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What publishers want librarians to know

Bernie Folan Bernie Folan Research and ConsultingIn 2017 a research project was undertaken uncovering librarians’ messages to publishers. The anonymous survey resulted in over 600 free-text messages which were coded, analysed and shared via a UKSG lightning talk, an Insightsarticle as well as other written pieces. Responding to demand, the reverse of this research project has now been undertaken – collecting publisher messages to librarians. The aim is to uncover prevalent attitudes, challenges and questions – from differing publisher roles – to build communication and understanding. This session will present analysed findings and invite discussion of recurrent or unexpected themes

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What publishers want librarians to know

  1. 1. What publishers want librarians to know FINDINGS FROM A 2019 SURVEY Bernie Folan | Research and Consulting
  2. 2. What I did  The reverse of a 2017 UKSG lightning talk research project where librarians shared messages to publishers  Anonymous survey - link shared widely via social media, listserves and helpful individuals  Asked participants to think about the last six to 12 months and share their messages for librarians
  3. 3. Who responded
  4. 4. 56% from UK & Ireland; 18% N America, a mix of others
  5. 5. Emerging themes 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% Communication Need for collaboration Organisational or structural issues or need for… Librarian roles and responsibilities Books Collection development
  6. 6. Communication  Talk to us  Collection development decisions  Educate researchers/authors  Editorial want to talk to you directly too  What information from us is useful?
  7. 7. “Please, librarians, encouage authors of journal articles to understand the difference between "good" and "bad" journals.. and I don't mean impact factor here. Please encourage and promote the many non-profit journals out there that are trying to do something "good" for science..not merely make money.” Editorial, Non-Profit publisher, Europe “You've cried wolf for years - why is this year any different? When you constantly complain about < insert something: money, service, profits, lack of funding, etc> it makes it really difficult to help you when there are actual problems. If you keep complaining it doesn't help get your message across - what it does it convince me that I should ignore those complaints. And when a problem does arise, I don't believe you.” Account Manager, Very large professional publisher, N America "Please provide feedback" I get very little feedback from speaking to librarians about what it is they actually want from our products and/or acquisition models despite giving them ample opportunity on a regular basis. To then see feedback from those same librarians on public forums can come across as hypocritical and weakens relationships.” Account Manager, Very large professional publisher, UK & Ireland
  8. 8. Trust, relationships and perceptions We’re not all the same / all evil We are educated - even sales people Tell us what you want We are specialists too How can we build trust? We’re on the same side
  9. 9. “Don't tar us all with the same brush. Some of us really want to move thing forward with OA, new technology etc.. The more you treat me like a vendor the more likely I am to behave like a vendor.” Account Management, Intermediary, UK & Ireland “A cup of tea is always welcome when we visit!” Senior Management, Large professional publisher, Global “Please judge me by the service I provide not by who my employer is.” Account Management, Large professional publisher, UK & Ireland “Please aim your critiques carefully; not-for-profit publishers are not the same as big commercial presses. The academic community picks up the rhetoric and runs with it, and everyone gets confused about what the problems are and who is doing what.” Editorial, University Press, UK & Ireland “Very few people go into scholarly publishing for the money.” Account Management, V large professional publisher, N America
  10. 10. Need for collaboration Work with us Join forces to move initiatives along faster Find solutions together How do you want to work with us?
  11. 11. “Library Publishing is a big growth area but it is very hard for librarians to devote time and resources. We have battled with trying to get the message to them that we are here to help them on their publishing journey.” Sales / Business Dev, Intermediary, Global Publisher's are often villainized but it is difficult to convey that we are most likely trying to perform a balancing act. We have a very large amount of journals for Social Science & Humanities which could not work as open access journals. Flipping all content to open access would not be best serving those researchers. This doesn't mean we don't want to support the objectives of encouraging open access and I personally have worked on campaigns to help institutional funding for OA go further. When the argument is often simplified to the narrative of "publishers are bad" it does a disservice to collaboration efforts. We are not perfect, but is serves us to work better with librarians. Marketing, V large professional publisher, UK & Ireland
  12. 12. Publishing Economics  Stop paying for-profits  You have the power – do you know it?  Make time for smaller publishers  OA transitions impact on smaller and society publishers
  13. 13. “Please try to make some time for small, not-for-profit publishers. We know you need to focus on Elsevier et al., but if we can't make OA deals with you we'll disappear and you'll only be able to deal with the huge corporates.” Editor, Scholar publisher, UK & Ireland “One of the difficulties in negotiating the Post Plan S world, both for scholars, publishers, and I suspect for librarians too, is the lack of clarity regarding a) how Open Access publishing funds will be dispersed and to whom (to authors directly, to universities, to libraries?, to publishers directly?), b) what role consortia, such as JISC, have when speaking to and for a market regarding Open Access funding programs vs subscription purchases. The lack of clarity seems to have the market frozen in place.” Senior Management, Society publisher, Global “It can be extremely hard to speak truth to power behind the closed doors of some commercial organisations, despite our own views. Help us change unfair systrems in pricing, access and policy by deciding where you spend your money and by honest and unequivocal engagement with the senior teams of publishers.” Sales & Busines Dev, V large professional publisher, UK & Ireland We are trying to repond to Plan S by flipping journals and by making R&P agreements, but the truth is we don't know the future and so these are scary experiments for smaller publishers.” Editorial, University Press, UK & Ireland
  14. 14. Organisational structures need for change  Resourcing and downsizing  Which department does what in Universities?  Time is needed to transform our operations – threats in rushing things  What will you buy if not content? Services?  Future of the librarian role?
  15. 15. “Transitioning from a subscription model to Open Access is enormously complex for us. We want to make it work, but we won't be able to do it in the next 12 months as Plan S envisions. If we are forced to transition too fast, popular and valuable journals will be closed down.” Sales & Business Development, University Press, UK & Ireland “In the UK, university libraries are asking for transformative (OA journal )agreements. However, when presented with such agreements, they are most often rejected. Acquisition Departments and Scholarly communication Departments are unable to cooperate to benefit of the institutions they serve. they often have different objectives and budgets structured in such a way that cooperation is difficult.” Sales & Business Development, Large professional publisher, UK & Ireland “Academic book publishers have, over the past few years, been focusing on making productivity gains, and as a result have reduced their resourcing of almost all areas of their businesses.” Editorial, V large professional publisher, UK & Ireland “Why are we continuing to hire librarians on term contracts? We need to rethink investing in information professionals long-term” Anonymous
  16. 16. “Librarians need to stop seeing themselves as clients of for-profit corporations- stop accepting the free swag and the free alcohol and food at corporate-sponsored conferences. Engage with faculty about open access instead. Promote researcher-led open access and start or encourage university press open access publishing initiatives.” Editorial, Scholar publisher, UK & Ireland “Listen to researchers, question ideologues.” Account Management, V large professional publisher, UK & Ireland
  17. 17. Coded anonymous data will be available very soon… Bernie Folan @berniefolan bernie@berniefolanconsulting.co.uk