Library Committee, New Brunswick Faculty Council
Statement and Resolutions on the Crisis in Scholarly Communication
April 15, 2005

Committee and charges

NBFC Members
1. Dan Fishman, Chair Dfish96198@aol.com Grad.Schl. of Applied & Profess. Psychology
2. Richard Bumby bumby@rci.rutgers.edu
bumby@math.rutgers.edu
Math;
Livingston College
3. Uli Kremer uli@cs.rutgers.edu Computer Science
4. Jim Niessen niessen@rci.rutgers.edu World History Librarian
5. Derek Shilling dschill@rci.rutgers.edu French
Non-NBFC Member
1. Howard Dess dess@rci.rutgers.edu Librarian,
Chair, New Brunswick Collections Group
Email Consultants
1. Haym Hirsh hirsh@cs.rutgers.edu Computer Science
2. Fred Kauffman kauffma@rci.rutgers.edu Pharmacy

Charge 1. Continue to serve as liaison with the University-Wide Copyright Committee. Consider revisions of the draft university copyright policy in relation to recommendations made by Library Committee. Report on the University-wide review of the copyright policy by the Senate.

Update: Last year a copyright policy draft was made public. Feedback on the draft from the NBFC was provided via open discussions at two NBFC meetings and written comments from the NBFC. Feedback was also solicited from the Senate Committee reviewing the draft. On the RUL web site home page, there is now a link to the following: Final Proposed Draft Copyright Policy for Rutgers University Community Comment (4/20/2004)  [PDF] Marianne Gaunt reports that “In addition to the two meetings at the NBFC where we have gotten comments, we have had open meetings on all campuses, have met with the Council of Deans in New Brunswick, had focus group discussions, gone to each campus, met with various groups (faculty chairs, etc.), and taken online comments through our website.” The relevant Senate Committee is now completing a final vetting of the document before sending it to the full Senate for a vote. Action is expected this semester or next fall.

    

Charge 2. Follow development of issues related to scholarly communication in the digital era that ensure continued wide dissemination and cost-effective access to scholarly work. Review the Scholarly Communications Steering Committee's Final Report and evaluate recommendations made in the report concerning institutional leadership and intra-institutional cooperation for enhancing scholarly communication.

BACKGROUND OF CHARGE 2

Relatively Low Cost Alternatives to Present Proprietary Publishing

Last year the Library Committee presented a statement that documented the present crisis in scholarly publishing. This consists of the skyrocketing of the costs (as set by commercial publishers) of the journals, monographs, and other scholarly materials that university libraries need to acquire to support its faculty in the context of relatively flat library budgets. (See Appendix 1 for a copy of the 2004 Statement.) Additional indicators of the crisis have recently been compiled by RUL's John Keisers and Jim Niessen (see Appendix 2.) Also, a number of university faculty senates — e.g., Columbia, Cornell, the University of Kansas, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison — have recently passed related faculty senate resolutions calling for the active pursuit of low-cost or no-cost alternatives to the present, proprietary-centered system. A copy of the Wisconsin resolution is attached as Appendix 3.

The 2004 Statement also points out that “Relatively low-cost traditional journals and open access online alternatives, either currently available or under development by members of the academic community, are viable alternatives to commercial publishing venues.” During the past year, a number of important developments have occurred in the growth of such online-based alternatives to commercial publishing. Examples are:

RUL's Revision of Its 5-Year Strategic Plan

RUL is now revising its 5-year Strategic Plan, including many implications for addressing the crisis in scholarly publishing in addition to a variety of other issues, such as the physical plant of the RUL. Ron Becker, RUL Head of Collection Development, is chairing the Strategic Plan Committee. Information about the web site can be found by first going to http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/staff.html, and then clicking “Strategic Planning.”

Establishing a Standing Committee on Scholarly Communication

Last year's NBFC passed the following resolution proposed by the NBFC Library Committee on April 16, 2004:

Establish a Standing Committee on Scholarly Communication composed of academic and library faculty as well as administrators to:
  1. Analyze alternative publication methods including business models that are currently under consideration.
  2. Support the adoption of efficient and cost-effective methods for disseminating and archiving scholarly work by Rutgers academic community.
  3. Evaluate and ensure that new models of publication adopted at Rutgers meet high quality standards required for academic promotion and tenure.
We recommend that faculty invited to serve on the committee of this resolution include all those who are currently involved in initiating new modes of scholarly communication, or serving as editors of scholarly publications in their fields. To this end, we recommend that the University establish and maintain an up-to-date database listing faculty who serve as editors of scholarly journals, monographs and books in their respective fields.

