Questions raised over the true burden of the ‘big deal’

“Louisiana State University recently said that it could no longer afford its $2 million annualcomprehensive journal subscription deal with publisher Elsevier. By unbundling its “big deal” and subscribing to only the most essential journals, the institution’s administrators hope to save the library $1 million a year. LSU is far from the first institution to complain that publishers’ subscription costs are too high. The University of California system, Temple UniversityWest Virginia University, the University of Oklahoma and Florida State University all announced this year that they are dropping big deal contracts with various publishers, including Elsevier, Wiley and Springer Nature.

But one skeptic is challenging the conventional wisdom about high subscription rates and raising doubts about big deals not being good deals.

Kent Anderson, CEO of publishing and data analytics company RedLink, has argued that the subscription model is actually “pretty efficient” for institutions….”

The rise in open-access publishing has decreased the value of subscription deals as more content is available for free, said Roger Schonfeld, director of the libraries, scholarly communication and museums program at Ithaka S+R.

Schonfeld says the main reason the value of the big deal is in decline is because of something he calls “leakage,” the availability of journal content through channels not controlled by publishers.

Piracy site Sci-Hub is one service through which content is “leaking,” he said. But there are other sources of content leaks that are not illicit. Institutional repositories, for example, are an accepted part of the scholarly publishing ecosystem.

“The big deal as a bundled subscription model is definitely under threat,” said Schonfeld. “Most of all from the fact that the libraries are less interested in just subscriptions — they want read-and-publish or publish-and-read agreements that capture the full stack of publishing services.” …”

Rationale for the Revisions Made to the Plan S Principles and Implementation Guidance | Plan S

“The revised Plan S maintains the fundamental principles

  • No scholarly publication should be locked behind a paywall;
  • Open Access should be immediate i.e., without embargoes;
  • Full Open Access is implemented by the default use of a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY licence as per the Berlin Declaration;
  • Funders commit to support Open Access publication fees at a reasonable level;
  • Funders will not support publication in hybrid (or mirror/sister) journals unless they are part of a transformative arrangement with a clearly defined endpoint.

But a number of important changes are proposed in the implementation guidance

  • In order to provide more time for researchers and publishers to adapt to the changes under Plan S, the timeline has been extended by one year to 2021;
  • Transformative agreements will be supported until 2024;
  • More options for transitional arrangements (transformative agreements, transformative model agreements, ‘transformative journals’) are supported;
  • Greater clarity is provided about the various compliance routes: Plan S is NOT just about a publication fee model of Open Access publishing. cOAlition S supports a diversity of sustainability models for Open Access journals and platforms;
  • More emphasis is put on changing the research reward and incentive system: cOAlition S funders explicitly commit to adapt the criteria by which they value researchers and scholarly output;
  • The importance of transparency in Open Access publication fees is emphasised in order to inform the market and funders’ potential standardisation and capping of payments of such fees;
  • The technical requirements for Open Access repositories have been revised….”

Ambitious open-access Plan S delayed to let research community adapt

“A major push by some science agencies to make the research they fund open-access on publication — Plan S — has been delayed by a year. Funders now don’t have to start implementing the initiative until 2021, the agencies announced today, to give researchers and publishers more time to adapt to the changes the bold plan requires….”

Job Description – OPEN EDUCATION COORDINATOR (191054)

OU Libraries seeks an innovative, collaborative, and highly motivated individual to serve as the Open Education Coordinator. Successful candidates will have a strong understanding of open educational resources (OER), open licensing, open pedagogy, and the landscape in which these open-enabled domains reside. This position develops strategies for increasing the use of OER and alternative textbook and course material solutions at the University of Oklahoma by leading, planning, implementing, and assessing OU’s Open Education programs and services in support of OU’s goal to reduce the cost of attendance for its students. Reporting to the Head of Open Initiatives and Scholarly Communication within the University Libraries, the Open Education Coordinator manages the Alternative Textbook Grant and otherwise works to increase students’ access to educational resources via creative and inclusive strategies….”

Depositing and reporting of reagents: Accelerating open and reproducible science. | The Official PLOS Blog

Centralized depositing of materials advances science in so many ways. It saves authors the time and burden of shipping requested materials. Researchers who request from repositories save time by not having to recreate reagents or wait months or years to receive samples. Many scientists have been on the receiving end of a request that was filled by an incorrect or degraded sample, which further delays research. Repositories like the ones recommended by PLOS handle the logistics of material requests, letting the scientists focus on what’s important: doing research….

