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In a move that could signal the beginning of a significant shift for its business model, publisher Elsevier has agreed to its first “read-and-publish” deal with a national consortium of universities and research institutions in Norway.
Rather than paying separately to access content behind paywalls and make selected individual articles immediately available to the public, the Norwegian consortium has signed a deal that rolls the two costs into one.
This new kind of “big deal” is a big deal because there are a growing number of librarians and negotiators who believe this model will reduce subscription costs while boosting open-access publications. Eventually, some believe, the model could eliminate paywalls altogether.
So-called read-and-publish deals are gaining traction but are still highly unusual. Many publishers have been slow to embrace the model, fearing the long-term impact it may have on their income. That said, Springer Nature, Wiley and Taylor and Francis have all struck a handful of such deals in recent years.
By failing to reach read-and-publish agreements, Elsevier lost business. The University of California system recently canceled its Elsevier subscription for this reason. National consortia in Germany, Hungary and Sweden also canceled their Elsevier subscriptions.
Norway, too, was ready to walk away. The consortium declared in a press release just last month that they were canceling their deal, stating that Elsevier’s offer was “far from fulfilling the requirements of Norway for open access.” At the time, Elsevier published a statement saying that Norway was “essentially asking to receive two services for the price of one.”
That the consortium and Elsevier managed to reach a deal is, therefore, a breakthrough. But whether the arrangement is a good model for other universities is less clear.
In a press release on Tuesday, representatives from the Norwegian consortium said they were pleased with their agreement. But there are few details in the press release about the terms of this agreement.
The deal is framed as a two-year pilot, which will give seven universities and 39 research institutions access to Elsevier journals as well as cover the open-access publishing costs of articles published by researchers employed by the universities when their pieces are published in an Elsevier journal. Reporting by The Financial Times suggested the deal would cost 9 million euros ($10.1 million), an increase of 3 percent over the consortium’s previous agreement, which did not include open-access publishing costs. In essence, the deal is a step toward paying to publish research, rather than paying to read it.
A key difference between this deal and the failed read-and-publish deals with Elsevier is that the Norwegian consortium appears to have been willing to pay more than its current subscription to cover the cost of open-access publishing. Other consortia have refused to settle on deals that did not bring down costs significantly, said Roger Schonfeld, director of Ithaka S+R’s libraries, scholarly communication and museums program. He suggests that perhaps Elsevier may have softened its stance on read-and-publish deals in response to recent high-profile cancellations.
A Norwegian open-access website called Openaccess.no suggests that the deal will cover open-access publishing costs of up to 90 percent of articles published in Elsevier journals by members of the consortium. Around 400 journals owned by academic associations, as well as third-party titles Cell Press and Lancet, are not part of the agreement. The site reports, however, that these journals will be asked to participate in the pilot.
The deal may please those focused on the philosophy of open access, but not those seeking to cut the costs libraries face to provide journal access.
Whether the deal is a good one or not “depends on your perspective,” said Jon Tennant, an open-access advocate. “The Norwegian negotiation team have a tough problem to solve, between being progressive or disruptive and balancing the needs of the researchers they represent. From that view, this is a success -- a small amount of progress.”
Tennant feels the deal is “one step forward, two steps back.” He thinks the negotiators should have walked away from a deal rather than settling on one that represents an increase over current subscription costs.
“It is absolutely unclear what these funds are being spent on,” he said. “It seems like the amount being charged is ‘this is how much revenue we get from you now, and this is how much OA you can get whilst sustaining that revenue,’ and completely divorced from the true costs of publishing within an effective, modern communication system.”
“Norway is paying €9 million for the prestige of publishing within Elsevier,” said Tennant. “It’s nothing to do with the cost of publishing, or the inherent value of the research. It shows that the power dynamics in this space are all still backwards.”Publishing IndustryEditorial Tags: PublishingIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box:
When the University of South Carolina last week revealed the names of the four finalists vying to be its next president, students and faculty immediately saw that something was off: all four are men.
That concern grew even louder on Monday, when student activists met with university officials and learned that the finalists had been chosen from a larger list of 11 semifinalists -- all of whom are men as well, according to students. The university did not respond to a request to confirm the statement.
