Getting in front of change: Germany vs. Elsevier

Getting in front of change: Germany vs. Elsevier

An explainer for LIS 658 "Publishing, Knowledge Institutions, and Society: E-Revolutions" on various library-and-Elsevier situations.

837b357dc46c47fc99560e03b8841a27?s=128

Dorothea Salo

February 28, 2019
Tweet

Transcript

  1. GETTING IN FRONT OF CHANGE: GERMANY VS. ELSEVIER With (parts

    of) Canada and Perú as contrast
  2. TAKE A MOMENT •You’re an academic-library collection developer. •Your BigPub

    contract is up for renewal/renegotiation. •It’s eating a huge percentage of your entire collections budget. •Some parts of it are heavily used; most of it (let’s say, 75%—and I’ve heard higher from the Real WorldTM) is never used at all. •Some things you know: •BigPub will ask for a major increase. (5% is not uncommon.) •To meet that increase, you’ll have to cancel other packages. (You met the last increase with one-time money. That won’t work this time.) •BigPub is lobbying your faculty behind your back. Your faculty are quite likely to believe BigPub’s lobbying. •WHAT DO YOU DO?
  3. TAKE A(NOTHER) MOMENT •You’re BigPub. You want this library to

    renew your Big Deal at a higher price. •Some things you know: •You can cut off access abruptly at expiration of the current contract. You’ve done this elsewhere: faculty howl at the library, which caves in. •Faculty are gullible practically everywhere; they routinely believe you over their institution’s librarians. •Any time your Big Deal sucks the air out of competing publishers’ Big Deals, you win. •Open access is not a win for you. You can’t oppose it openly, though! Very bad public relations. •What’s your move?
  4. HOW THIS OFTEN PLAYS OUT: RYERSON UNIVERSITY, CANADA •If you’re

    BigPub, and you’re pretty sure you own some “core journals,” how do you respond to this?
  5. RIGHT. YOU JACK THE PRICE ON “CORE JOURNALS.” Then if

    Ryerson cancels your Big Deal, they don’t actually save any money. And they’ve made a promise to faculty that you can force them to break! You can’t lose!
  6. WORSE: PERÚ’S CONCYTEC Translation by “The Library Loon,” https://gavialib.com/2016/12/translating-and-evaluating-the-concytec-announcement/ CC-BY

  7. WHAT’S WRONG? LET ME COUNT… 1. Blaming the budget builders

    will not get you more money from them! Basic persuasion fail! •Blame BigPub for being unreasonable, instead. You need your budget-givers to be able to save face. 2.Don’t be defensive, and especially not emotionally, hyperbolically defensive. •That’s just begging faculty to mob you. Trust me, they will. 3.DON’T MAKE PROMISES YOU AREN’T SURE YOU CAN KEEP. •If you fail, you WILL hear about it. 4.Don’t call BigPub’s Big Deal “essential.” •That just gives BigPub more power to use against you!
  8. MANY PLACES ARE STILL STUCK IN THIS MORASS. •The UK,

    which has a long history of publisher-pandering. •Finland •Some of Canada •though much of Canada is smarter than this, e.g. Simon Fraser and the Université de Montréal •Taiwan •Almost all academic libraries in the United States •We’re starting to see leadership emerge on this (MIT, Virginia), but that’s the best I can say… for now. •I do think we’ll extract ourselves from the quicksand. We have to. But it’ll take a while.
  9. 2016–: GERMANY FLIPS THE SCRIPT •There has never been an

    all-Germany Big Deal with Elsevier. In 2016, negotiations for one began. •Germany demanded a deal (à la the Netherlands) in which German authors would automatically have their articles made open. •Elsevier, predictably, asked for the moon and stars, and refused open access. •Germany said no, blaming Elsevier. And, AMAZINGLY, German institutions ALLOWED THEIR SUBSCRIPTIONS TO LAPSE. •All the while communicating Elsevier-blame to faculty. •Not only did the world not end, Elsevier didn’t even cut off access! •Elsevier knew German faculty wouldn’t turn on the librarians, putting Elsevier itself directly in faculty crosshairs.
  10. 2018–: REST OF EUROPE SAYS “HM. NOW, ISN’T THAT INTERESTING.”

    •Germany: quietly, firmly staying the course •I believe their next desired move to be “German faculty don’t write, edit, or review for Elsevier.” •They’ve gotten a very few prominent faculty to make this promise. A few isn’t hard, though. A full boycott from all faculty, THAT is hard. •Make no mistake, a successful full boycott would be absolutely huge. Which also means it’s not easy or fast to make happen. We’ll see. •Sweden: cancels Elsevier Big Deal outright •Switzerland, Austria: signaling Germany-style moves •the Netherlands: in its next Elsevier negotiation, raising its open-access ask to match Germany’s
  11. WHAT ABOUT THE UNITED STATES? Unsworth is the University Librarian

    at the University of Virginia. I can’t even IMAGINE a UL saying this as little as three years ago!
  12. AND CANADA? It’s excellent. A model persuasive whitepaper. http://www.carl-abrc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/ CARL_Brief_Subscription_Costs_en.pdf

  13. THIS IS A PERSUASION WAR. •Elsevier needed to persuade German

    faculty that the sky will fall if Germany doesn’t get a Big Deal. •Key failure! •This is looking harder by the day, since the sky hasn’t fallen. •Elsevier also needed German faculty to persuade German librarians to sign on to a Big Deal. •Elsevier basically caved in when this didn’t happen! •German librarians had to persuade German faculty not to panic or get blamey at them. This they did. •Now they have to persuade Elsevier to give in. •Since the world is watching Germany… this is a tough ask. Germany has done so well so far that I’m betting on them, though.
  14. DO LIKE GERMANY. AT LEAST WHEN NEGOTIATING WITH ELSEVIER. •This

    presentation is available under a Creative Commons Attribution United States 4.0 license.