News: Academic Publishing Weekly

Bloomsbury buys Rowman & Littlefield Academic, OA recommendations, and books for Pride

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Bloomsbury Purchases Rowman & Littlefield Academic

Bloomsbury Publishing acquired Rowman & Littlefield’s academic imprints, marking the publisher’s largest purchase. The acquisition will expand Bloomsbury’s work in the United States, with its chief executive Nigel Newton stressing that Rowman and Littlefield’s “40,000 academic titles added to ours will make us a significant US academic publisher, growing Bloomsbury’s academic and digital publishing presence in North America, opening new markets and publishing areas to Bloomsbury, and is a key milestone in our long-term growth strategy.” Publishers Weekly had coverage, highlighting comments from Rowman & Littlefield’s CEO Jed Lyons on the announcement and his plan for business areas not covered by the purchase. PW also shared thoughts on Bloomsbury’s recent sales report and how the acquisition will impact future profits.

A Look at Publishers’ AI Partnerships and Researchers’ Perceptions of the Technology

Investors’ Chronicle’s Jemma Slingo analyzed how publishers are approaching AI, following Informa’s AI partnership with Microsoft to license its backlist content. Slingo found that not all companies are following in Informa’s footsteps, as evident from recent AI copyright lawsuits. Noting the Informa deal, Slingo considered drawbacks and benefits of licensing agreements and acknowledged that, “With the help of third-parties, publishers have scope to transform their archives and create new learning tools.” Clarke & Esposito also commented on the Informa deal, addressing the impact of AI licensing partnerships on market consolidation and institutional site traffic. Next, a new Oxford University Press survey of 2,345 researchers found that despite widespread AI usage, uncertainty still abounds over the technology’s influence on critical thinking, intellectual property rights, and data security. As the surveyors underscored, “There are concerns about how AI will impact academic research more generally, with one respondent in three saying that she or he is worried that researchers’ skills will be negatively impacted.”

Equitable OA: Recommendations from OASPA and DIAMAS

The Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association (OASPA) has released a list of recommendations on equitable open access. The recommendations address several OA challenges for researchers and can be implemented by publishers and other stakeholders including libraries and funders. The drafted practices are open for community feedback through the end of June and OASPA underlined that it aims for the final version to “be a helpful and supportive framework for all publishing organisations seeking to build more equity and facilitate broader participation in OA.” The Developing Institutional Open Access Publishing Models to Advance Scholarly Communication (DIAMAS) project also published several OA guidelines, announcing the Diamond OA Standard (DOAS). DIAMAS shared that DOAS “combines comprehensive guidelines with a self-assessment tool to elevate standards in scholarly publishing” and draws on publishing criteria across several categories including funding and “Editorial Management, Editorial Quality, and Research Integrity.”

Springer Nature Signs New TA, Japan’s Approach to Open Access, and Another AI Lawsuit

Springer Nature is entering a new agreement with Couperin, a French academic consortium, providing those affiliated with 17 participating institutions the opportunity to publish open access. The partnership also enables researchers to read “over 2,200 titles across the Springer, Palgrave, and Adis imprints.” In other news, the Japanese government is moving forward with its plan to make all publicly funded research available open access. As reported by Nature, beginning this month “the science ministry will assign funding to universities to build the infrastructure needed to make research papers free to read on a national scale.” The move follows an announcement earlier this year to invest in standardizing institutional repositories, as Shimasaki Seiichi, director of the Space Development and Utilization Division at MEXT in Tokyo, explained that Japan will be centering on green OA due to its lower cost. Lastly, four educational publishers (Elsevier, Cengage Learning, Macmillan Learning, and McGraw Hill) are filing against Google for the “systemic and pervasive advertising of unauthorized, infringing copies” of their textbooks.

Pride Month Books and Barnes & Noble’s Top Picks of 2024 Thus Far

Happy Pride Month! In celebration, the Boston Public Library published its annual “We Are Pride” booklist, featuring 75 titles for all ages. The titles span a range of genres including nonfiction, memoir, and graphic novel, and were all published in 2023. For more books on queer and LGBTQ+ studies, you can read the first iteration of a new feature compiling forthcoming titles from Choice’s content vertical, Toward Inclusive Excellence (TIE). Next up, Barnes & Noble is out with its top books of 2024 thus far. Selections are sortable across numerous subjects and categories–fiction, history, fantasy, and, of course, “spredges.” Eric H. Cline’s After 1177 B.C.: The Survival of Civilizations from Princeton University Press also made the cut.