In this section: Understand the changes in the academic publishing environment and how American universities, including the University of Illinois, have responded.
Publishing industry evolves
Traditionally, scholars at research institutions have made their research available through a "gift exchange" arrangement, whereby they submit articles to publishers and serve on peer-review editorial boards with little or no expectation of personal financial gain, but with the implicit understanding that the publishers will provide the widest possible audience for their research. Scholars are typically rewarded by their institutions for their research publications through promotion and tenure systems.
As outlined by Edwards and Shulenburger in their article "The High Cost of Journals (And What to Do About It)": "beginning in the late 1960s and early '70s, this gift exchange began to break down. A few commercial publishers recognized that research generated at public expense and given freely for publication by the authors represented a commercially exploitable commodity."
Prior to this breakdown, most journals were published by scholarly societies that charged enough for their journals to break even and fund society activities, but were essentially not-for-profit ventures. By contrast, the current academic journal market is dominated by a few very large multinational firms that have methodically bought up the top titles in various fields and steadily raised prices for them.
Additionally, publishers began offering libraries packages of titles, known as "the big deal" or "bundling," instead of the traditional single title subscription model. While such bundling deals often mean that libraries pay less, on average, per title, it also means that libraries are often forced into subscribing to less-popular titles in order to gain access to the more heavily used journals in the bundle.
Universities take action
Universities nationwide continue to respond to rising journal costs and budget pressures through cancellation of journals, shrinking monograph budgets, and investments in initiatives and programs meant to diversify the scholarly publishing landscape. According to the Library Journal's annual Periodical Price Survey here are some of the recent major events:
- As of 2013, 21 institutions have signed on to the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity, committing institution funds to pay author fees charged by Open Access journals. The U.S. institutions are:
- Cornell University
- Harvard University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- University of California at Berkeley
- Columbia University
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer
- University of Michigan
- Duke University
- University of Utah
- University of Pittsburgh
- University of Tennessee, Knoxville
- Texas A&M University
- Emory University
- University of Rhode Island
- Similarly, In January of 2008, the University of California Berkeley started the Berkeley Research Impact Initiative, an open access journal fund. Faculty, post-doc and graduate students can apply for up to $3,000 to cover the cost of publishing an article in an open-access publication. Harvard University, the University of North Carolina, University of Wisconsin, University of Tennessee, and University of Oregon have launched similar programs. (See list Open Access journal funds list)
- Libraries — such as the University of Arizona, University of North Carolina, and University of Washington — reported elimination of hundreds of journal subscriptions.
- The Association of Research Libraries issued a statement to scholarly publishers pleading for price stability.
- Some libraries moved away from bundled journal subscriptions, opting either to pay individually for highly used titles and rejecting those that were infrequently used or to try a pay-per-use model.
- Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences agreed to require faculty members to make their scholarly articles available free online through the university's repository. (See Harvard's policy.) The University of Kansas and MIT have done the same, as have departments in other universities. For a current list, see the Registry of Open Access Repository Material Archiving Policies.
- Addressing the need for public access to federally funded research, the NIH adopted a Public Access Policy that "requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication."
What has happened at the University of Illinois
The University has experienced the same economic pressures as other U.S. schools with tight budgets, rising journal prices, increased demand for electronic journals and less money for monographs.
It is incumbent upon faculty, campus administrators and librarians to ensure the free flow of scholarly information in fulfillment of our campus missions to advance public good through research and education. Toward this end, CIC institutions are committed to supporting a sustainable publication process and a healthy publishing industry. Suitable publishing partners for academic enterprises should be encouraging the widest possible dissemination of the academy's work, and the management of copyright should be directed toward encouraging scholarly output rather than fettering its access and use. Protecting intellectual property rights is an important consideration, as many authors unwittingly sign away all control over their creative output. The CIC encourages contract language that ensures that academic authors retain certain rights that facilitate:
- Instructional use, and
- Sharing with colleagues to advance discourse and discovery.
The statement and addendum were written by the CIC — the Committee on Institutional Cooperation — a consortium of the Big Ten universities plus the University of Chicago.
As part of the CIC and along with other universities in the Illinois system, the library has been seeking collaborative agreements with journal vendors to minimize cost and allow the broadest possible access to journals.
In 2006, the Library launched IDEALS, the University's institutional repository. The Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS) collects, disseminates, and provides persistent and reliable access to the research and scholarship of faculty, staff, and students at the University. IDEALS now has over 16,000 items which have seen over 2 million downloads.
The university has also responded by joining various initiatives, such as:
- In 2008 the University signified intent to participate in SCOAP3, which would redirect money spent on subscriptions to High-Energy Physics journals to an open access initiative. The SCOAP3 initiative continues to gather pledges from institutions around the world.
- Also, in 2008, the University became a Supporting Member of the open access publisher, BioMed Central, giving Illinois scholars a discount on the publication fee for BMC journals.
- We also have a membership in Oxford's Nucleic Acids Research, which also provides University of Illinois scholars a discount when publishing in NAR.
Earlier in the decade (March 2003) the University of Illinois Senate passed a resolution recommending that:
- the Library and the faculty work to reduce costs of journals by communicating concerns to publishers,
- the Senate engage faculty in debate on this issue in order to encourage the faculty to facilitate such communication,
- the University encourage alternative publishing models, especially electronic publishing,
- the Senate consider the implications of electronic communication to the promotion and tenure process,
- the Senate endorse the Tempe Principles.