Hiding the costs of information

abernard102@gmail.com 2012-08-20


The other day, as I was trying to find a journal article, I noticed that the link to the full text of the article was labeled “Free to you.”  This amused and frustrated me, because I knew exactly how much the library was paying for access to this journal.  It was most definitely not free, but the costs had already been paid.  In this case, the publisher was doing a great job of hiding the cost of this item from the end users.Hiding the true cost of information resources won't do us any good. As I thought about this, I realized that libraries have largely been complicit in this campaign to shield end users from the real costs of information... For example, most libraries don’t actively talk to faculty about the costs of the journals they subscribe to... Librarians have been talking about a “serials Crisis” for 30 years, but just last week an online petition to boycott Elsevier has gained momentum... At my institution, we promote interlibrary loan as a way to fill in the gaps in our journal coverage, but we never tell patrons (faculty or students) what it costs for us to acquire these materials... We sometimes pay fees to lending libraries, and we often have to pay copyright clearance fees if we borrow too many articles from the same publication... Go read this excellent post about why interlibrary loan can’t fill in our access problems long term. Likewise, not all libraries fully engage their users when it comes to making difficult decisions about cuts to subscriptions... Along the same lines, we need to do a better job of showing faculty the things we do to preserve their access to information sources.  Things like cutting the number of student worker positions, cutting the travel and professional development budgets and forgoing (sometimes badly needed) renovations. As a result of this lack-of-transparency, most faculty don’t see the real need to explore alternatives to the big for profit (and nonprofit-that-acts-like-for-profit) publishers – green and gold open access, alternative publishing models, etc...”




08/16/2012, 06:08

From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) » abernard102@gmail.com


oa.new oa.gold oa.business_models oa.publishers oa.comment oa.green oa.advocacy oa.signatures oa.petitions oa.boycotts oa.elsevier oa.libraries oa.costs oa.librarians oa.repositories oa.journals



Date tagged:

08/20/2012, 15:16

Date published:

02/03/2012, 16:03