Bibsam takes a stand for open access – cancels Elsevier deal

As we wrote earlier this week, the pressure is mounting on the world’s largest scientific publisher Elseviers. Countries that have set goals for open access to scientific papers see Elsevier as an obstacle, as the publisher won’t allow agree to terms for increased open access. Now the Swedish Bibsam consortium is taking the step to cancel their deal with Elsevier, as the publisher would not agree to the following terms:

  • Immediate open access to all articles published in Elsevier journals by researchers affiliated to participating organisations
  • Reading access for participating organisations to all articles in Elsevier’s 1,900 journals
  • A sustainable price model that enables a transition to open access

The reason that Bibsam has taken this line is that it has become incredibly expensive for higher education institutions to access scientific information generated by tax funded research. At the same time big publishers like Elsevier are making huge profits. Now the aim is to change the scientific communication model, and make more research accessible to a greater number of people at a lower cost rather than subsidize big publishers’ profits. (Elsevier’s profit margin was 36% in 2010, which was higher than Apple, Google, or Amazon posted that year. In 2017 their parent company presented an operating profit of 31.1%.)

 “We need to monitor the total cost of publication as we see a tendency towards a rapid increase of costs for both reading and publishing. The current system for scholarly communication must change and our only option is to cancel deals when they don’t meet our demands for a sustainable transition to open access.”

– Astrid Söderbergh Widding, President of Stockholm University & Chairman of the Bibsam consortium steering committee 

Other countries including Germany have already cancelled their deals with Elsevier. The current Swedish deal will be cancelled effective June 30th 2018. After that everyone who was part of the deal will still have access to all papers published between January 1st 1995 and July 1st 2018. Access to material published from July 1st 2018 onwards might however be restricted by Elsevier. It is worth noting that they still have not stopped access to new publications in Germany, despite the German deal being cancelled at the beginning of the year. It might still be worth leaving a brief guide to alternative routes of finding scientific papers here.

Sources and further reading:

Text: Signe Wulund

Google Reader is shutting down

Maybe you use a RSS reader like me to keep up with whats happening within your area of research, other areas of interest, news etc. If you are not using then maybe you should give it a try? RSS is an abbreviation of Really Simple Syndication which is used to subscribe to content from a number of websites to a RSS reader. The point of this is to get updates when they happen without you needing to visit the specific blog, news page or other pages which are updating its content often and that you can in a short period of time to go though a lot of content because all you have to read are the titles and maybe an introduction. If it’s nothing that interests you you just go on to the next item on the list.

Usage of RSS exploded around 2004 and Google has its reader called Google Reader. in March of this year Google announced that they would shut down Google Reader due to sinking number of users and changed user habbits. This was shocking to many, me included and many started to think which services could be used instead.

rssI have started to use Feedly.com. It’s an add-on to a web browser that you have to install first but not to worry; it is easy. You can then create a new account or logon with your google-userID and easily export your Google Reader content to Feedly. There is an app for Feedly for both IOS and Android and Kindle and they are developing one for Windows phones. Feedly does not exist for Internet Explorer so you need to use e.g. Firefox, Chrome eller Safari.

There are other RSS readers that you chan switch to such as Flipboard, Newsify, Newsblur, The OldReader, Netvibes, Pulse, Feedbin, CommaFeed, CurataReader, FeedReader… Some of these exists only as apps for smart phones and tablets.

Google is saying that RSS readers is an old fashioned way to consume news, it being very passive way. Google wants us to become more active in our consumption of news. They want to give you right information at the right time though right channel which is nothing revolutionary. Google has developed Google Now which learns your habbits, your interests to be able to deliver what you want when you want it. And since it is on your phone it can use data about your location, time of the day if you are on the road or not and adjust the news it delivers to you. So over time Goole Now will learn what you want to read when you are eating your breakfast, commuting to work or waiting to get on a plane to a conference.

Personally, I don’t want Goole New to learn my behaviour at least not in my professional life because I might miss out on news, research and other things which do not directly relate to me or what I am doing but that might still be interesting. I do not want to read what Google thinks it knows I want or should read. In my professiona life I appreciate serendipity. I don’t want to miss that.

Pieta Eklund

PS: You can subscribe to this blog. Copy the link and add it to your RSS Reader.

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