“We find it very difficult to believe that there are no qualified female candidates for this position,” said Megan Rigabar, a South Carolina senior who has helped lead a growing protest against the process. “USC didn’t find them -- and we don’t think they were looking hard enough.”
In response, students and faculty have signed on to an open letter protesting the process, if not the finalists themselves.
In a statement, university spokesman Wes Hickman said the search committee “made a commitment to pursuing a diverse pool of candidates and took proactive steps to make that happen.”
Though just two of the 11 members of the search committee are women, according to South Carolina’s presidential search website, Hickman said the firm Parker Executive Search “deployed an all-female and diverse recruitment team to assist the effort.” The firm did not respond to a request for comment.
Hickman said the committee saw a pool of more than 80 candidates who were "diverse in terms of both underrepresented minorities and gender. These four finalists are the leaders that the search committee believes are best qualified and prepared to serve as our 29th president. While the pool did not result in a female finalist, each of these candidates has expressed a strong commitment to diversity," he said.
Melissa Trotta, associate managing principal of the Washington-based firm AGB Search, said most presidential candidate pools include “greater gender balance” than this one. “A more diverse finalist pool requires that there is greater diversity in the semifinalist group selected for first-round interviews. Search firms will typically be attuned to ensuring diversity in its various forms, starting with the semifinalist candidates invited for interviews.”
The university’s Board of Trustees is expected to vote on the position Friday. South Carolina has never had a female president. In December, Joan Gabel, its first female provost, was named president of the University of Minnesota -- where she'll be that institution's first female leader.
The four South Carolina finalists are: John S. Applegate, executive vice president for university academic affairs in the Indiana University system; Robert L. Caslen Jr., senior counsel to the president and interim chief financial officer at the University of Central Florida and former superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; William F. Tate, dean of the graduate school, vice provost for graduate education at Washington University in St. Louis and past president of the American Educational Research Association; and Joseph T. Walsh Jr., vice president for research at Northwestern University in Chicago.
In its listing, South Carolina says the new president should possess a “strong commitment to diversity and inclusion,” among other qualities.
Higher Ed Mostly Female
The all-male finalists’ pool stands in contrast not just to the demographics of the University of South Carolina, where 54 percent of students are female, according to federal data -- but to higher education in general.
Longitudinal data from the U.S. Department of Education show that the number of women in undergraduate institutions surpassed men in the 1980s and has only risen since then. In 2018, women were projected to represent 56.2 percent of undergraduates.
In its most recent survey, the American Council on Education found that the percentage of bachelor’s colleges led by female presidents rose from 23 percent to 28 percent between 2006 and 2016. Nearly 33 percent of public bachelor’s colleges were led by a woman, it found; at private nonprofit institutions the figure was just over 26 percent.
At doctorate-granting institutions like South Carolina, the figures were slightly lower: nearly 22 percent overall had a female president, with 23 percent at public institutions and 20 percent at private institutions.
Kim Churches, CEO of the American Association of University Women, said the fact that not a single woman was even a semifinalist for the South Carolina role is “quite frankly, astonishing. The University of South Carolina is a public institution, and as such, receives federal and state funding. Unequivocally, there are lots of qualified women for top positions in academe, and it is incumbent upon search committees to be proactive in identifying and recruiting them. Given the pool the search committee presented, it appears like an inclusive process to bring diversified candidates didn’t happen.”
Churches said the exclusion of women in this case “clearly suggests to me that the legacy of discrimination and bias is alive and well.”
The search committee was led by Hubert F. Mobley, a member of the university’s Board of Trustees and 1978 alumnus of the School of Pharmacy. He did not respond to a request for comment.
South Carolina’s release of the finalists' list led students, faculty and staff this week to sign the open letter demanding that the finalists more closely match the university's diversity, The State reported. By Tuesday, the group had grown to encompass 32 student organizations and more than 70 faculty and staff, students said.
In an interview, Rigabar, the student who has helped lead opposition to the process, said she and other students have asked the board to release demographic details on all 80 candidates. The search “is a symptom of a broader issue of systemic gender inequality” at the university, she said.
A classmate, Jordan Wayburn, said the search process has been “incredibly opaque,” with little access to information about the candidates.
