ATG Article of the Week: Funding community controlled open infrastructure for scholarly communication The 2.5% commitment initiative

by | Mar 13, 2018 | 0 comments

Today Jonathan H Harwell and Leah Hinds posted the following questions on the ATG Media Discussion Group Facebook page:

  • Where are you on the 2.5% Commitment Initiative?
  • Has someone at your library calculated your support for open access?  

And for those of you who are not that familiar with this innovative initiative, they also provided a link to a relevant article appearing in College & Research Libraries News (which is also our ATG Article of the Week) in hopes that you would read it and tell them what you think.

So please take a look below and then click here to comment.


Funding community controlled open infrastructure for scholarly communication: The 2.5% commitment initiative


In August 2017, a short paper,The 2.5% Commitment,” was distributed on several email lists.1 The paper proposed that every academic library should commit to invest 2.5% of its total budget to support the common infrastructure needed to create the open scholarly commons. Somewhat to our surprise, the paper and the ideas it contained have generated widespread discussions and interest.

The paper was a response to the Elsevier purchase of Bepress and an article by John Wenzler that suggested that academic libraries faced a collective action problem, and that as a result they would never be able to create the open scholarly commons they aspired to. 2 Our experience working with open infrastructure projects has also made clear how little funding most of these projects have.

We, the authors, believe Wenzler has underestimated the academic library community. We believe that with some focused attention on the problem and by raising awareness of the consequences of inaction, we can change our behavior and create incentives for ever larger contributions to the common good. To that end, we have been working to move this agenda forward. We hope all academic libraries will join us in this effort and make the commitment to invest in open infrastructure. 3

Why 2.5%?

2.5% was picked because that is what is required if the U.S. academic libraries are to have $100 million annually to support open projects. This assumes 60% participation of all U.S. academic libraries who collectively have budgets of about $7 billion. 4 It is reported that $100 million is a little less than Elsevier paid for Bepress. 5 The figure is ultimately arbitrary. The more important point is the need for the library community to increase investment in common open infrastructure and open publications. What ultimately matters is the contribution, not the particular number…


Click here to continue reading the rest of the article.

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