In an age where every other aspect of academia in the UK is being strangled, how is it that publisher profits have continue to rise? Paul Kirby points to the partial embrace of publishing business models that encourage article processing charges mixed with soft policies that reinforce traditional library subscription models. This is not the picture of an industry under […]
Stuart Lawson and Ben Meghreblian have been compiling a useful dataset via Freedom of Information requests on how much academic publishers are charging higher education institutions for journal subscriptions. Their goal is to highlight the scale of the academic publishing market in the UK and for this to inform policy discussions. Some of the barriers they came across in obtaining data […]
Secrets of journal subscription prices: For-profit publishers charge libraries two to three times more than non-profits.
Ted Bergstrom writes of his involvement requesting copies of library contracts with several major publishers in order to compare journal pricing data for bundled journal access. The significant differences that exist across universities for the same content and between publishers raises some major questions on the effectiveness of such pricing models. He finds that the differences in bundle prices depend largely […]
Impact Round-Up 26th April: The cost of journal subscriptions, writing for impact, and the Journal Openness Index.
Managing Editor Sierra Williams presents a round-up of popular stories from around the web on higher education, academic impact, and trends in scholarly communication.
Open access advocate and Cambridge mathematician Tim Gowers has been pulling together information on Elsevier journal subscription costs in an effort to provide a bigger picture of what the current scholarly communication system is costing university libraries (previously […]
Wellcome Trust’s Open Access spend 2012-13: Are fees charged by major publishers creating a new serials crisis?
Publishers have reacted to open access mandates by offering hybrid “Open” options through Article Processing Charges. Ernesto Priego digs into the data released by the Wellcome Trust on the highest and lowest article processing charge expenditures in 2012-2013 and finds these figures reveal a mere inversion of the business model. Enabling Open Access costs money. But does it cost as much as […]
Managing Editor Sierra Williams presents a round-up of popular stories from around the web on higher education, academic impact, and trends in scholarly communication. This week students from around the country have gathered to protest against a growing police presence on university campuses. Following a series of protests last week, the University of London took out a six-month injunction against “occupational protest” by students […]
The Higher Education Funding Council for England is currently consulting on new open access proposals. In this post Lee Jones recommends steps HEFCE should take to ensure publishers comply with open access principles and a ‘soft boycott’ of those that refuse. Following the launch of HEFCE’s consultation on Open Access for any post-2014 REF, and the generally positive reaction to it here, I examined […]
On Rejecting Journals: A soft boycott of closed-access journals may be a more effective way to re-align resources.
The tensions between access, popularity and prestige all stand to make collective action toward open access complicated. While favouring systematic transformation of the unfair scholarly economy, Paul Kirby notes there are good reasons to doubt the efficacy of a large-scale boycott of closed journals. Rather, a more subtle strategy might be more effective at changing the system without any penalty to […]
Whatever happened to the Academic Spring? Publishing academic work behind paywalls is more than an inconvenience.
More than a year and a half has passed since the high-profile boycott of Elsevier journals first began. But Oxfam’s Duncan Green finds that despite the Academic Spring, paywalls continue to limit the impact of research that would be of great use to development organisations. Funders, editorial boards, and authors themselves must all continue to build paths to encourage widespread, […]
Curt Rice examines the tension between academic freedom and open access policies. Coercive requirements to publish in open access journals could restrict academic freedom and this must be monitored. But he finds that overall, open access policies strengthen academic freedom in many more ways, particularly through copyright, interference, citations, and archiving issues. Are politicians stealing our academic freedom? Is their […]
Academics and universities must continue to develop open access alternatives to break the monopoly of large publishers
Academic publishing and open access alternatives to the subscription-based system were discussed last week in front of the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Parliamentary Select Committee. Ann McKechin MP shares her thoughts on the discussion. At best, large publishers like Elsevier are not being transparent with their customers. At worst, their behaviour could be construed as anti-competitive, with all the serious repercussions that […]
With the sale of startup Mendeley to publishing giant Elsevier, Cameron Neylon reflects on the differences in models and cultures of innovation in scholarly communication. For-profit startups, mission-driven non-profits, and independent academic projects all bring value to the sector individually, but there is a need for a deeper understanding of how these different models can be combined and applied to […]
Last week, TechCrunch reported that Elsevier, the multi-billion dollar publishing company, is in advanced talks to buy Mendeley, the free reference manager and academic social network site. Given Elsevier’s less-than-trusted standing in the research community, questions are being asked of what this might mean for research communication, measurement, and commodification. Roderic Page weighs in on his thoughts of what the future may hold. […]
The crisis in academic publishing raises fundamental questions about the nature of scholarly enquiry and highlights a lack of connection between the prized forms of scholarship and contemporary readers. Lucy Montgomery explains why partnering with an academic publisher could produce a revolutionary approach to making scholarly work available for free. Earlier this week, David Willetts announced the government’s intention to make […]
University e-presses might be small and underfunded, but Agata Mrva-Montoya argues that with innovative technology and an understanding of the scholarly ecosystem, they ensure that important, publically-funded research is distributed among the population who fund it. As elsewhere in the world Australian academics are not free from the pressure to ‘publish or perish’ and they rely on scholarly publishing to […]
Elsevier may have hushed the blogosphere when it dropped its support for the Research Works Act but Stephen Curry doesn’t see the issue of open access fading into the background. He explains why he hesitated to write for an Elsevier journal and warns researchers of the need to be wary of fragmentation of literature into institutional repositories. This post was […]
Visibility is currency in academia but it is scarcity in publishing. The push for open access shows that academic publishers can’t serve two masters
It’s a common view amongst academics that publicly funded research has to be made publicly available. It isn’t necessary to condemn publishers but it is necessary to get them out of the way. The oddities of the market that allowed barrier-based publishers to cruise into this century are breaking down, writes Mike Taylor. “No man can serve two masters: for […]
Five Minutes with Tim Gowers and Tyler Neylon: “The boycott has made Elsevier more concerned about its public image”.
Earlier this year Tim Gowers sparked debate about the future of academic publishing when he declared his intentions to boycott Elsevier. With Tyler Neylon’s work on the Cost of Knowledge website, the pair discuss how they made a splash in the comfy world of academic publishing. What motivated you to call for the boycott? And, Tyler, what was your reaction […]
The real cost of overpaying for journals is that we put highly skilled research scientists in an office looking at science rather than doing it
In a world with limited resources, do we spend them on an Aston Martin, a blinged up banger, or should we use what we have to simply fill up the tank? Cameron Neylon asks if instead of overpaying for journals, we could funnel those limited funds into bench research. It is clear to anyone who followed the debate between publishers […]
Academics must be applauded for making a stand by boycotting Elsevier. It’s time for librarians to join the conversation on the future of dissemination, but not join the boycott.
Blog posts and campaign statements published by an anonymous scientist and blogger @FakeElsevier have struck a chord with Dave Puplett. Here he explains why the blogger’s call to arms appeals to his inner ideological librarian. The growing disquiet over Elsevier’s publishing practices, recently documented on this blog by Cameron Neylon, Neil Stewart and others has been significant because it is scientists […]