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Scholarly Communication Crisis

UConn Libraries Spring Forum:

"Mandatory Open Access: Friend or Foe?"
Coming to terms with NIH and FRPAA legislation

Wednesday, March 26, 2008
3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Refreshments start at 2:30 p.m.
Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

Background   Impact   Action
What is the Scholarly Communication Crisis? What the Crisis Means to UConn What Faculty Can Do To Help
Reading List Journal Price Inflation at UConn Policies and Proposals
Other Sites Other Journal Price Studies Open Access and Other Alternative Publishing Projects
  Faculty Resolution on Scholarly Communication, Approved Feb. 9, 2004  
Legislative Updates Book Price Studies What Librarians Can Do

What is the Scholarly Communications Crisis?

What is the scholarly communication crisis? It is the loss of access to the scholarly research literature, as the rising cost of journal subscriptions far out-strip institutional library budgets. Each year libraries can afford to subscribe to fewer and fewer journals. Over the last 15 years, the price of research journals has risen over 200% (compare with the Consumer Price Index, up 57% over this same period). Consequently, academic libraries are subscribing to fewer and fewer titles - and slashing book buying as well (see ARL's The Impact of Serial Costs on Library Collections). The inflation is due to a number of factors; most prominently, commercial publishers controlling an increasing percentage of titles, at the expense of scholarly societies and university presses. Profit margins for commercial publishers typically are at least 20% - with the profits coming from university libraries. Mergers and acquisitions exacerbate the trend, to the point where five publishers now produce over 50% of the science journals received at the University of Connecticut.

In short, the current system of scholarly publishing is unsustainable. Unable to keep up with the annual price increases, libraries have no choice but to cancel some subscriptions and reduce book purchases as well. That's the bad news. The good news is that efforts are underway to reverse the trend, and there are ways that UConn faculty and librarians can help. Follow the links below to get background information, see what faculty and researchers can do to help, discover what librarians are doing and can do, and explore alternative publishing initiatives that continue to gain impetus. You can make a difference in this all-important struggle!

Origins of the Crisis in Scholarly Communication
Correct and concise outline, from Iowa State University
To Publish and Perish
Joint statement from a national meeting of presidents, chief academic officers, and librarians of major research universities in the U.S.
Open Access Forum in the journal Nature March/ April, 2004

Much more background information is available on the Reading List page.

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The Impacts at the University of Connecticut

Journal Price Inflation at UConn
Data for all UConn journals, including prices from 2000-2004 and inflation over those years.
Science Journals at Homer Babbidge Library by title or by highest inflation from 2000 - 2003 (may take a minute or two to load - we're working on this; your browser may say "Document done" but you still do not see the table; be patient, it will appear).

The Library Responds:
Open Access Journals: A Sea Change in Scholarly Publication UConn Libraries Newsletter, November/December 2003
The Scholarly Communication Crisis and UConn’s BioMedCentral Institutional Membership UConn Health Center Library Newsletter, Fall 2003
Scholarly Communication Events Organized and held at UConn
"Calling All Faculty" an update on scholarly communications from the Library Director, UConn Libraries Newsletter, November, 2002
Access Vs. Ownership document
Q & A: The Access Model (Library Director's letter to Physics Dept.)
"Library to accommodate changes in scholarly communication" Advance, April 6, 1998
"Kobulnicky at forefront of move to reduce costs of academic journals" Advance, July 27, 1998

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Other Journal Price Studies

The Impact of Serial Costs on Library Collections
From ARL; if you like to see things graphically, this is the best available
Scholarly Journal Prices: Selected Trends and Comparisons
From the Library and Information Statistics Unit, Loughborough University. Data from 2000-2004.
Ted Bergstrom's Journal Pricing Page
Fulltext of numerous articles and data from the former Justice Department official and current economics professor at UC Santa Barbara including his:
Journal pricing by discipline and ownership
Journal Value Project
From the University of Wisconsin; provides cost, page numbers, cost per page, per article and per character for journals in the sciences and social sciences, held by UW libraries. See also:
Measuring the Cost Effectiveness of Journals: The Wisconsin Experience
ARL article on the controversial 1986 Barschall study sampling physics journals at the University of Wisconsin
MIT 1995/96 Serials Review and Cancellation Project
Biomedical Journal Costs and Trends
Indiana University Medical Library, 2000
Yale University Science Libraries Journals Cost Update Information 2000

Book Price Studies

The Price of University Press Books, 1989-2000
from the Association of American University Presses, 2003

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What Can Faculty Do?

