Swedish researchers’ responses to the cancellation of the big deal with Elsevier
flavoursofopenscience's bookmarks 2020-11-11
Olsson, Lisa, Camilla Lindelöw, Lovisa Österlund, and Frida Jakobsson. 2020. “Swedish Researchers’ Responses to the Cancellation of the Big Deal with Elsevier”. Insights 33 (1): 25. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.521
Abstract: In 2018, the Swedish library consortium, Bibsam, decided to cancel big deal subscriptions with Elsevier. Many researchers (n = 4,221) let their voices be heard in a survey on the consequences of the cancellation. Almost a third of them (n = 1,241) chose to leave free-text responses to the survey question ‘Is there anything you would like to add?’. A content analysis on these responses resulted in six themes and from these, three main conclusions are drawn. First, there is no consensus among researchers on whether the cancellation was for good or evil. The most common argument in favour of the cancellation was the principle. The most common argument against cancellation was that it harms researchers and research. A third of the free-text responses expressed ambivalence towards the cancellation, typically as a conflict between wanting to change the current publishing system and simultaneously suffering from the consequences of the cancellation. The general support for open access in principle reveals a flawed publishing system, as most feel the pressure to publish in prestigious journals behind paywalls in practice. Second, it was difficult for researchers to take a position for or against cancellation due to their limited knowledge of the ongoing work of higher education institutions and library consortia. Finally, there are indications that the cancellation made researchers reflect on open access and to some extent alter their publication pattern through their choice of copyright licence and publication channel.