This week, the University of California announced a possible boycott by faculty and researchers of Nature Publishing Group. UC felt they had to act after NPG was proposing a 400% increase in the UC site license subscription cost. The proposal is for faculty to stop submitting articles to the journal, stop reviewing articles, resign from editorial boards, etc., in addition to canceling subscriptions to NPG journals.
Official resources about the ongoing issue:
- The blog post from the California Digital Library that links to the PDF of the UC letter to faculty announcing the possible boycott.
- The article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, bringing the issue to the attention of the larger academic community.
- The Press Release issued by NPG as a response to the UC letter to faculty.
- The rebuttal from CDL (PDF) (and others) to NPG’s response (linked from this blog post)
A small selection of commentary by people smarter than me:
- Some pointers and thoughts, from Christina Pikas of Christina’s LIS Rant – A great, concise collection of additional information and commentary
- Shrinking budgets + skyrocketing subscription fees = UC boycott of NPG from Janet D. Stemwedel of Adventures in Ethics and Science – Dr. Stemwedel points out the future need for hiring and promotion and tenure committees to acknowledge the boycott and not penalize researchers for taking part.
- Gauntlet volleying from Dorothea Salo of the Book of Trogool – This is a wonderful commentary that provides some additional background on similar issues facing libraries.
- fight club soap from Bethany Nowviskie at nowviskie.org – a great article by a humanities scholar linking the recent UC/NPG issue, the serials crisis, the decline in monograph purchases by libraries, and the folding of university presses.
Is this the start of something? I emailed the Chronicle of Higher Education article to the faculty listserv at my institution, and one person actually responded saying ‘thank you’ for sending along the article. The library is just now formulating plans for an Open Access Week event on Campus – could this raise faculty awareness of some of these issues?
Is this what was needed to bring the problems with the scholarly research and publication economy to light? Or will all of this be forgotten by the time the fall semester starts?
I guess we’ll find out.