Faculty can influence the current climate in both the short-term and the long-term. In the short-term, faculty can learn what the highest priced journals are, and find alternative places to publish, review, and/or serve as editor. Local information on the prices and inflation of the science journals here at UConn libraries is also available. Contact editors and publishers and tell them why research will not be submitted to their publications. Seek out alternative places to publish research - journals and repositories where research is more affordable or entirely free. Regardless of the journal you publish in, you can adopt manuscript contract language which allows you to retain some copyright privileges and so make your research available to those who cannot afford the journals (an ever-increasing number of institutions and researchers). Long-term, you can work within your institutions to establish institutional archives/repositories of your research, such as eScholarship at the University of California or the DSpace project at MIT. You can establish new journals with the help of SPARC, to compete with the high priced titles in your field, and work with your professional societies to do the same. Within your institutions, faculty can work to change the tenure system to reduce the emphasis on publishing in exorbitant, unsustainable, commercial journals. A more complete list of actions which faculty can take is available here.

Highest priced journals list
Searchable resource from SPARC for identifying titles to avoid publishing in - and to get contact information for editors of those titles
Science Journal Prices and Inflation at the University of Connecticut - by journal name and by inflation rate.
Actions Faculty Can Take
An extensive listing of specific steps faculty can take to protect and regain control of research.
Boston Library Consortium's "Agreement to Extend Authorís Rights"
"Gives authors and their employing institutions non-exclusive rights to use, distribute, and reproduce material in electronic digital or print form in activities connected with the authorís academic and professional activities. The amendment also supports placement of material in institutional repositories."
Recommended language for manuscript contracts
Keep control of your research - from the University of Kansas
Creative Commons
Easily create your own copyright license and then download it to attach to your personal or institutional web site.
SPARC's Create Change webpage
An ARL resource for faculty and librarian action to reclaim scholarly communication. See Especially Change and You
Declaring Independence: A Guide to Creating Community-Controlled Science Journals
A guide to creating and maintaining alternative journals, from the organization (SPARC) that already has. The primary intended audience is journal editors.
Guides to Business Planning for Launching a New Open Access Journal and for Converting a Subscription-based Journal to Open Access
from the Open Society Institute and SPARC
Journal Declarations of Independence
With background information on why the editors of these journals left their commercial publishers to form new journals

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What Can Librarians Do?

Although ultimately the answer will depend largely on faculty and researchers, librarians have already made an impact in several ways, and continue to do so. We are still at the point where educating faculty and researchers is the most fundamental and important task before us. Supporting current alternative publishing projects will help establish long-term viable competition to the worst offenders in the crisis. Supporting our local repository which is interoperable could be the long-term goal for all higher education institutions. Understanding the implications of the licensing of electronic resources and using licenses to our advantage is crucial.

Hints from ACRL: the ACRL Scholarly Communication Toolkit
Transforming Libraries - Issue 10: Educating Faculty on Scholarly Communication Issues (ARL Publication, September 1999)

Institutional Repositories/Archives
Setting up an institutional e-print archive
SPARC Institutional Repository Checklist & Resource Guide
Budapest Open Access Initiative
Open Archives Initiative

Principles for Licensed Electronic Resources
A 1997 guide from six library associations to guide libraries in negotiating license agreements for access to electronic resources
Licensing Resources
From the NCSU Libraries Scholarly Communication site
Licensing Issues
From the Association of Research Libraries
Creative Commons
Provides free licenses for information creators who want to share their creations with the world while maintaining some level of ownership rights

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Current Projects in Alternative Publishing

Spiraling journal prices and the consolidation of publishers have inspired a wide variety of alternative publishing projects. These range from the founding of Open Access journals or lower priced competitive journals, to independent archiving of existing journals and eprints, and the creation of cross-archival searching platforms. There is no single answer to the dilemma in which we find ourselves; many different solutions will serve the same cause. Below is a sampling of alternative efforts which are already having an impact.

Open Access Resources
Open Access has become so predominant in the discussion of scholarly communication that it warrants a separate page

Institutional Repository Information Page
The new institutional repository at the University of Connecticut, DigitalCommons@UConn, will inspire many questions about repositories. This page offers a variety of informative sites.