Students on Tuesday said they are trying to garner enough support to persuade trustees to postpone Friday's vote and consider a more diverse group of finalists. While Tate, one of the four finalists, is African American, Rigabar said, “Gender diversity, it seems, has been ignored.”DiversityEditorial Tags: College administrationWomenImage Source: Olivia HalversonImage Caption: Students Megan Rigabar, Lauryn Workman and Emily Fisher speak on Monday at a forum for University of South Carolina presidential finalists.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: University of South CarolinaDisplay Promo Box:
The Birth of a Nation, released in 1915, is a film full of racist images. White people, many in blackface, portray (and denigrate) black people as dangerous and unintelligent. The Ku Klux Klan is glorified. The film was wildly popular with white audiences who cared nothing about its racism.
The film has also been studied for years, not only for its reflection of certain ideas at the time, but for its use of film techniques such as fade-outs that were unheard-of until the film but became standard. Many film experts have called the film a technically brilliant work of horrifically bigoted ideas. The American Film Institute includes the film among the "100 greatest American movies of all time."
But should it hold a place of honor in a film school?
In March, Arri Caviness, a film student at Chapman University, gathered a group of fellow students and posed for a Facebook photo around a poster from the film (above). Two posters from the film were up on walls in the Chapman film school, along with other historic movie posters.
"Why does Dodge College of Film & Media Arts, The Hollywood Reporter's 6th best U.S. film school, still condone the celebration of white supremacy?" Caviness's Facebook post asked.
Other students got involved and organized a rally in which they talked about the impact of walking by posters that celebrate a notoriously racist work of art.
Initially, President Daniele Struppa refused to take the posters down.
In an essay in the student newspaper, Struppa wrote that the film was significant, even if it was racist.
"Censorship, including removing a poster, is always hideous, even when done with the best intentions. We must resist the temptation to whitewash our past and to edulcorate reality. Reality is harsh, unpleasant and ugly -- and what we have done in the past is often awful and shameful. But this is no reason to hide it," he wrote.
"The truth is that our great country has a checkered history, just like every other country. And on our country is the stain of slavery. It is a stain that cannot be washed away and one we will always have to contend with. The best way to contend with it is not to remove anything that reminds us of the horror but instead confront it with open eyes."
As students continued to protest, however, he agreed to a film school faculty vote on the matter. When professors backed the removal of the posters this week, Struppa immediately ordered them taken down.
The president then released a statement praising the faculty vote.
"While I know this has been a difficult decision and there was disappointment that I did not just act on my own and have the poster removed, I do hope that faculty and students appreciate the importance of how this decision was made. I felt strongly that it could not be imposed by me as an act of authority, but rather requested by the faculty who best understand the impact of the decision on their school and on the students’ educational experience. On the basis of the many conversations I had with my colleagues, I know their decision is predicated on their love for their students and their desire to eliminate anything that could be an obstacle to their learning."
A Chapman spokesman said that the film would continue to be taught.
A Film With a Terrible Influence
Thom Andersen, a film professor at the California Institute of the Arts, said in an interview that he would never have had the posters up in the first place.
"It's inconceivable to me that anyone would think that was the right thing to do," he said. "That's not talking about the film. That's honoring the film."
Andersen said that there is no question about the film's significance.
"It was the first blockbuster film, it was the first long film. It was in a way responsible for the success of movies in the United States," he said.
But Andersen added, "I don't think there is a film that has had such a negative impact on our society. As a film promoting the Ku Klux Klan, it helped lead to a rebirth of the Klan, not only in the South, but in the Midwest and Southern California. And by perpetuating a false sense of history about Reconstruction, the film helped lead to Jim Crow laws, to the disenfranchisement of black people, to lynchings." The film alone didn't do all of those things, he said, "but it made a large contribution."
Andersen said he would never want a professor prevented from teaching the film if he or she wanted to do so. But he said that there may be better ways to cover that period.
When he has taught film history, he has focused for that period on Within Our Gates, a 1920 film that depicted (accurately) the racism and violence faced by black people. The film was produced by Oscar Micheaux, seen as the first major black film producer in the United States. Within Our Gates is in many ways a historically accurate answer to The Birth of a Nation, Andersen said. (One of the students who responded on social media to the original calls for taking down the posters wrote, "Do they have a poster for an Oscar Micheaux film as well? If the defense is that this is historical (which is always going to have some racism in it in a historically racist society) then one would think it responsible to celebrate such an undercelebrated and equally important African American filmmaker from our history.")
