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Weekly News Digest

August 15, 2019 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

Cengage Responds to Authors' Breach-of-Contract Lawsuit

Cengage issued a statement in response to the class action lawsuit brought against the company claiming breach of contract. It says, in part, “We are disappointed to see this complaint against our efforts to improve students’ access to affordable, quality learning materials. … Our authors, like those at our competitors, saw declining royalties as a result of high prices that lowered students’ demand. The Cengage Unlimited subscription service was created to address this longstanding problem. It also enables a more sustainable business model for the company and our authors.”

For more information, read the statement.

Authors File a Lawsuit Against Cengage Claiming Breach of Contract

INFOdocket reports that on Aug. 12, “a group of textbook authors filed a class action complaint against Cengage Learning alleging breach of contract.” The full text is available here. It states, in part, “The Publishing Agreements each require that Cengage pay Plaintiffs royalties on the net receipts from the sale of their works. However, Cengage has adopted a class-wide policy of diluting the net receipts from which royalties are calculated and paid to Plaintiffs simply because the sale at issue happened to occur digitally. Cengage’s digital-sale financial alchemy violates the plain language of the Publishing Agreements.”

For more information, read the blog post.

A Minnesota Library Considers Going Fine-Free

David Chanen writes the following for Minnesota’s Star Tribune:

Hennepin County officials are considering the elimination of overdue library fees and amnesty for patrons who already owe money.

Under existing library policy, patrons who owe more than $10 in late fees can’t check out library materials, but they do have access to all other library services. Library staff will work with people on a partial payment to possibly reinstate library privileges until the rest of the debt is paid.

More than 72,000 people, or 13% of those with an active library card, are over the $10 limit. The county received about $600,000 in overdue fees last year, a tiny portion of the library system’s $86 million budget for 2019. …

‘In Hennepin County, we are not hesitant to look into the elimination of fines and haven’t ruled it out,’ said Interim Library Director Janet Mills. ‘We are always looking at ways to remove barriers to access.’

For more information, read the article.

The University of California Sends a Message to Elsevier

Robert Sanders writes the following for the University of California–Berkeley:

A group of prominent University of California [UC] faculty say they will step away from the editorial boards of scientific journals published by Elsevier until the publishing giant agrees to restart negotiations, which stalled in February and left the 10-campus system without subscriptions to some of the world’s top scholarly journals.

A letter circulating since July 12 throughout the UC system and already signed by 30 faculty from four UC campuses warns Elsevier that the signatories will suspend their services on editorial boards of the 28 Cell Press journals, which are among the premier journals in the field of biology and Elsevier’s flagship publications. About one-third of all UC Berkeley scientists who serve on editorial boards for Cell Press have signed the letter. …

‘This is a way of drawing attention to the issue,’ said Matthew Welch, a UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology who helped draft the letter. He is on the editorial board of the lead Cell Press journal, Cell.

‘This is not going to affect the day-to-day operation of the journals in a tangible way,’ he added, ‘but it would send a message to the journals that we don’t have to participate in this process if the university is unable to successfully negotiate with them in good faith. We have lots of other choices, as far as where we exert our efforts and submit our papers.’

For more information, read the article.

APA Studies Reveal How Hard It Is to Talk About Climate Change

The American Psychological Association (APA) released two study results from recent conference sessions finding that “[h]aving productive conversations about climate change isn’t only challenging when dealing with skeptics, it can also be difficult for environmentalists. … The first of the studies found that reinforcing belief and trust in science may be a strategy to help shift the views of climate change skeptics and make them more open to the facts being presented by the other side.” The second study finds “that igniting a sense of resilience and perseverance can increase action and engagement around climate change for people who work in aquariums, national parks and zoos.”

For more information, read the press release.

EdCo to Release New Fundraising Platform

EdCo—which helps K–12 schools, teams, and groups manage fundraising opportunities—will roll out a new platform in time for the new school year. It will feature a better mobile experience for creating fundraisers, adding team and donor contacts, sharing fundraising pages, and asking for and receiving donations. Additionally, according to the press release, “The EdCo team has also integrated tools like Double the Donation into the donation flow. Double the Donation automatically identifies corporate matching gift opportunities in only a few clicks.”

For more information, read the press release.

Verizon Clashes With Library Over Mobile Hotspot Fees

Jon Brodkin writes for Ars Technica, “A small library that lends out mobile hotspots is facing a tough budget decision because one of its borrowers accidentally ran up $880 in roaming fees, and Verizon refuses to waive or reduce the charges. The library has an ‘unlimited’ data plan for the hotspots, but Verizon says it has to pay the $880 to cover less than half a gigabyte of data usage that happened across the border with Canada.”

(Since the article ran, Verizon has backtracked and agreed to credit the library’s account for the full amount of fees.)

For more information, read the article.

The MIT Press Releases Report on Open Source Software

The MIT Press published “Mind the Gap: A Landscape Analysis of Open Source Publishing Tools and Platforms,” which “catalogs and analyzes all available open-source software for publishing and warns that open publishing must grapple with the dual challenges of siloed development and organization of the community-owned ecosystem. … Funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the report ‘shed[s] light on the development and deployment of open-source publishing technologies in order to aid institutions’ and individuals’ decision-making and project planning.’ It will be an unparalleled resource for the scholarly publishing community and complements the recently released Mapping the Scholarly Communication Landscape census.”

For more information, read the blog post.

ProQuest Rialto Draws Publisher Partners

ProQuest announced the following:

A group of renowned global academic publishers have announced that they will contribute their expertise to the development of ProQuest Rialto. Rialto is a comprehensive marketplace that enables libraries to acquire content from a variety of publishers and platforms.

Emerald Publishing, Oxford University Press, SAGE Publishing, Taylor & Francis Group and The University of Chicago Press will work with ProQuest to shape the new product. These publishers join a group of 10 academic libraries who have also signed on as development partners, ensuring a three-way, content-neutral conversation between libraries, the publishing community and ProQuest. … Rialto will be initially available to its development partners in December of this year before its broader launch.

For more information, read the press release.

Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli
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