Collaborative and Competitive Electronic Publishing
An aggregation of full text online bioscience journals published by small societies and non-commercial publishers. BioOne is the brainchild of five collaborating organizations: The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition), The University of Kansas, Greater Western Library Alliance (formerly Big 12 Plus Libraries Consortium), and Allen Press, Inc.
HighWire Press
HighWire, founded by Stanford University, ensures that scientific societies and responsible publishers will remain strong and able to lead the transition toward use of new technologies for scientific communication. HighWire assists in collaborating publishers and societies in the online publishing of scholarly journals so that the elctronic versions provide added dimensions to the information provided in the printed journals.
History E-Book Project
An electronic publishing initiative from the American Council of Learned Societies for books of high quality in the field of history. This project is a collaboration of learned societies and university presses to assist scholars in the electronic publishing of high-quality works in history, to explore the intellectual possibilities of new technologies, and to help assure the continued viability of the history writing in today's changing publishing environment.
Collaborative effort to make available online the journals and research findings of scientific socieities in Japan. Over 50 journals and conference papers and proceedings are available. For the journals, there is a variable time lag ("embargo") from time of publication to availability free online.
A digitized full text archive of scholarly journals starting with the very first issues up until 2-5 years previous to the present. JSTOR's mission is to help the scholarly community take advantage of advances in information technologies and to build a reliable and comprehensive archive of important scholarly journal literature. A collaborative effort funded by its participants, both academic institutions and publishers.
Project Euclid
An initiative from Cornell University Library, in partnership with SPARC, to advance effective and affordable scholarly communication in theoretical and applied mathematics and statistics. Project Euclid partners with low-cost independent and society journals to provide online access to independent and society journals.
Project Muse
Project Muse offers nearly 200 quality journal titles from some 30 scholarly publishers in the fields of literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, economics, and many others. Project Muse was launched by the Johns Hopkins University Press and currently partners with not-for-profit publishers.
The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition is made up of over 180 member libraries whose goal is to foster competition in scientific communication. SPARC encourages publishers, including scholarly societies, to produce cost-conscious, high-quality journals that directly compete with existing high-cost titles. It supports editorial boards that choose to move from commercial to non-profit publishers. SPARC also promotes innovative uses of technology to disseminate scholarly information and creation of scientific information communities that integrate multiple types and sources of key information resources.

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Policies and Proposals

Alliance for Taxpayer Access
"A diverse and growing alliance of organizations representing taxpayers, patients, physicians, researchers, and institutions that support open public access to taxpayer-funded research."
NIH Public Access
Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research
Framing the Issue: Open Access
From ARL, 2003
Budapest Open Access Initiative
Spearheading the international effort to make research articles in all academic fields freely available on the internet. Supported by SPARC.
Public Library of Science
Proposal originally for life sciences researchers to agree to "publish in, edit or review for, and personally subscribe to, only those scholarly and scientific journals that have agreed to grant unrestricted free distribution rights to any and all original research reports that they have published, through PubMed Central and similar online public resources, within 6 months of their initial publication date." Over 30,000 researchers have signed as of July 2002. Subsequently, the originators of this initiative have agreed to push for the creation of new journals which would advance these aims.
The Case for Institutional Repositories: A SPARC Position Paper
July 29, 2002
Washington D.C. Principles For Free Access to Science
A statement by 48 non-profit publishers (including many scientific professional societies) committing to "providing free access and wide dissemination of published research findings." March 16, 2004
Berlin Declaration on Open Access
"In this Declaration, all of Germany's principal scientific and scholarly institutions... as well as a growing number of their counterparts from other countries (such as France's CNRS) have signed their commitment to open access to scientific and scholarly research."
Principles for Emerging Systems of Scholarly Publishing
Also known as the Tempe Principles, joint statement from AAU, ARL, and research university presidents and provosts, May 10, 2000
From Here to NEAR: Moving with Dispatch to Resolve the Scholarly Communication Crisis
University of Kansas Provost Schulenberger's proposal focusing on retaining copyright and the creation of a "single, publicly accessible repository"
Scholars' Forum: A New Model For Scholarly Communication
An early proposal for interoperable archives
A Provost Challenges his Faculty to Keep Copyright on Journal Articles
Policy Perspectives: To Publish and Perish From ARL
Principles for Licensed Electronic Resources From ARL
Scholarly Communication and the Need for Collective Action
A statement by the Chief Academic Officers of members of the the Big12Plus Library Consortium
The Future of Scholarly Communication: A Proposal for Change
Charles E. Phelps, Provost, University of Rochester, 1997

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Copyright and Intellectual Property Info

