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I've recently argued that libraries are in a perfect position to take over from current commercial publishers: they're already publishing our theses, ancient texts, data and many of our papers in institutional repositories. Thus, it would only be a small step and with the billions freed in funding from subscriptions no longer needed, the transition would be cheap and painless. In fact, I cannot see any reason justifying the involvement of corporate publishers, when libraries can do the same tasks better and more cheaply. Apparently, librarians feel quite the same way researchers do:
Had lunch with two of the Ph.D. librarians who run our central library to talk about the above. If you think scientists are upset about these issues … whoa Nelly … my library colleagues were practically spitting blood. We talked at length about possible solutions, including scenarios where ridiculous subscription costs could be diverted to pay publication charges in OA journals. They’ve got me convinced that it will be important for researchers and librarians to get on the same page as we work within our Universities for change. But after all, they are *our* Universities, and if anyone can change them, its up to us …Add to that this recent LSE post on the role of libraries:
Fundamentally the librarians in research supporting roles that I know want to bring down barriers to accessing scholarly research. Inflexible packages and rocketing prices don’t make that goal any more likely. That’s why the second point raised by this anonymous blogger is so resonant with me: “As far as we are concerned, publishers have ONE JOB: disseminating the results of our work to the widest possible audience” Again, Libraries want the same thing, and we want to help. University Libraries have a critical role in helping people find research, and many are now helping researchers make their work accessible with repositories or even hosting journal titles. Now is the time to speak to your librarian: cut subscriptions to corporate publishers, maybe just the ten most expensive journals, if their contract allows them to, and invest the saved funds in developing modern scholarly communication standards which will appeal to all faculty and helps bring scholarly communication back under institutional control.
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