Librarians Protest Science‘s Departure From JSTOR, Fearing a Trend, from the Chronicle

…the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced in late July that it would pull its flagship journal, Science, from JSTOR… According to the announcement, the AAAS, as the association is known, was merely joining ‘an increasing number’ of large scientific-society journals that were ‘digitizing and controlling their own content.’ … Over the last few months, several library consortia have passed unanimous resolutions depicting the move as a major blow to libraries.

I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this development. On the one hand, I wholeheartedly approve of professional societies taking control of their own publications. On the other hand, the AAAS already seems to have pretty firm control over Science: it has its own website with all content on it; it’s not like Elsevier journals, the content from which are on Elsevier’s site. On the gripping hand, I agree with the executive director of JSTOR, quoted in this article:

…publishers’ creating their own sites, he argues, doesn’t “change the value or necessity of having a third-party archive.”

And then the article ends on what strikes me as a fairly pathetic note:

Librarians, however, say they see the need to take a stronger position on behalf of the values they profess. Library deans are “tired of being pushed around,” says Ms. Blake, of the Greater Western Library Alliance. “This is not the last issue upon which we will take a stand.”

What else will they do?

“That isn’t clear yet,” she says. “But this is the first step in the push back.”

We’re as mad as hell and we’re not going to take this anymore! What do we want? What’s our plan? We have no idea.

Please! We need to do better than this, as a profession. When something like this makes the news, librarians need to have talking points! We need a consistent message! We can’t just go around saying “this is bad, get back to us.” PR, we need better PR! Other organizations are spending brazillions of dollars on PR for causes that will be far worse for libraries than this; we need equally strong work to be done on our behalf.