By encouraging authors to deposit materials at the time of publication, journals will help accelerate research through timely distribution and accurate identification of reagents. Biological repositories exist to serve the scientific community. Take Addgene’s involvement in the explosive advancement of CRISPR research. Since 2012, over 8,400 CRISPR plasmids have been deposited and Addgene has distributed over 144,000 CRISPR plasmids worldwide, enabling researchers to share, modify, and improve this game-changing molecular tool. It is a prime example of the positive impact that biological repositories are making on research….”

OPERAS receives funding for European discovery solution TRIPLE – OPERAS

“The European Commission will finance the project TRIPLE (Targeting Researchers through Innovative Practices and multiLingual Exploration) under the Horizon 2020 framework with approx. 5,6 million Euros for a duration of 42 months. TRIPLE will be a dedicated service of the OPERAS research infrastructure and will become a strong service in the EOSC marketplace. TRIPLE will help social sciences and humanities (SSH) research in Europe to gain visibility, to be more efficient and effective, to improve its reuse within the SSH and beyond, and to dramatically increase its societal impact. Work is expected to start this fall….”

Elsevier welcomes new open access guidance from cOAlition S

Elsevier welcomes cOAlition S’s updated implementation guidance: “Accelerating the transition to full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications.” Elsevier fully supports and promotes open access. Authors can achieve full and immediate open access — and so be Plan S compliant — either by publishing their articles in our gold open access journals or publishing their articles gold open access in our hybrid journals….”

Kopernio, Lean Library, Anywhere Access & other “Access Broker” browser extensions – a roundup & update of current state of play | Musings about librarianship

It has been over a year in April 2018 since I had the opportunity to present at two panels in  conferences alongside experts such  as Lisa Hinchliffe, Johan Tilstra (Founder Lean Library), Jason Priem (Cofounder Unpaywall), Ben Kaube (Cofounder Kopernio) on the topic of browser extensions that help users gain quick access to the full text of articles while browsing the web. 

They would typically be installed as a browser extension in the user’s web browser, and would activate when they detected the user was on a page with article details and would typically popup a message with a link to where the article full text was available or offer to download the PDF directly for the user.

These browser extensions can be divided into two main categories. Early on many  of these extensions such as Unpaywall and Open Access Button focused only on discovery of free to read text only

We eventually started to see the rise of browser extensions (many of which were commerical) such as Kopernio and Lean Library, that extended the idea to finding copies available via institutional subscriptions.

Such extensions aimed to help users conveniently get one-click access to the best verson of the article available to them.  This could be very helpful if you didn’t start off your search from a library discovery service or page and was off campus. …”

Navigating 21st-Century Digital Scholarship: Open Educational Resources (OERs), Creative Commons, Copyright, and Library Vendor Licenses: The Serials Librarian: Vol 0, No 0

Abstract:  Digital scholarship issues are increasingly prevalent in today’s environment. We are faced with questions of how to protect our own works as well as others’ with responsible attribution and usage, sometimes involving a formal agreement. These may come in the form of Creative Commons Licensing, provisions of the U.S. Copyright Act, or terms of use outlined by contractual agreements with library vendors. Librarians at Eastern Carolina University and Kansas State University (K-State) are among several university libraries now providing services to assist with navigating these sometimes legalistic frameworks. East Carolina University Libraries are taking initiatives to familiarize faculty, researchers, and students with Open Educational Resources and Creative Commons Licensing. At K-State, librarians in digital scholarship and electronic resources identified the overlap of their subject matters through their correspondence regarding users’ copyright and licensing questions; a partnership formed, and they implemented a proactive and public-facing approach to better meet user needs and liability concerns at a major research university.

Journals only half the story, says new open access alliance | Times Higher Education (THE)

Open access advocates are calling for a globally coordinated approach to “scholarly infrastructure”, saying knowledge is trapped behind paywalls and Europe’s Plan S initiative solves only part of the problem.

Lobby groups around the world have teamed up to run a stocktake of existing infrastructure and to direct spending on future needs, under the guise of a new alliance called Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI).

Co-founder Ginny Barbour said IOI was a “separate but necessary” initiative to Plan S, which is focused on making journal articles openly accessible. “Journals are largely owned by a relatively small number of for-profit publishers, and the same is happening for infrastructure,” said Dr Barbour, director of the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group….”