…from a report on the ITHAKA Next Wave 2018 conference:

Gen Z students don’t want the same things from college their Millennial predecessors did. Elite colleges will be just fine, but mid-tier campuses without defined niches will face extinction. And Elsevier, the for-profit scholarly communications giant that many librarians and researchers love to hate, will never go away.

Howard, J. (2018). Elsevier Faces Tough Questions About Its Business Model During Library and Publishing Conference. EdSurge. Retrieved from:


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University of California Takes Strong Stand on Elsevier Negotiations

The University of California (UC) system is taking a strong stand in their negotiations with Elsevier, as communicated by an open letter published on November 28:

The UC’s efforts to shift its relationship with Elsevier will have implications beyond our University. Indeed, it is part of a global movement to break down paywalls for scholarly journals and to create a more open system of sharing knowledge, facilitating research, and enabling greater global equity of access to knowledge. Much of the action to date has been in Europe, but North American institutions, which represent 42% of Elsevier’s revenue, need to get involved. Because the UC accounts for nearly 10% of all US publishing output and has sizable subscription contracts, we are in a position to lead towards a more open and sustainable scholarly publishing ecosystem.

Smith, M. (2018). Potential Changes to UC’s Relationship with Elsevier in January 2019. Retrieved from:

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European Open Science Cloud (EOSC): Federated Model; Latest Documents

All signs point towards the development of the EOSC in a federated manner, with an emphasis on FAIR data standards:

Latest EOSC developments

Two key documents published on 20 November 2018 provide additional detail:



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On the Regulation of Science, with the US EPA as an Example

The most recent issue of Science features an analysis of the intersection of governmental legislation and scientific inquiry, providing also a brief synopsis of accountability in “science bureaucracies” in the US.

Highlighting recent legislation related the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the article concludes by encouraging scientists to remain aware of how regulation potentially influences the research process:

To ignore attempts by politically elected and appointed individuals to dictate how science should be conducted is to betray the very essence of science.

Remote access for NTK patrons

Wagner, W., Fisher, E., & Pascual P. (2018). Whose science? A new era in regulatory “science wars.” Science 09 Nov 2018: 636-639.

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Offical Pages for Plan S

Just for the record, here are the official Science Europe pages for Plan S.

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IFLA Kuala Lumpur: Introducing 16th IFLA ILDS Conference, Prague, 9-11 October 2019

The NTK team was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to introduce the IFLA resource sharing community to Prague, site of the 16th IFLA ILDS Conference, 9-11 October, 2019.

Details about the conference will be announced shortly and will be made available on the conference website.

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ResearchGate Sued in the United States

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Historians of Economic Thought Illustrate Problems of Journal Rankings for Small Fields

Alberto Baccini, Professor of Economics at the University of Siena, points out difficulties posed for smaller academic disciplines, using the example of three history of economic thought journals now excluded from Journal Citations Report (JCR):

There are dozens of open science experiments to overcome the rigidities of scientific communication imposed by large international publishers and companies that produce citation indices. A small community could easily cooperate to take some of these paths, instead of shutting themselves in the blockhouse to defend the citation indices of their journals in national and international rankings.

This event could also be an opportunity for the small scientific community of historians of economic thought to take a firm stand against evaluation practices based on the ranking of journals.

Full article:

Baccini, A. (2018). Boycott the Journal Rankings. Institute for New Economic Thinking.

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Worries about “Lock Ins” and “Lock Outs”: Recent Mergers Highlight Library and Smaller Publisher Concerns

My colleague Alena, as promised, attended the recent Anywhere Access (AA) webinar. AA aims to become “as fast as Sci-Hub” and to streamline the search-to-PDF workflow for researchers. Marketing heavily to researchers directly, AA aims to lock libraries in to purchasing subscriptions for its service (see this comparison of its features with other discovery mechanisms). For well-funded institutions, getting on board is perhaps a no brainer, providing its functionality lives up to the hype.

But many of us in the library community worry about the accessibility of such tools to institutions without the funds to purchase them in terms of making more pressure on libraries to provide such services – pressure on institutions which may already be falling behind the wealthy institutions because of budgetary pressures due to subscription journal increases and other factors, expanding the effects of the digital divide. What would stop people in such cases from continuing to use P2P servers to access content their libraries cannot purchase or which are not available via open access? I cannot imagine that, in these cases, such libraries will be able to “disrupt the disrupters,” as promoted in the webinar follow-up email. AA will need critical subscription mass.

It can also mean, for wealthy institutions, that once the “lock” happens, subscription to the tool becomes difficult to discontinue in the future. And if there are only one or two good players in this space (and not a fully competitive marketplace, as currently appears to be the case), this always opens up the door to steep future fee increases and, at some point, threats to a long-term funding model, on the library side. But of course, the end users might not care about such worries. Should they?

It’s not just librarians who are concerned about big mergers and marketplace “consolidation”; smaller academic society publishers, too, are facing similar issues, as seen in an article by Angela Cochran from the American Society of Civil Engineers in The Scholarly Kitchen:

I am concerned about what I will call ‘lock out.’ As some librarians are concerned about their faculty, students, and institutions being ‘locked in’ to one particular publisher’s services, I am concerned about society and small publishers being ‘locked out’ of critical technology services.

She discusses these issues in relation to Wiley and Elsevier:

Many of us on the Atypon platform were varying degrees of concerned about the sale to Wiley. The concerns were entirely about a publisher owning the platform that housed the content of many other publishers. We are faced with the same situation now that Elsevier has bought Aries Systems. A publisher that competes with many of Aries Systems’ customers, now owns the submission and production system used by these publishers.

For some of us, like my organization (American Society of Civil Engineers), it’s a double-whammy. Our platform with all of its content and user data is owned by Wiley. Our submission system with all of our author and editorial data is owned by Elsevier.

Read the full article, “Clowns to the Left of Me…Jokers to the Right,” at:



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Open Grants: Assisting Early Career Scientists

An increasing number of researchers are sharing their grant proposals openly. They do this to open up science so that all stages of the process can benefit from better interaction and communication and to provide examples for early career scientists writing grants.

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