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Bibliodiversity in a time of crisis


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Bibliodiversity in a time of crisis – what is popular demand and how can we ensure equal access to information?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become evident that access to research information has not been equal across the globe. Giving sufficient access to information has become crucial while the universities had to transform to digital teaching platforms overnight, and libraries had to close their physical collections for users. Many students did not have relevant access to course literature for a long time, while the libraries were struggling to figure out how to work around licensing deals for print-only collections and limited digital usage for their e-books. Publishers reacted pretty quickly with opening up free access to selected article collections or full titles within entire subject areas. At the same time, they managed to ramp up their negotiations for transformative agreements and read & publish deals. Voices were raised that this was not enough to cover the need for access to sources for the university students and the general public. Many students and library patrons were still asking for easier access to content that is not covered by the significant agreements paying for open access. Equal access to information is an essential aspect for both publishers and librarians to consider when planning for future deals. We need to spend the resources wisely and equally. There are a few examples available that will be highlighted in this talk.