For a number of years and continuing in the present, there has been a Rutgers University Libraries Advisory Committee (RUL Advisory Committee), consisting of faculty from a variety of disciplines along with librarians and RU administrators.[See http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/rul_adv_com/members.shtml ] Over the past year, this committee has carried out the functions in last year's NBFC resolution for a “Standing Committee on Scholarly Communication”. As of Nov. 5, 2004, the members of this RUL Advisory Committee included: Marianne Gaunt , RUL, Chair; Susan Albin , Industrial Engineering, Busch; Georgia Arbuckle-Keil , Chemistry, Camden; David E. Axelrod , Genetics, Busch; Douglas Blair , Dean's office, CAC; Monica Devanas , Teaching Excellence Center, CAC; Uri Eisenzweig , French, Douglass; Susan L. Golbeck , Education, CAC; Judith Grassle , Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Cook; Steven J. Hanson , Psychology, Newark; Fred Kauffman , Pharmacy; Busch; Andrew Kirkman , Music, Douglass; Richard Lehne , Political Science, Douglass; James P. Masschaele , History, CAC; Meredith McGill , English, CAC; Richard Novak , Continuous Education and Outreach, CAC; Delia Pitts , Asst VP Student Affairs, CAC; Marlie Wasserman , RU Press, Livington.

The RUL's Information Web Site for Faculty: “Scholarly Communication and You”

This site can be found at http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/about/rusci/rusci.shtml . It provides a wide variety of important information and information resources concerning the crisis in scholarly publishing and issues related to scholarly publishing in a digital age. For example, it describes ArXiv.org , “the physics preprint server that has revolutionized its discipline over the past decade.” (Note that this server now includes not only Physics, but also “Mathematics, the Nonlinear Sciences, Computer Science, and Quantitative Biology.”)

RESOLUTIONS FOR CHARGE 2
April 15, 2005

In the context of the above background, the New Brunswick Faculty Council (NBFC) Library Committee recommends adoption of the following resolutions:

  1. Strategic Plan That Rutgers University Libraries (RUL) continue to seek consultation from the New Brunswick Faculty Council as RUL develops its new Strategic Plan.
  2. Digital Project Possibilities That RUL and faculty consult with each other about the kinds of digital projects that are possible to increase the cost-effectiveness of scholarly communication, such as faculty-run e-journals using the RUL platform, digital dissertations, “self-archiving” (preprint/postprints), and datasets.
  3. Faculty Input in Setting Digital Project Priorities That the faculty advise RUL on the priorities and sequence for the digital projects outlined in item 2. This input would occur through the RUL Advisory Committee (see item 6 below) and through campus-based library committees such as the NBFC Library Committee.
  4. Updating the RUL Scholarly Communication Web Site That the RUL continue to update their “Scholarly Communication and You ” web site and to inform faculty about relevant issues, policies, resources, and so forth. For example, we recommend that the following information be added to the web site:
    In addition, we specifically recommend that the RUL work towards creating and making easily available to faculty two types of information about each scholarly journal: cost per article, and journal impact factor. Such information would be of great value in assessing promotion, FASIP, and other related materials.
  5. Consultation on the RUL Scholarly Web Site Thatthe “Scholarly Communication and You” web site be developed by RUL in consultation with faculty input from the RUL Advisory Committee (see item 6 below) and from campus-based library committees, such as the NBFC Library Committee.
  6. The RUL Advisory Committee That the RUL Advisory Committee continue to function as a “Standing Committee on Scholarly Communication,” as envisioned by last year's NBFC resolution. Specifically, we recommend:
    1. Creating a Database of Editors That Resolution 2 from last year's NBFC 4-16-04 meeting be implemented. This resolution calls for the development and maintenance of an accessible database of “all those [faculty] who are currently involved in initiating new modes of scholarly communication, or serving as editors of scholarly publications in their fields, . . . [including those who] serve as editors of scholarly journals, monographs and books in their respective fields.”
    2. Creating a Database Listserv Regarding the database in item 6A, that since communication among individuals in the database can be a very valuable contribution to the general discussion about efforts to address the crisis in scholarly communication, there be created a listserv for all members in the database. Also, that there be additional access by the members of the RUL Advisory Committee, campus-based library committees such as the NBFC Library Committee, and the RUL Scholarly Communication Committee. Such access would allow members of these committees to tap into the thinking of the database members and to solicit their input.
    3. Implementation That the implementation of Resolutions 6A and 6B be under the joint direction of both the RUL Scholarly Communication Committee and the NBFC Library Committee.

Note: In response to a request from the NBFC Library Committee, Marianne Gaunt asked Rob Heffernan of Institutional Research to extract a list of RU editors from the Faculty Survey entries over the past five years. Rob produced an Excel spreadsheet with 1077 entries, many of which are not positions as Journal Editor or Monograph Series Editor, but rather positions with titles like Associate Editor, Contributing Editor, Guest Editor, and Editorial Board member; and also a number of these positions are likely to have terminated over the past five years. On the other hand, this list provides an excellent starting point, and the next step is to go over this list in detail and select the items that seem to be actual editorship positions. Then the list can be circulated to the faculty for corrections and additions, and a final listserv created.

