University sector bodies demand journal price cuts
Three bodies representing academic library directors and higher education managers have warned scholarly publishers that immediate reductions in the cost of journals will be required if institutions are not to cancel subscriptions due to the academic sector’s growing financial crisis in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
David Prosser, executive director at RLUK, noted that ‘Libraries will need to make cuts and the only place where there will be enough money to make large enough savings is ‘big deals’ with publishers.’ Caron Milloy, director of licensing at Jisc, said that prize freezes would not be enough, suggesting that publishers that failed to provide discounts would be ‘at the top of the list for cancellation’, while Ann Rossiter, executive director at SCONUL, warned that ‘Companies which do not adapt to the new post-COVID-19 reality will be judged harshly’.
In June, the joint Universities UK / Jisc content negotiation strategy group requested reductions of 25% on all agreements from what it termed ‘major academic publishers’.
Busy month for Cambridge
Cambridge University Press has announced an open access partnership with Hindawi which will see editorial and production work on five Cambridge journals – Laser and Particle Beams, Genetics Research, Global Health Epidemiology and Genomics, Journal of Smoking Cessation, and Wireless Power Transfer – carried out on Hindawi’s open source publishing platform Phenom from January next year. Meanwhile, another Cambridge journal, Oryx – The International Journal of Conservation, will become open access at the same time thanks to a grant from the Rufford Foundation which will enable unfunded authors to publish without APCs.
Cambridge will also be publishing a series of scientific assessments under the title of Cambridge Sustainability Commissions, each bringing together research from across the natural and social sciences to answer questions on issues vital to global sustainability. The assessments will be published in the Press’s open access Global Sustainability journal; the first has been commissioned by the Copenhagen-based KR Foundation and will focus on scaling sustainable behaviour change.
Clarivate will be combining with intellectual property software and tech-enabled services business CPA Global in an all-stock transaction which is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020, subject to regulatory approval. The combined company was described by Clarivate CEO Jerre Stead as ‘a full-service IP organization’ that would help customers ‘make faster and smarter critical decisions’.
Wiley has announced a partnership with the CPI Group, the largest book printer in Europe, which will bring together demand planning, print and distribution, customer service, and credit collection into a total supply chain solution and set up a state-of-the-art inkjet print production facility at Wiley’s European Distribution Centre in Bognor Regis. The collaboration is expected to focus on print strategies including Print on Demand, Zero Inventory, and ultra-short run Auto Stock Replenishment.
The International Association of STM Publishers (STM) is deepening its collaboration with the community-driven initiative Research Data Alliance (RDA), which aims to build the technical and social infrastructure that will enable open sharing and the re-use of data. STM has declared 2020 to be its Research Data Year, and during the year will collaborate with RDA in areas including the adoption by academic journals of Data Availability Statements, the uptake of SCHOLIX – a universal reference model for linking data and publications – and the TRUST Principles for digital repositories; the two organisations will also share their expertise and experience on FAIR research data sharing.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is partnering with J-STAGE, Japan’s largest database for reviewed academic papers, in a move that will see content from 53 of the latter’s journals included within the IET’s research database Inspec.
IOP Publishing has joined Research4Life, the partnership which aims to reduce the knowledge gap between high-income and low- and middle-income countries through making scholarly, professional and research information more accessible. IOPP journals will now be accessible to organisations and institutions in 120 lower income countries.
The Public Library of Science (PLOS) is partnering with identity and access management specialists LibLynx to develop analytics that better communicate the usage and impact of open access content; these will be trialled and piloted within the PLOS community over the next six-to-twelve months and are expected to contribute to the development of future standards in this field.
Two more scientific societies have chosen Atypon’s Literatum platform to host their journal content. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society, will move its full suite of online journal content – including archives dating back to 1880 – to Literatum next summer. The platform will also be hosting the American Society of Microbiology’s 18 journals along with its multimedia, datasets, and supplemental materials.
Frontiers is partnering with the Geological Society of London to launch a new gold open access journal Earth Science, Systems and Society (also known as ES3), which will focus particularly on interdisciplinary geoscience and the pivotal role it plays in a sustainable society.
SAGE has partnered with the Association for Computing Machinery and the innovation foundation Nesta on a new gold open access journal, Collective Intelligence, devoted to understanding group performance in diverse systems.
Oxford University Press will publish the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) journals Plant Physiology and The Plant Cell from January 2021.
Two well-established scholarly publishing conferences will be moving online this autumn. The UKSG November conference – usually a one-day physical event – will take place online over two consecutive half days, on the morning of November 11th and the afternoon of November 12th, while the annual conference of the ALPSP will run online over three sessions from 16th-18th September.
Alastair Horne is a PhD student at the British Library and Bath Spa University.