overcome.
“The announcement of Plan S in September 2018 has triggered a wide-ranging debate over how best to accelerate the shift to open access. The Plan’s ten principles represent a call for the creation of an intellectual commons, to be brought into being through collective action by funders and managed through regulated market mechanisms. As it gathers both momentum and critics, the coalition must grapple with questions of equity, efficiency and sustainability. The work of Elinor Ostrom has shown that successful management of the commons frequently relies on polycentricity and adaptive governance. The Plan S principles must therefore function as an overarching framework within which local actors retain some autonomy, and should remain open to amendment as the scholarly communication landscape evolves….”
“Despite the ease of sharing in the digital age, a collective action problem plagues the sciences, preventing journal articles from being in the hands of taxpayers who have in large part financed the research. Under the competitive pressure of publish or perish, researchers are unwilling to forego the prestige that publishing in established journals can bring to their careers.
Thousands of scientists have recognize that this is wrong, and have refused to participate in closed access journals. Unfortunately, many authors may be unwilling to make this sacrifice, as nothing prevents another researcher from sidestepping questions of right and wrong, and publishing in those same journals. Given this situation, they prefer to get the prestige before another does so….
We are asking 200 scientists to commit to one or more of the following: planning, outreach, or funding of the crowdacting campaigns for OA in specific disciplines. 200 scientists should be a large enough number to ensure the establishment of several working groups.
Of the 200 scientists, one or more working groups will form. For example: a group of sociologists works together to create a campaign for their discipline. 5 are willing to do planning and research, another 7 are willing to do outreach and activism, and 10 are willing to contribute financially to cover costs. Researchers investigate the best number of sociologists to ask to participate. They find roughly 1800 sociologists publishing in the field, and it is decided that if 1100 sociologists agree to only publish OA, then the field will ‘tip’. The fundraisers contributed to a video and campaign materials. The Activists get 1100 signatures. A year later the agreement goes into effect. A majority of sociologists agree to only publish OA….”
“If a large proportion of academics were to simultaneously boycott these journals, they would quickly lose their value and the incentive to publish there would be reduced. The academic community could then transition the flow of knowledge from commercially-owned journals to fair open-access systems that are more in line with the ideals of the community….
We plan to grow a community of academics who pledge to exclusively support community-owned free open access publication systems. Crucially, pledges made by members will only become active when a pre-specified threshold of support has been reached in the academic community, with names anonymised until this time, allowing individuals to show support without risking their livelihoods….
Our Kickstarter-like system of pledges will be launched in 2019….”
“The Canadian Association of Research Libraries proposes that institutions renegotiate unsustainable deals with journal publishers and transition toward open access.
For years, academic libraries have struggled to keep up with the rising costs of journal subscriptions set by a few large, international publishers. The situation “is now getting to a point of crisis,” according to the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, which recently published a briefing paper, with input from the Canadian Research Knowledge Network, to inform university administrators of the challenges and to propose solutions.
The paper notes that scholarly journal prices have risen by five to seven percent per year since 2011. This is part of a larger trend of “excessive price increases” that has been happening over the past three decades, exacerbated by the weakening of the Canadian dollar and tightening university budgets, according to CARL.
Donna Bourne-Tyson, president of CARL and university librarian at Dalhousie University, says information sharing among universities and consortia is crucial to renegotiating deals with journal publishers. “We have a pretty good sense of how each country is faring with large publishers, although we are still working against the constraints of a non-disclosure agreement in some cases,” she said. “Part of the problem is, if we aren’t able to compare apples to apples, we don’t even know what a fair price is.”…”