University of California at Santa Cruz versus Elsevier

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Thu Oct 30 10:30:14 EST 2003


A boycott alone is insufficient. Michel Prevet's posting about the UCSC
proposed boycott of Elsevier included in its PS *exactly* what is needed
to supplement any institutional boycott:

>mp> PS. My most recent preprints and postprints can be downloaded from
>mp> http://hal.ccsd.cnrs.fr/ (domain "earth sciences/geophysics")
>mp> For information about Open Access self-archiving and publishing see
>mp> http://www.isteem.univ-montp2.fr/ISTEEM/BIBLIOTHEQUE/indexpreprint.html

Boycotts are for lowering journal tolls, and that is a welcome goal,
worth fighting for. But what researchers need now is not just lower-toll
access but open access. It would accordingly be far more sensible --
and far more effective -- to supplement any institutional efforts to
lower journal costs with an explicit, systematic policy of making all
institutional refereed research output open-access by self-archiving it:

http://www.eprints.org/self-faq/#institution-facilitate-filling
http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/che.htm

>uc> the University of California is one of Elsevier's largest customers. 
>
>uc> UC Faculty members are important players in Elsevier's
>uc> journals. 10-15% of the content is written by UC faculty,
>uc> 1000 faculty are on the boards of Elsevier journals, and
>uc> about 150 faculty are senior editors for those journals.

That's fine for 15% of UC's research output. And since Elsevier is a
Romeo "blue" publisher (and probably also "green"):

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/ls/disresearch/romeo/Romeo%20Publisher%20Policies.htm

all that UC Elsevier content can be immediately self-archived without
further ado. But what about the remaining 85% of UC research content?
And what about UC access to the remaining 85% of Elsevier content?
UC self-archiving would take care of all the UC research output, and
other institutions doing the very same thing would take care of all the
rest. (In fact, they don't even need to boycott Elsevier: they need only
self-archive!)

>uc> Alternative forms of scholarly communication need to be
>uc> considered. The California Digital Library (CDL) has been
>uc> pioneering new forms of publication including the
>uc> eScholarship Repository. Through the CDL, the University of
>uc> California also provides tangible support for new scholarly
>uc> publishing initiatives that promise high-quality
>uc> peer-reviewed content at affordable prices, including the
>uc> Public Library of Science and BioMEd Central.

There are 500 alternative (open-access) journals. Is open access to
the contents of the remaining 23,500 more likely to occur by waiting
to replace them one by one, or by a collective policy of institutional
self-archiving?

>uc> Faculty action to retain intellectual property rights would
>uc> also contribute to meeting the challenge. Authors can
>uc> negotiate to retain certain rights, including the right to
>uc> post their work in an institutional repository

Fifty-five percent of the the 7000+ journals samples by the Romeo
self-archiving rights project already support self-archiving (including
all 1500+ Elsevier journals). Many more will do so if asked. A systematic
institutional and research-funder policy of mandating open access for all
institutional research output along the lines of the Berlin Declaration
will help convert the Romeo "white" journals to "green" far more quickly
and effectively than a boycott will!

http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/berlin.htm

>uc> Therefore, the UCSC Academic Senate resolves to call upon its
>uc> tenured members to give serious and careful consideration to
>uc> cutting their ties with Elsevier: no longer submitting papers
>uc> to Elsevier journals, refusing to referee the submissions of
>uc> others, and relinquishing editorial posts should the
>uc> UC/Elsevier negotiations prove unsuccessful.

I hope the UCSC Senate will give equally serious and careful
consideration both to its 85% non-Elsevier research output and to
the Elsevier and non-Elsevier input from other institutions, byt pairing
supplementing its institutional boycott policy with an institutional
self-archiving policy. Sometimes the carrot works better than the
stick:

http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/archpolnew.html

>uc> The Senate also calls upon its Committee on Academic
>uc> Personnel to recognize that some faculty may choose not to
>uc> submit papers to Elsevier journals even when those journals
>uc> are highly ranked. Faculty choosing to follow the advice of
>uc> this resolution should not be penalized.

Self-archiving their papers no matter where they are submitted will only
help increase their impact and personnel-assessment value of their
papers.

http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/self-archiving.htm

Here are some background readings on the boycott strategy:

"Why price boycott is the wrong strategy" (2000)
http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/0532.html

"Petitions, Boycotts, and Liberating the Refereed Literature Online" (2000)
http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/0933.html

"Science Article (Roberts et al.) and Science Editorial"
http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/1236.html

"A Keystroke Koan For Our Open Access Times" (2003)
http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/3061.html

"Call for Boycott of Cell Press Journals" (2003)
http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/3088.html

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: Complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online is available at
the American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01 & 02 & 03):
    http://amsci-forum.amsci.org/archives/september98-forum.html
    http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/index.html
    Posted discussion to: september98-forum at amsci-forum.amsci.org 

Dual Open-Access Strategy:
    BOAI-2: Publish your article in a suitable open-access journal
            whenever one exists.
    BOAI-1: Otherwise, publish your article in a suitable toll-access
            journal and also self-archive it.
    http://www.soros.org/openaccess/read.shtml
    http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/berlin.htm

> Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 11:58:50 +0100
> From: Michel Prevot <Michel.Prevot at dstu.univ-montp2.fr>
> To: BOAI Forum <boai-forum at ecs.soton.ac.uk>
> Subject: [BOAI] University of California at Santa Cruz versus Elsevier
> 
> I am forwarding below an interesting resolution of the Academic Senate of
> the University of California at Santa Cruz about their ties with Elsevier
> Journals.
>
> Michel Prevot
> Equipe de Paleomagnetisme, Laboratoire de Tectonophysique (UMR 5568 du
> CNRS)
> Case 49, Universite de Montpellier 2, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 05 - France
> Email: Michel.Prevot at dstu.univ-montp2.fr
> Tel: +33 467 14 36 54 - Fax: +33 467 14 36 03

