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Scholarly Communication

The Crises in Scholarly Communication:
A Guide for Faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder

James F. Williams, II
Dean of Libraries: James.Williams@colorado.edu


The faculty here at CUB will recall the 2009/10 journal cancellation project which resulted in the cancellation of more than 700 current journals, valued at approximately $850,000. The main cause for this cancellation action is that research libraries in the academy live in an inelastic economy for journal publications, particularly so for publications in scientific, technical and medical disciplines. In other words, continuing and dramatic increases in journal costs with corresponding increases in the commercialization of scholarly publishing have negatively impacted access to the scholarly record. The gift culture in higher education and the system of scholarly communication that supports that culture is now at risk. Scholars and their library faculty colleagues can, however, create workable and scalable solutions to the crises at hand. This guide has been developed in an effort to create change in the system of scholarly communication in the best interest of the community of scholars here at UCB and beyond.

1. Raise the level of your consciousness about the crises, and act accordingly:


Visit the Create Change Website and find out how scholars can reform scholarly publishing:


Make every attempt to retain licensed rights to your intellectual property when negotiating with a publisher. You have the right to modify publishing contracts as they relate to access and use of your intellectual property. Consider the use of the following language in publishing contracts:

"Notwithstanding the above language, authorization to photocopy this manuscript for educational and fair use purposes in the classroom and for interlibrary loan is hereby granted. I also grant the right to place an electronic copy of this manuscript on a publicly accessible web site for educational and fair use purposes."

Check the subscription price of a journal before you agree to submit a manuscript:

Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory

You should also evaluate whether the journal meets its primary goal to serve the best interests of the community of scholars in your discipline:


Also consider submitting your paper to a SPARC-supported journal in your discipline:


2. Create a dialog among your colleagues about the central issues of the crises, and include some of the proposals to create change in the marketplace of ideas as the basis of this dialog.


3. Include the Subject Specisalist for your discipline in discussions on scholarly communication and journal pricing. Subject Specialists are listed by discipline in the UCB phone directory under the general heading "Libraries." Your Subject Specialist can also share information about the principles under which we work on contract/license negotiations with electronic publication vendors:


4. Consider a de-emphasis on quantity and a greater emphasis on quality in promotion and tenure deliberations in an effort to separate credentialing from the dissemination of knowledge.

5. Include the acceptance of electronic publications in promotion and tenure deliberations.

6. If you are an editor, consider moving your journal to a non-profit publisher, or consider moving it to become an open access journal:


The Open Access Directory is also an excellent resource for information on Open Access and how it benefits faculty, students and researchers:


7. If your scholarly society/association publishes a journal, encourage it to explore alternative publishing outlets outside of the commercial sector. In the meantime, also do what you can to support the journal's transition to electronic form.

8. Support the UCB Libraries' cancellation of expensive, low-use journal titles and encourage your colleagues to do likewise.

9. Support the UCB Libraries' participation in the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC):


10. If you are a NIH grantee, please comply with the NIH Public Access Policy


11. Authors should consider using the Sherpa Project site "to find a summary of permissions that are normally given as part of each publishers copyright transfer agreement."


The NIH also maintains a list of over 300 journals that submit articles directly to PubMed Central (PMC) on behalf of the authors:


12. Consider attaching an "Authors Addendum" to your next article, which will allow you to retain the right to make that article available in a non-commercial digital archive on the Web upon acceptance for publication, as well as assuring that you can make other uses of your work that support teaching and research.


NIH has suggested language as follows: "Journal acknowledges that author retains the right to provide a copy of the final manuscript to the NIH upon acceptance for journal publication for public archiving in PubMed Central as soon as possible but no later than 12 months".


13. If authors want a broader set of rights beyond NIH's language, please see the "Scholars Copyright Addendum Engine" from Science Commons:


rev 5/5/2009