Universities Step Up the Fight for Open-Access Research
“Today’s deal,” reads the subhed, “is a big milestone on the path to dismantling paywalls around academic journals.”
Here’s Inside Higher Ed‘s headline:
A Landmark Open-Access Agreement
Landmark US agreement is hailed as ‘significant milestone’ in shift to open access publishing in North America.
And Publisher’s Weekly:
University of California, Springer Nature Sign Groundbreaking Open Access Deal
The headline hyperbole is, on the one hand, weird: The UC deal, though large, is mostly conventional, of a piece with the deals made by European consortia since 2014.
The headlines, indeed, seem to be lazy press-release mimicry. The UC release:
UC reaches groundbreaking open access deal with leading global publisher
And Springer’s own:
Landmark Transformative Agreement reached between Springer Nature and University of California
There’s nothing groundbreaking about the deal, even for the U.S. The bigger issue is that the coverage is a gift-wrapped present for Springer Nature and the other publishing conglomerates. Read-and-publish deals are about preserving the current subscription gravy train—and they’re succeeding in crowning the thirty-seven percenters as the OA royalty. Deals like this, moreover, promise to worsen global publishing inequalities.
A better headline: “UC Capitulates to Commercial Read-and-Publish Deal.”