Elaine Westbrooks gets it. She’s the Vice Provost for University Libraries and University Librarian at UNC-Chapel Hill, and she’s just inaugurated what looks to be a series of posts on the need to transform our relationship to scholarly journals (and, more importantly, their commercial publishers) with an essay that shows how very far we’ve come from the origins of scholarly journals as a service by and for scholars.
The same journal subscriptions that libraries once purchased at nominal cost directly from the societies are today breaking institutional budgets as publishers raise prices at many times the rate of inflation. Libraries no longer order journals from scholars acting to benefit scholarship. Instead, we must negotiate massive licensing packages with for-profit publishers, many of them answerable not to scholars but to shareholders.
Read the rest, and watch that space (and this one!) for more from Dean Westbrooks: The business model for publishing has not changed since the 17th century