Late last year, the news of Elsevier’s acquisition of bepress, the provider of the popular Digital Commons repository platform, sent a shockwave throughout the library community.
While this move was unwelcome, it was not surprising. For the past several years, Elsevier’s long-term strategy has visibly shifted away from an emphasis on managing content, and moved directly towards becoming a powerhouse in data analytics. This is evident in the diversity of their more recent acquisitions, which appear to be designed to allow them to stake an ownership claim in all functions vital to the research cycle—from data gathering and annotation, to sharing and publication, to analytics and evaluation. The high-profile acquisitions of SSRN and Mendeley signaled this trend, and the bepress deal simply put an exclamation point on it. And Elsevier is not the only commercial player moving in this direction. Similar actions by other large vendors are growing more common in this space, as well.
Directly following the bepress news, Kathleen Shearer, executive director of the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), and I wrote a blog post to help frame our organization’s responses to this development.
…discussions [with SPARC members online and in person] drove home the reality that the community shares a common concern: “Everything we have gained by opening content and data will be under threat if we allow the enclosure of scholarly infrastructures. The infrastructure that is at risk directly contributes to the decision-making functions across higher education institutions, from faculty recruitment and student enrollment to research productivity and other areas that feed directly into university rankings, student and faculty retention, and successfully securing research funding.
SPARC’s Heather Joseph Discusses “Securing Community-Controlled Infrastructure” in New C&RL News Column
Filed by September 5, 2018on