> PS. My most recent preprints and postprints can be downloaded from
> http://hal.ccsd.cnrs.fr/ (domain "earth sciences/geophysics")
> For information about Open Access self-archiving and publishing see
> http://www.isteem.univ-montp2.fr/ISTEEM/BIBLIOTHEQUE/indexpreprint.html
> 
> Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 13:05:04 -0800
> To: senate at ucsc.edu
> From: Academic Senate <senate at cats.ucsc.edu>
> Subject: Academic Senate  Divisional Action Report
> Cc:  bjbrogan at ucsc.edu, mmichael at ucsc.edu,
> larry.merkley at ADM.UCSC.EDU, rcmiller at ucsc.edu, fjh at ucsc.edu, 
> rsuduiko at ucsc.edu, tom.vani at ADM.UCSC.EDU,
> goff at ucsc.edu, jawillis at cats.ucsc.edu, isbister at ucsc.edu,
> mhcowan at cats.ucsc.edu, betsy.moses at ADM.UCSC.EDU
> 
> TO: Academic Senate, Santa Cruz Division
> FROM: Loisa Nygaard, Secretary
> DATE: October 29, 2003
> RE: Report of Divisional Action of Academic Senate, October 24, 2003
> 
> After an addition to the penultimate paragraph was proposed
> from the floor and accepted as a friendly amendment, the
> following resolution (AS/SCP/1405) passed by voice vote
> without opposition.
> 
> COMMITTEE ON THE LIBRARY
> Resolution on Ties with Elsevier Journals
> Facing a challenge to scholarly communication
> The University of California system faces a challenge in
> relation to the costs of online journal subscriptions. This
> challenge has two elements. First, in the immediate future,
> there is a real possibility that negotiations with one of the
> largest journal publishers, Elsevier (pronounced:
> El-Suh-Veer), will not be successful and the University may
> lose access to many of the 1,100 journal titles represented
> in Elsevier's Science Direct Online (SDOL) database.  Second,
> these difficult negotiations are symptomatic of an underlying
> issue in scholarly communications: many faculty publish their
> papers in journals whose publishers are selling access to
> these papers at prices that are increasing much faster than
> inflation.
> 
> The immediate crisis: Elsevier
> Elsevier's Science Direct Online is one of the largest online
> journal packages, and the University of California is one of
> Elsevier's largest customers. For several years, the UC
> system has negotiated collectively to gain access to Science
> Direct Online. There have been large savings from the use of
> the system's collective buying power. UC Santa Cruz has been
> a particular beneficiary from this arrangement, gaining
> access to a broader range of journals than it would otherwise
> have been able to afford.
> 
> Online journal charges have, however, been rising much faster
> than comparable prices, and Elsevier prices have been in the
> lead. Library acquisition budgets are increasingly being
> driven by unsustainable increases in journal prices.
> Elsevier's revenues and profits have been rising fast in
> recent years. Their profits were up 26% in the last year.
> Elsevier's prices are not proportional to the use of these
> journals made by UC faculty. Access to Elsevier journals
> costs the UC system 50% of its online budget, and use of
> these journals is only 25% of total online journal use.
> 
> UC Faculty members are important players in Elsevier's
> journals. 10-15% of the content is written by UC faculty,
> 1000 faculty are on the boards of Elsevier journals, and
> about 150 faculty are senior editors for those journals.
> 
> The University of California started negotiation with
> Elsevier seven months ago, seeking to establish a sustainable
> relationship with Elsevier. Those negotiations have not yet
> concluded but there is a chance they will break down if
> Elsevier is unwilling to price its product in an affordable
> way that avoids punishing annual price increases that are 2
> or 3 times the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation.
> 
> Loss of access to Elsevier journals will have differential
> disciplinary impact. Some disciplines, such as biology and
> health sciences, make greater use of their journals.
> 
> Tackling the longer term issue
> Alternative forms of scholarly communication need to be
> considered. The California Digital Library (CDL) has been
> pioneering new forms of publication including the
> eScholarship Repository. Through the CDL, the University of
> California also provides tangible support for new scholarly
> publishing initiatives that promise high-quality
> peer-reviewed content at affordable prices, including the
> Public Library of Science and BioMEd Central.
> 
> Faculty action to retain intellectual property rights would
> also contribute to meeting the challenge. Authors can
> negotiate to retain certain rights, including the right to
> post their work in an institutional repository or distribute
> copies to their classes.
> 
> Resolution
> Online access to scholarly papers is increasingly important
> to scholarly research. Such access would be jeopardized by a
> breakdown in negotiations between the University of
> California and Elsevier (Science Direct Online). Successful
> resolution of the negotiations is threatened by Elsevier's
> insistence on increasing its charges at a rate far exceeding
> inflation and to a level not justified by its relative
> utility compared with other online journal services,
> 
> Therefore, the UCSC Academic Senate resolves to call upon its
> tenured members to give serious and careful consideration to
> cutting their ties with Elsevier: no longer submitting papers
> to Elsevier journals, refusing to referee the submissions of
> others, and relinquishing editorial posts should the
> UC/Elsevier negotiations prove unsuccessful.
> 
> The Senate also calls upon its Committee on Academic
> Personnel to recognize that some faculty may choose not to
> submit papers to Elsevier journals even when those journals
> are highly ranked. Faculty choosing to follow the advice of
> this resolution should not be penalized.
> 
> Academic Senate Office
> 125 Kerr Hall
> UC Santa Cruz
> (831) 459-2086
> (831) 459-5469 (FAX)
> Website: www://senate.ucsc.edu




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