In July, West Virginia University Libraries began a partnership with the Public Library of Science (PLOS) to provide researchers with the opportunity to publish, free of processing charges, in any of their Open Access titles over the next three years.
PLOS is a nonprofit, Open Access publisher with a suite of 12 influential Open Access journals across all areas of science and medicine. Open Access refers to free, immediate and permanent online access to digital full-text scientific and scholarly material, primarily research articles published in peer-reviewed journals.
“Investment in open access initiatives is one of the WVU Libraries’ five collection funding priorities. This PLOS agreement is another significant step forward,” said Beth Royall, past-chair of the WVU Libraries Collections Advisory Committee.
The WVU Libraries’ Collections Advisory Committee explains the Libraries’ collection development strategies in a YouTube video. WVU faculty, staff and students may find this brief explanation helpful in understanding the Libraries’ budget, the effect of inflation on their capacity to subscribe to or purchase resources, and how to place requests for resources. To discuss this further, contact the subject librarian for your discipline.
Few would argue that academic libraries have changed radically since 1902 when Stewart Hall was the WVU Library. What hasn’t changed is the Libraries’ commitment to WVU’s land grant mission and the study, teaching, and research of the faculty, staff, and students. One not-so-obvious change is the WVU Libraries’ focus on providing access to resources, as opposed to owning them. The explosion of research and new publications means no single library or library system can own everything the institution might need (even with the help of generous donors,) but through carefully curated collections and the power of interlibrary loan, libraries provide access to what faculty, staff, and students need. The focus on access is accompanied by a just-in-time approach, in contrast to the former just-in-case plan. (When the libraries purchased new books, videos, etc., because we thought they might be needed some day, this was a just-in-case plan.)
In March 2021, MIT Press announced the launch of its Direct-to-Open (D2O) framework. In this model, rather than purchasing licenses to eBook titles individually or through packages, libraries pay annual participation fees that support open access (OA) book publishing. Participating libraries gain access to new MIT Press titles—around 90 titles per year—as well as its eligible backlist of approximately 2,300 books. D2O features two non-overlapping collections of scholarly monographs and edited volumes: Humanities & Social Sciences and STEAM. Anyone can read the OA titles free of cost on the MIT Press website, regardless of institutional affiliation.
The West Virginia University Libraries are excited to announce their first transformative Read & Publish agreement with a major publisher of academic journals. This agreement with Cambridge University Press is effective immediately.
Read & Publish agreements offer the opportunity to facilitate an institution’s transition to open access (OA) by repurposing money that would have been spent on traditional journal subscriptions to open access publishing. This affordable and sustainable Read & Publish model will offer the following significant benefits for the WVU community:
WVU will have full-text access to the entire collection of 400+ Cambridge University Press (CUP) titles. Up to now, the university has had a subscription to just 15 of those titles.
WVU will retain perpetual rights to all volumes published in 2021 (and beyond for the term of the agreement) of all titles in the collection.
There will be no article processing charges (APCs) assessed to WVU authors for open access (OA) articles in Cambridge University Press journals.
All WVU-authored articles that are published in a CUP journal that accepts OA articles will be published OA if the author elects to have the article published OA. The journal will highlight this option as the author goes through the process of article publication.
Cambridge will retroactively reach out to WVU authors who have previously published in their journals to let them know about the new open access option they will have going forward.
Articles published non-OA in Cambridge OA journals during the term of the agreement will be eligible for retroactive conversion to open access provided that the request to convert to OA is made within the same year the article was published.
There is no limit to the number of articles from WVU authors that can be published open access in Cambridge journals.
WVU authors who choose to publish OA will retain the copyright to their article and may freely share their work on personal websites and in open access repositories, including the Research Repository @ WVU.
Cambridge University Press publishes journals covering a wide range of subjects across the humanities, social sciences, technology, sciences, and medicine. Since 2017, WVU authors have published a total of 35 articles in CUP journals, for an average publishing output of seven per year. Only three of those articles have been published as open access articles. This new Read & Publish agreement offers the opportunity for WVU authors to greatly increase exposure to their research in reputable peer-reviewed journals with no fee involved.
