On March 30th Yohanna travelled to the the Danish Royal Library in Copenhagen, at the invite of League of European Research Universities (LERU) Information Group, to talk to them about the #ebooksos campaign
#ebooksos is a UK based grassroots campaign, founded by Yohanna, in response to academic publishers restricting access to ebooks and increasing the price of them for libraries by as much as 500% during the COVID pandemic.
LERU is an association of 23 prestigious European research universities that influence policy in Europe.
Though the ebook crisis is an international one, the #ebooksos campaign has thus far only had the resources to focus on lobbying the UK Government and the UK Competition and Market Authority (CMA), for market investigation and intervention. The invitation from LERU is not only recognition of the importance of the campaign, it also presents a significant opportunity for the campaign to work with colleagues in other jurisdictions to increase pressure on publishers and legislators. Collaboration with influential and wide-reaching allies offers a greater chance of success in securing fair pricing and access to ebooks for libraries.
With senior representatives from elite institutions across Europe in attendance, Yohanna delivered a presentation on the huge challenges librarians are facing in supplying access to the key resources that students need to complete their studies and the substantial work #ebooksos has done so far to bring attention to the issue (slides of the presentation can be access here https://academicebookinvestigation.org/2021/02/18/ebooksos-on-tour/ ).
The talk concluded with suggestions of how the prestigious universities could help to further the cause of the campaign, such as,
- Empower their teams to speak out and challenge the obstructive practices of publishers
- Lobby EU parliament and legislators on behalf of libraries regarding ebooks
- Work to inform researchers and academics at their own institutions on the questions they should be asking publishers before signing contracts to publish books with them.
The presentation was enthusiastically received and, during breakout discussion sessions that took place after the presentation, it was evident that the difficulties and frustrations faced by UK libraries were shared across the continent.
The meeting marked an important milestone for the #ebooksos campaign as it works towards the goal of effecting change via cross-border and cross-sector collaboration with peers and influential stakeholders. If libraries are to continue to fulfil their critical purpose of providing access to information to those who need it, it is essential that library leaders follow the example set by LERU and engage with one of the greatest challenges facing libraries today and actively support those working for change.
Yohanna could not have been made to feel more welcome by LERU and, as well as receiving a tour behind the scenes of the breathtaking Black Diamond and original Royal Danish Library, she was thrilled to be presented with a mobile celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the Bohr atom, discovered by one of Copenhagen’s many Nobel Prize winners of Copenhagen University, Neils Bohr.