While there are "reasons why one might choose to teach" The Birth of a Nation, Andersen said he rejected the idea that history requires it. "To me the history of cinema is rich enough that there are no films that have to be taught," he said.
On Monday, after the posters were removed, Caviness posted to Facebook another shot of the poster advertising The Birth of a Nation. The caption by Caviness: "It's gone."DiversityEditorial Tags: ArtsImage Caption: A Facebook photo that galvanized studentsIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: Chapman UniversityDisplay Promo Box:
In a number of academic freedom disputes in recent years, the professors whose comments have been subject to scrutiny have been harshly critical of Israel's government, generally over its treatment of Palestinians.
Many colleges have stood by faculty members who have criticized Israel, but some have not. Consider the case of Steven Salaita, who thought he had been hired by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign but never was able to take his position. In the case of Salaita and others, critics of these academics have said that they do not object to criticism of Israeli policies, but to tones that they say cross a line.
Now a DePaul University professor is facing criticism for the tone of his writings on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this case, students demanding that he apologize and go to sensitivity training are arguing that his pro-Israel writings demean Palestinians in ways that are bigoted.
The center of the new debate is Jason D. Hill, a tenured professor of philosophy. His views are not new, but the demands from students that he apologize have taken off since he published an article this month in The Federalist defending the right of Israel -- as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed -- to annex large portions of the West Bank.
Of the Six-Day War, Hill writes, "Under a different set of political sensibilities, the Palestinian people would have been militarily removed from the area because, morally speaking, after the 1967 war, they never belonged there. The proper response from Israel should have been to immediately annex the land and make the people there the responsibility of their original political homeland: Jordan. There can be no such thing as legitimate 'Palestinian Territory' in a geographic region legally seized in a defensive war instigated by a foreign aggressor. The purpose of war is always to vanquish the enemy. The losers of the war cannot make demands on the victors that the victors themselves would not have been put in the position of meeting had the adversary or enemy not forced the victors into making it in the first place."
In discussing the Palestinians, Hill writes, "Not all cultures are indeed equal. Some are abysmally inferior and regressive based on their comprehensive philosophy and fundamental principles -- or lack thereof -- that guide or fail to protect the inalienable rights of their citizens. Given the voting patterns of Palestinians -- towards Islamicism and terrorist organizations for the most part -- that openly advocate and work for Israeli and Jewish destruction and annihilation, a strong argument can and ought to be made to strip Palestinians of their right to vote -- period."
A student petition organized as that column was shared on campus says in part, "We, the students of DePaul University call upon the administration to censure Professor Hill for his heinous statements against marginalized communities. His comments create unsafe and uncomfortable spaces for everyone, especially Palestinian and Muslim students who now all refuse to enroll in a class that is taught by Professor Hill. We are not only seeking censure, but for Professor Hill to commit to racial sensitivity training and to release a public apology for his immoral conduct."
The petition also notes that DePaul "claims to uphold the Vincentian values of social justice, service and community" and suggests that Hill's actions run counter to those values. DePaul cited those values in 2007 when it rejected the tenure bid of Norman G. Finkelstein, who had the backing of the political science department where he taught, but whose promotion was blocked by the president in part related to the tone of his anti-Israeli writings. The letter rejecting Finkelstein said in part, "In the opinion of those opposing tenure, your unprofessional personal attacks divert the conversation away from consideration of ideas, and polarize and simplify conversations that deserve layered and subtle consideration. As such, they believe your work not only shifts toward advocacy and away from scholarship, but also fails to meet the most basic standards governing scholarship discourse within the academic community."
In response to questions about the petition, DePaul released a statement that did not criticize Hill but also distanced the university from his positions.
"It should first be noted that Professor Hill’s statements do not reflect the views of DePaul University, but are his personal views on the subject," said the statement. "DePaul recognizes academic freedom must be an integral part of an intellectual institution. This freedom belongs not only to faculty, but students and all other members of the DePaul community. Protecting academic freedom requires that we maintain an environment where the members of our university community articulate, challenge and defend their ideas; however, that does not eliminate the need for empathy and concern."
