Hi. My name is Sarah Glassmeyer and I am a librarian.
I thought that there was no more perfect place than here - in one of the birthplaces of the American Revolution - to talk about a revolution that's been brewing in libraries. Actually, the revolution is not just in libraries. Just like the American Revolution wasn't just started in
or Boston this revolution isn't just happening in libraries. All pieces of the scholarly communication chain have been fighting their individual battles. It is my hope,
as the individual colonies were able to temporarily at least put aside their differences and unite for a common cause, librarians, teaching faculty and IT professionals will be able to work together in this cause. So there’s no doubt about who the British Empire is this extended metaphor, I mean information vendors.
I don’t hate information vendors. Many of our founding fathers and mothers didn’t hate the British Empire. I’m just saying that, like, the British Empire in revolutionary times,
vendors have gotten a little heavy handed.
They are taxing us to death. And, honestly, we’ve outgrown them in many ways and are more than able to do for ourselves what we’ve previously had to rely on them for. So yes, these are the times that try men's souls. Even prior to the recent economic troubles, libraries have been dealing with shrinking budgets and rising subscription costs. We've been making due..by canceling subscriptions or limiting services. But finally, we have been pushed too far
Libraries have finally had their Battle of Lexington and Concord..
Or maybe it was the Boston Tea Party. I wasn't a history major, so I'm not sure exactly which one
But anyway, here's what's happening right now in California... Nature Publishing Group raised the site license for the University of California system by 400%, or a little over a million dollars a year. Like I said, this has been happening. And libraries have been making due. But not this time.
UC libraries said no. Actually, it was a bit of a &quot;hell no.&quot; And not only did they say &quot;hell no&quot;, but they reached out to the UC faculty. And this is when it gets good. &quot;Sit in your office and eat popcorn
and watch the press releases and blogs posts fly&quot; good. Because when they &quot;reached out to faculty&quot;, they didn't just send an apologetic, &quot;we're going to have to cancel some more subscriptions&quot; Oh no.
They pointed out to the faculty that their scholarly output, the material that makes up the bulk of the content of these journals, amounts to about $19 MILLION dollars in revenue. Not only that, but teaching faculty provide hundreds of free labor hours by acting as editors, peer reviewers and advisory board members. So all of this millions of dollars worth of product and effort...which they then sell back to the university.
As librarian blogger Bethany Nowiski pointed out, this isn't much different than the movie fight club where the protagonists made soap from liposuctioned fat which then they sold back to the rich women who had the liposuction.
So. Here’s my challenge the law faculty in the room: if you haven't already, join us. Stop relying upon commercial vendors to disseminate your work. Put your papers in open repositories. Only submit to OA journals. Encourage your institutions’ publications to become open. Hassle your colleagues to do the same. Write a case book for CALI instead of a large publisher. Ideally, at some point, we will find similar open publishers for treatises and practice materials. I know I know BELIEVE ME I KNOW about the promotion tenure hustle. You need “real” publications. But guess what? Law faculty are self tenuring units. Encourage your collagues to accept these alternative publication streams.
Because we cannot continue going the way we are going. And if libraries have to keep fighting this battle all alone, we will lose. Our collections will be decimated as will our ability to provide anything but the most basic of services. But if we stand together, and the Free Law people are able to provide accurate and stable and authentic primary law, and the law schools are able to provide stable sources of journals and maybe some other secondary materials, that will open up library budgets to purchase lots of other things from the Information Vendors that we are not able to provide.
Thank you. Here's my contact information if you have any question or would like to discuss this further.