October 22, 2019

Interview: UNC at Chapel Hill University Librarian Elaine Westbrooks on Academic Publishing, Open Access, and Elsevier

From The Well (UNC Publication):

There’s really no other industry where the creator and the consumer are one and the same, but the final product is apart from the creator and the consumer,” said University Librarian Elaine Westbrooks. “That cycle has made publishers quite wealthy.”

In an era of rising costs and declining revenues, the traditional model of academic publishing is unsustainable for universities, Westbrooks said. Now, Carolina is among the academic institutions seeking to challenge the status quo and innovate for the public good.

The interview contains seven questions/answers. Here are two of them.

Q. What are you looking for in a new contract with Elsevier?

A: Elsevier is the world’s biggest publisher of scientific information, and we have a multimillion-dollar contract with them. Given its relevance to science, technology and health care, it is at the top of our list. The subscription cost of journals is rising at a rate three to four times inflation. We’re negotiating with Elsevier to find out what kind of license we can sign that will be affordable, sustainable, promotes open access and is transparent. Those are the four values that we have set. We’re at a tipping point where it’s just not possible to keep doing business as usual.

Q. What are you looking for in a new contract with Elsevier?

A: Elsevier is the world’s biggest publisher of scientific information, and we have a multimillion-dollar contract with them. Given its relevance to science, technology and health care, it is at the top of our list. The subscription cost of journals is rising at a rate three to four times inflation. We’re negotiating with Elsevier to find out what kind of license we can sign that will be affordable, sustainable, promotes open access and is transparent. Those are the four values that we have set. We’re at a tipping point where it’s just not possible to keep doing business as usual.

Direct to the Complete Interview

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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