Via email, Hill said that the university has not talked to him about his statements. He said he would not apologize as students have asked.
"I think we live in an age where there is an abysmal lack of intellectual and moral leadership," Hill said. "I take myself to be such a leader, and I have no intentions of issuing any apologies. I've spoken what I believe to be the truth, and I stand firm in what I believe in."
Hill added that he believed that the students were trying to violate his academic freedom.
"The student petition violates my academic freedom because it calls for the university to use what some regard as offensive speech as a criterion for shutting down free speech. The students are asking that their subjective criterion for offensiveness be treated as objective and obvious and transparent criterion for what constitutes bigotry," he said. "Free speech includes the right to offend."
John K. Wilson, an independent scholar who writes about academic freedom on "Academe," the blog of the American Association of University Professors, on Tuesday published a piece there questioning the idea that Hill is a hero for academic freedom.
Wilson noted a piece by Hill in The Hill in which he suggested colleges and universities need to be rebuilt with conservative values because of what Hill sees as the problematic views of most faculty members today.
"Ordinarily, the best way to counter an intellectual adversary is through a contest of rational faculties," Hill wrote. "The person with reality on his or her side, with the best relevant facts and strongest arguments, usually wins. But today’s scholars in humanities and social sciences increasingly declare that modern argumentation is a white, Western form of domination and linguistic imperialism that silences racial and ethnic minorities and devalues their 'lived experiences.' One cannot argue with such people. The only alternative is to shut them down."
Wilson contrasted Hill's call to "shut them down" with the calls by Hill's student critics for him to apologize (as opposed to demanding that he be fired).
"It’s Hill, and not his critics, who demands censorship of ideological enemies. He wants existing universities destroyed and rebuilt according to his conservative views, and literally says about left-wing professors, 'shut them down,'" Wilson wrote. "At a time when leftist students are regularly denounced as oppressive totalitarian censors, it’s important to pay attention to a case like this where a professor has expressed deeply offensive and stupid ideas, and yet the left-wing students are not responding with calls for censorship, but with more speech. By contrast, the conservative professor is the one who advocates repression of academic freedom on a massive scale."Editorial Tags: Academic freedomImage Caption: Jason D. HillIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: DePaul UniversityDisplay Promo Box:
The "Bennett hypothesis" -- the subject of much debate among think tank analysts and higher ed researchers and in these pages -- holds that increases in federal financial aid give colleges and universities subsidies that "blithely" allow them to raise their tuitions. (The eponym for the hypothesis, then education secretary William J. Bennett, had a way with words.)
The belief that this is so continues to influence federal policy makers with a small-government point of view -- including members of the Trump administration who have cited it as justification for proposals to constrain certain student loan programs.
Most of the research examining the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of the Bennett hypothesis has focused on loans for undergraduates. But Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University, this week followed up a 2017 study on law schools with one exploring the impact of federal Grad PLUS loans on tuition rates and debt levels in two expensive forms of professional education: medical schools and business schools.
The study, published in Research in Higher Education (abstract here, and a prepublication version of the study here), explores the impact that a major increase in the availability of federal loans for graduate school more than a decade ago had on medical and business school tuitions and student debt burdens.
Kelchen's conclusion: not much of one at all.
"I did not find consistent evidence that either business of medical schools systematically increased tuition and fees following 2006, and this generally resulted in student debt burdens remaining on their prior trajectory," he writes. (Kelchen notes that differences appeared in his two methodological approaches to the data, but that even the largest effects he found were "relatively modest in size.")
Kelchen's primary explanation for the lack of meaningful effect on tuitions of the injection of newly available funds for students to borrow is that medical and business schools were reluctant to raise tuitions in the wake of the loan limit increases because the "optics" of doing so "would not be favorable for higher education." He acknowledges that selective business schools at public universities were somewhat more likely to raise their tuitions than were their peers at less-selective schools (public and private), many of which did not have strong student demand.
"This difference by selectivity fits the Bennett Hypothesis 2.0, which posits that selective institutions will be more able to increase tuition than less-selective institutions," Kelchen writes.Student Aid and LoansEditorial Tags: Federal policyFinancial aidFinancial aidImage Source: Istockphoto.com/LPETTETIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: