In theory, I fully support the idea of struggling against the unbelievable, unaffordable prices that I see every day, and, even better, making knowledge available to all.
But being in a small, teaching institution where faculty face the “publish or perish” alternative in a quite traditional manner, I’ve always felt that there was little to do. The open access movement has been for me a noble initiative, shining at distance like a beautiful moon.
Attending the European meetings of ICOLC on behalf of AMICAL in 2016
and 2017 has been like landing on that moon. The kingdom of Gold Open
Sustained by EU policy
and belonging to big national consortia, the visionary participants to
ICOLC Europe are fully involved in open access negotiations, aiming to
make the entire research output of their home countries publicly
accessible. Moreover, not satisfied with the current pace of open access
publishing initiatives, many European institutions started urging for a
faster, global transition, planning to
make it happen by 2020.
Dr Ralf Schimmer (Max Planck Digital Library) says:
regular subscription focus with its limitation to read access
privileges is just not good enough anymore. Publishing and reading are
but two side of the same medal. They are interrelated and need to be
combined in our service level agreements with the publishers.
Three years from now? Are they crazy? And what if they are right? And above all, what can AMICAL do here?
is not a big national consortium and doesn’t have the power of
negotiating open access agreements with publishers. Yet, it could do
Inspired by the preceding experiences of a couple of member institutions, the Electronic Resource Committee approached Knowledge Unlatched
(KU), whose mission is to work with libraries and publishers to promote
open access for books and journals in the humanities and social
Every year since 2014 KU has been selecting and
submitting to libraries a well selected list of scholarly titles. By
participating in the pledge, libraries commit to pay the cost of
publishing these titles with Creative Commons licenses. To this day, KU
has already secured open access for 443 monographs.
Helped by a
generous consortial offer, a small squad of five AMICAL member
institutions has just landed in open access territory by signing the KU
2017 pledges for both
books and journals.
If successful, the American University in Bulgaria, the American University of Kuwait, the American University of Paris, Ashesi University College, and John Cabot University – together with many other libraries will
“liberate” a pouch of 343 monographs and 21 journals selected by 40
librarians from 12 countries.
For everyone, everywhere. Fingers crossed, Knowledge Unlatched!
The KU pledge is open until November 30. Details for the offer to AMICAL libraries are in Connect. Join the squad, AMICAL friends!