By Beth Royall, chair, WVU Libraries Collections Advisory Committee
Dean of Libraries Karen Diaz and Beth Royall, chair of the Libraries’ Collections Advisory Committee, presented the Licensing Principles for Vendors document to the WVU Faculty Senate at the February 8, 2021 Senate meeting. Anyone who has been following the development of this document may note the title change. Dean Diaz explained that discussions with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee made it clear the previous title, “Vendor Policy,” was misleadingly stringent, and the new title better represents how we will use this document. The new Licensing Principles for Vendors have now been approved by the Dean of Libraries, the Library Faculty Assembly, and the WVU Faculty Senate.
Faculty are encouraged to share these principles with their vendor contacts and engage in candid dialogue about the serious need for—among other things—fair, transparent, and sustainable pricing models; compliance with usability and accessibility standards; and interlibrary loan privileges for e-books. Change isn’t easy, but when the WVU community speaks with one voice the impact is powerful.
The WVU Libraries Collections Advisory Committee strives to make data-informed decisions regarding journal subscriptions. Highlights of our recently completed review of FY20 interlibrary loan (ILL) costs may be of interest to our WVU faculty. Below is a chart showing the journals that incurred cumulative interlibrary loan costs of more than $200 between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.
Sum of FY20 ILL Costs
Science of The Total Environment
International Journal of Sustainable Transportation
Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice
Construction and building materials
Business & Society
The Nonproliferation Review
Journal of Cleaner Production
Drug testing and analysis.
In addition to the ISSN and title of the journal, you see the total ILL expenses for FY20, the number of requests that incurred an ILL expense, and finally, what we would have paid for a year’s subscription to that journal. Since we unbundled our Science Direct, Springer, and Wiley packages, we try to do this ILL review annually, looking for any journals that are costing us more in ILL costs than the subscription price. As you can see, even at 40 ILL requests totaling $957.37, a subscription to the Science of the Total Environment journal would not be cost effective. The annual ILL expenditures for The Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice and Palaestra come closest to what annual subscriptions would run. What we don’t know, yet, is if the demand for these journals is short-term or on-going, but these are titles we will keep an eye on.
(e)Reserves Purchase Requests
Providing excellent course reserve service is a high priority for the WVU Libraries. If we don’t own an item a faculty member has requested for reserves, we quickly explore the purchase options. The Libraries’ Collections Advisory Committee has determined that any reserve item request costing $350 or more will trigger a consultation with the appropriate liaison librarian. The librarian will review the request and determine if there might be a suitable substitute already in our collection, or, even better, an open educational resource. The liaison may determine that there is no reasonable substitute, in which case factors such as the number of students in the course, the license terms, and the potential for on-going use will be considered, along with the purchase price, in making the final decision whether or not to invest in the resource.
In light of the recent murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd as well as the clear need to take sustained, wide-ranging action against racism at an institutional level, the WVU Libraries Collections Advisory Committee has added a curated Anti-Racism Readings collection on Overdrive that includes both ebooks and audiobooks.
The Collections Advisory Committee’s charge includes “ensuring that selections for specific subject areas are adequate.” In line with this charge and the Core Values of the American Library Association, we believe that the particular histories of anti-Black oppression and underrepresentation that have marked this country since its beginnings need immediate and sustained attention. As Dean Karen Diaz points out in her recent blog post, “Now is when we must ask WHAT and WHOSE cultural record we are creating, amplifying and preserving.” Libraries are not neutral. Collection development and the decisions we make about what resources to add are always political, even when they’re not explicitly framed as such.
Change needs to happen at every level of the university to be truly systemic, and what we can do is help make sure the WVU community has access to relevant information by adding these resources. Change doesn’t happen through reading alone, but self-education and engagement with anti-racist ideas are crucial parts of the process.
We hope you will read and consider these texts in their wholeness and individuality, not simply as educational tools to check off on a prescribed list, and we hope that they become a springboard to introspection, conversation, and action here at WVU and beyond.