APPENDIX 1. FROM THE NBFC LIBRARY REPORT, 4-16-04

University library budgets can no longer keep pace with the expanding volume of published material and the rising cost of scholarly journals and monographs. For example, the world production of scholarly communication is estimated to have doubled since the mid 1980s; during this period the unit cost of serials has more than doubled (215%) according to statistics from the Association of Research Libraries, rising roughly four times as fast as the consumer price index over the same period. Some for-profit publishers use the technique of bundling major journal titles with lower tier journals and require multi-year contracts to lock in revenues. This strategy has increased pressure on library budgets and reduced the control that librarians have traditionally exercised in deciding the nature of collections.

Reed Elsevier's Science Direct is a well-known example of journal bundling.

The Northeast Research Libraries Consortium (NERL) recently negotiated a five-year contract (2004-2008) for Science Direct, and Rutgers and U Conn were among the majority of NERL members who agreed to this contract. Some other NERL members, Cornell and Harvard, chose to cancel their subscriptions to this package. Rutgers' contract is large (approximately 20% of our overall collection budget for the current year), but provides the full text of about 1200 Science Direct and Academic Press journals. The majority of NERL libraries have decided that the NERL/Elsevier contract was advantageous to their situations, but all would like to encourage other models of publishing to compete with for-profit publishers and pay less for scientific information and scholarship.

ssues of scholarly communications are complex, and they vary among research universities. Librarians at various research universities including RU have sought to keep faculty and staff apprized of the situation by organizing working groups and conferences and disseminating information online, as in the case of the Web site created by the Rutgers Libraries . In view of recent faculty resolutions at other universities and Rutgers' new approach to budgetary planning, it is timely and important for Rutgers faculty to seek alternatives to the current model for publishing and disseminating scholarly work.

Faculty governing bodies from other research universities that have developed recommendations concerning scholarly communication include:

The following universities have cancelled subscriptions with one or more major commercial publishers

APPENDIX 2. INDICATORS OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS IN ACADEMIC PUBLISHING AND LIBRARY ACQUISITIONS
(FROM JOHN KEISERS AND JIM NIESSEN OF THE LIBRARY, APRIL 2005)

  1. Projected decrease of library purchasing power from 1995 to 2007: - 80%
    This means that the projected increase in the library budgets between 1995 and 2007 is only sufficient to purchase 20% of what they could purchase in 1995 at the end of this period, as projected by Hawkins, in 1998.
    Source:Hawkins, B. L. (1998). The unsustainability of the traditional library and the threat to higher education. In B. L. Hawkins & P. Battin (Eds.), The mirage of continuity: Reconfiguring academic information resources for the 21st century, pp 129-153. Washington, D.C.: Council on Library and Information Resources and Association of American Universities
  2. Projected total cost of the 11 most expensive journals by 2015: $431,000, that is, the average cost of the 11 most expensive journals is projected to be $39,182 each
    Source: Association of Research Libraries (2000, August 11). Scholars under siege, http://www.arl.org.
  3. Ratio of per-page costs for leading non-profit and commercial economics journals: 1:24
    Source:Bergstrom, T. C. (2000, Dec 1). Free Labor for Costly Journals? University of California Santa Barbara. http://www.econ.ucsb.edu/~tedb/jep.pdf
  4. High journal prices are sometimes inversely correlated with quality. For example, in Economics, the 6 most-cited economics journals listed in the Social Science Citation Index are all nonprofit journals and their library subscription prices average about $180 per year. Only 5 of the 20 most-cited journals are owned by commercial publishers, and the average price of these five journals is about $1660 per year.
    Source: Bergstrom, T. C. (2000, Dec 1). Free Labor for Costly Journals? University of California Santa Barbara. http://www.econ.ucsb.edu/~tedb/jep.pdf
  5. Increase in subscription fees, 1986-2002: 260%; increase in serials cost per unit, 215%; increase in monographic expenditures, 66%; increase in monographic cost per unit, 66%.
    Source: ARL Monograph and Serial Costs in ARL Libraries, 1986-1999, http://www.arl.org .

APPENDIX 3. UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON RESOLUTION

Faculty Senate Resolution in Support of Accessible Scholarly and
Scientific Publication Submitted by the University Library Committee
University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries

Whereas, the commercialization of academic publishing threatens to undermine the research enterprise and the dissemination of knowledge to society, and

Whereas, as journal costs spiral out of reach, many scholars, researchers, students, and Wisconsin citizens are being cut off from vital knowledge resources, and

Whereas, as the university becomes less able to afford access to commercial journals and databases, the University of Wisconsin-Madison must, therefore, become less dependent on commercial information systems as the means of accessing and disseminating research and scholarship, and

Whereas, consequently, faculty and academic staff researchers — particularly those publishing in science, technology, engineering and medicine — must take action to ensure that their works are accessible to advance research and learning, and specifically should consider publishing their research articles in:

Therefore be it resolved that the University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Senate supports and encourages the efforts of the campus libraries to control the cost of journals while maintaining high-quality research collections, and urges both the library and faculty to support alternatives to commercial ownership and management of scholarly and scientific publication.

March 2005