News: Academic Publishing Weekly

OverDrive acquires Kanopy, OUP shutters its printing arm, and a look at Sci-Hub

By Sabrina Cofer, digital media assistant, Choice
Academic Publishing Weekly: the latest curated news from around the industry. Purple background, white lettering.

OverDrive Grows Its Collection

OverDrive announced the acquisition of Kanopy this week, expanding its digital content roster. Kanopy, a video streaming service, has over 30,000 films and serves a variety of public and academic institutions. Founder and CEO of OverDrive Steve Potash stated, “Kanopy’s impressive catalog of films, shorts, children’s videos and documentaries will enhance options for all institutions to delight viewers of all ages.” Last year, OverDrive’s acquisition of RBmedia significantly added to its number of audiobooks and digital magazines; these two investments reflect the growing demand for video, audio, and other digital content in both the university and public library sectors. [Publishers Weekly]

How Can Small Presses Join the Open Access Movement?

new report from Information Power, an open access advocacy organization, looked at how to encourage participation from independent publishers in open access deals. Although the study found an overall uptick in OA articles published in hybrid journals in 2020, small presses and publishers face unique challenges in securing transformative agreements. In response, Information Power outlined a list of recommendations, which include: stronger communication and resource-sharing between institutions, a shift in funding priorities, and the inclusion of the university library in OA planning. [Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers]

The complicated legal distinction between selling physical books and ‘licensing’ e-books is one reason private attempts at subscription book services for monthly fees have mostly failed or had limited book availability.

Nathan Newman

The Ethics and Woes of Ebook Copyright Licenses

Last week, one state updated its ebook copyright licensing laws—are more changes to come? Nathan Newman for Slate Magazine breaks down the licensing agreements that libraries must enter with publishers, arguing that—especially after a year of such reliance on e-content—ebooks need to be made more widely available. Newman calls on Congress to overturn its copyright laws to not only expand ebook access, but also allow authors to earn their rightful keep. Newman argues that the issue is a two-fold problem for universities; not only do publishers limit the number of electronic copies of textbooks, but when they are available, they’re too expensive for libraries to purchase. As the demand for ebook and audio content continues to grow, will licensing laws face a restructuring? [Slate Magazine]

Quite a Week for Publishing Industry Smack-Downs

Eleanor Cummins for VICE shares a critical view of the publishing industry in a supportive piece on Sci-Hub, the website that provides free access to paywalled research. Cummins writes that Sci-Hub’s founder, Alexandra Elbakyan, has done a great service in making scientific articles available, even curbing the flow of misinformation in the process. The article includes perspectives from Sci-Hub users, who claim that the site grants them access to information quickly and accessibly. Cummins also touches on the oligopoly of the academic publishing industry, arguing that the conglomeration of publishers leads to bloated prices and an inequitable dissemination of information. What’s that battle cry? “Know thy enemy?” [VICE]

The End of a Printing Era

Oxuniprint (OUP printer) logo

Oxford University Press announced that it will shutter its printing arm this August, ending the centuries-long tradition. The first printing was in 1478, long before the university press’s start in the 1600s. The Unite union branch at OUP condemned the move, blaming the press’s decades-long outsourcing abroad, and arguing that printing “has always been fundamental to what we do.” An OUP spokesperson stated that the decision was not any easy one—Oxuniprint’s closure will mean the loss of 20 jobs. [The Guardian]