Virginia’s research libraries host virtual forum in advance of Elsevier negotiations

Representatives from the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, Old Dominion University, William and Mary, and James Madison University will soon be in contract negotiations with Elsevier, the largest science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) scholarly publisher. Working as a group, they will be discussing the unsustainable cost of accessing Elsevier’s academic journals and options to make their public universities’ research more accessible to the public that paid for it.

On Oct. 2 at 9:30 a.m., the group will host a Sustainable Scholarship Virtual Forum to share information about the group’s collective priorities concerning equity, accessibility, and costs of bundled scholarly journal packages. Forum moderator Brandon Butler, the University of Virginia Library’s Director of Information Policy, will also pose questions to the panel for discussion. Registration is open to all interested faculty, staff, students, and community members. Attendees can submit questions or discussion topics surrounding negotiation priorities and sustainable scholarship in advance, through the forum’s registration site.

“This is an opportunity to learn more about the upcoming negotiations, the libraries’ priorities surrounding equitable access to scholarship, the impact of changing models on access to research, and why the costs of large bundled journal packages are unsustainable. We will also discuss the possible futures of scholarly publishing,” said Butler. “As a group, we are working together to find the best solutions to continue to be responsible stewards of state funds while providing our faculty and students with the informational resources they need to research, teach, and learn.”

UVA’s John Unsworth, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries as well as a professor in the English department, states, “It is important for faculty as well as students to know that, as we move to reduce the amount of money we spend with the four publishers who consume a majority of our collections budgets, they will not lose access to the research and scholarship that they need.  In some cases, it may take a little longer — a day or two — but we will make sure that the most time-critical material is available immediately.”

Panelists include:
Carrie Cooper, Dean of University Libraries, William and Mary
Stuart Frazer, Interim University Librarian, Old Dominion University
Teresa L. Knott, Interim Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, Virginia Commonwealth University
Bethany Nowviskie, Dean of Libraries, James Madison University
John Unsworth, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries, University of Virginia
Tyler Walters, Dean of University Libraries, Virginia Tech
John Zenelis, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, George Mason University

As Butler notes, the negotiations with Elsevier are part of a larger conversation surrounding access and affordability, areas of growing concern in higher education nationwide, and areas in which libraries are poised to contribute. Sustainable scholarship, including Open Educational Resources and Open Access solutions, are key components of the goal to increase equitable access to library collections and improve higher education throughout the state.

All interested faculty, staff, students, and community members are invited to register and attend the forum.

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