SHERPA British project investigating publisher copyright policies and self-archiving
Copyright Policies of the major publishers

from the RoMEO Project
A resource in copyright ownership for the higher education community from the University of Maryland
Copyright and Intellectual Property
From New Horizons in Scholarly Communication
Copyright Tutorial
From North Carolina State University Libraries Scholarly Communication Center
Copyright and Fair Use
From Stanford University Libraries
Copyright, Intellectual Property Rights and Licensing Issues
From the Berkeley Digital Library
Alternative Copyright Assignments
Sample copyright assignment language suggested by a Harvard College professor
Copyright Resources Online
From Ann Okerson et. al, Yale University
Creative Commons
Provides free licenses for information creators who want to share their creations with the world while maintaining some level of ownership rights
Triangle Research Library Network Model Policy
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Status & Analysis From ARL
Principles for Licensed Electronic Resources
Position Paper on Yale University Copyright Policy March 1998
Copyright - Intellectual Property Rights - Fair Use
From the Visual Resources Association Adhoc Committee on Intellectual Property Rights

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Library and Academic Organizations Active on Issues

Association of Research Libraries
A not-for-profit organization of the leading research libraries in North America.
AAU / ARL Global Resources Program

ARL Office of Scholarly Communications
BioLine International
A collaborative publishing effort between universities in developed and developing countries
Coalition for Networked Information
An organization founded in 1990 to advance the transformative promise of networked information technology for the improvement of scholarly communication and the enrichment of intellectual productivity. A program of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and EDUCAUSE.
Digital Future Coalition
A coalition of non-profit educational, scholarly and library groups, with commercial trade associations representing telecommunications, network access industries and others. Committed to striking balance between protecting intellectual property and allowing public access to it.
A nonprofit consortium of higher education institutions facilitating use and management of information resources in teaching, learning, scholarship and research. The consortium includes Duke Univ., NCSU, UNC Chapel Hill, and North Carolina Central University.
Information Access Alliance
A coalition of library organizations focusing on the anti-trust aspects of publisher mergers and publishing concentration
International Consortium for the Advancement of Academic Publication (ICAAP)
ICAAP is a non-profit venture hosted by Athabasca University producing a number of high quality, scholarly journals as well as maintaining a list of free scholarly publications. Access to the ICAAP collection is free and unrestricted.
Librarians Association of the University of California
(New Horzons in Scholarly Communications)
National Humanities Alliance
A coalition to advance the humanities
NLII - National Learning Infrastructure Initiative
A membership coalition of institutions and organizations sponsored by EDUCAUSE to serve as a catalyst to bring together the affected parties to create joint solutions to the problems inhibiting the creation of a National Learning Infrastructure
A Dutch consortium of three universities to facilitate digital publishing for individual authors
Shared Legal Capability (SLC)
Shared Legal Capability was established in 1995 by five major library associations. SLC seeks to ensure a unified voice and common strategy for the library community in responding to and developing proposals to amend copyright law and policy for the digital environment.
SPARC: Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition
An alliance of universities, research libraries, and organizations, SPARC was built as a constructive response to market dysfunctions in the scholarly communication system. These dysfunctions have reduced dissemination of scholarship and crippled libraries. SPARC serves as a catalyst for action, helping to create systems that expand information dissemination and use in a networked digital environment while responding to the needs of scholars and academe.

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Related Academic Web Pages

American Economics Association: Scholarly Communication
Brigham Young University: Scholarly Communications Crisis
California Institute of Technology: Scholarly Communication
Issues in Scholarly Communication - An informational website from Cornell University Libraries.
Indiana University: Committee on Scholarly Communication
Iowa State University: The Crisis in Scholarly Communication: Impact and Solutions for the Iowa Regent Universities
Scholarly Communication At Risk - An informational website from Johns Hopkins University.
North Carolina State University: Scholarly Communications Center
Librarians Association of the University of California: New Horizons
University of California Berkeley: Reading List on Scholarly Communication
University of Kansas: Scholarly Communication and Library Collections
University of Pittsburgh: Issues in Scholarly Communication
University of Tennessee, Knoxville: Scholarly Communications Issues
University of Virginia: Issues in Scholarly Communication
Scholarly Communications at the UW Libraries - An informational website from the University of Washington Libraries.
University of Waterloo: The Crisis in Scholarly Publishing
University of Wisconsin: Annual Report of the 1998-1999 University Library Committee

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Legislative Updates

Legislative Info
From North Carolina State University Libraries Scholarly Communication Center

Reading List

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Page created by Carolyn Mills, and maintained by Carolyn Mills and Sheila Lafferty.