Locally Produced, Locally Published: Hampshire’s Scholarly Communications

As the semester wraps up, I am beginning to organize and prioritize my summer projects. Foremost among them is planning outreach activities around open access and scholarly communication with our faculty at Hampshire. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to give a quick talk at the School of Critical Social Inquiry’s weekly meeting about these issues. Using my new favorite tool, Storify, I narrated my talking points. The faculty were really engaged and I had some follow up about articles and interest in exploring these issues in more depth. To that end, I am brainstorming about ways to engage faculty and students about these issues come fall.

In a recent edition of edSurge, there’s a topical posting about Harvard’s stand against the unsustainable pricing structure of academic journals:

“TOO DEAR FOR HARVARD: Last year Harvard spent $3.75 million in subscription fees for scholarly journals–including at least one with fees above $40k and others in the “tens of thousands,” complains the Harvard Faculty Advisory Council. “Prices for online content from two providers have increased by about 145% over the past six years,” says the note. Faculty are advised to “consider submitting articles to open-access journals, or to ones that have reasonable, sustainable subscription costs.” Estimated cost for an undergrad year at Harvard (including room & board): $52,652.”

True, it’s ridiculous that Harvard is crying poor over acquisitions prices when many other instituions, including mine, have far fewer resources, but I am impressed with Harvard’s support of open access. One of the giants needs to stand up to publishers, needs to lead on the charge to re-imagine scholarly communication for the 21st century that provides space for open access publishing and sustainable practices among commercial ones as well.  This is all in contrast to Yale’s silence on the issue, best captured in this article from the Atlantic. While I have faith in the grassroots effort to reform scholarly communication, it’s helpful that one of the big libraries in in the fight with us.

More food for thought as I make plans for the fall.