From last month’s paper/call to action on “biblio diversity”, co-authored by Kathleen Shearer, Leslie Chan, Iryna Kuchma, and Pierre Mounier:
The larger the decline, the more difficult it will be to reconstitute diversity into the system. There is a real danger that new budget constraints and an increasing concentration of funds directed to large commercial entities could lead to even greater homogeneity and monopolization.
The authors refer here to the now-inevitable post-Covid budget hatchery—a reality that must have unfolded as they wrapped up work on their important paper. The contraction-to-come does set in relief their apt but suddenly imperiled discussion of non-APC funding models:
And while some funders and libraries are investing in non-APC open access publishing […] the amount of funding available for these types of services represents only a small portion of the total funds in the scholarly communications system. This is partly because libraries and funders have not yet integrated into their operations robust, alternative funding models that allow them to direct funds to non-APC journals and other types of open services and infrastructures. There is a reluctance to embrace new models that are non-transactional (that is, do not involve a pay for access or pay to publish transactions), where they cannot easily demonstrate that services are provided directly in exchange for funding. Alternate funding schemes that enable organizations to support the diversity of services will need to be widely adopted if we are to protect and nurture a healthy scholarly communications system.
Subscribe-to-open and especially library partnership schemes like the Open Library of Humanities’ will be harder to build—unless librarians make a conscious priority shift away from tolled and/or read-and-publish deals.