Invitation to Mason faculty to join the conversation on Sustainable Scholarship

Virginia’s seven public academic research libraries (George Mason University, along with University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University, College of William and Mary, James Madison University, and Old Dominion University) will soon be at the contract negotiating table with Elsevier, the largest STEM scholarly publisher, in an effort to reduce our shared access costs to the Freedom Collection, Elsevier’s flagship academic journal bundle.

Our shared Elsevier contract represents a collective yearly expenditure of $10 million and is scheduled to expire on January 1, 2022, with five percent inflation in the final year of the contract. In light of substantial budget cuts and ongoing fiscal uncertainty – as well as the unsustainable models favored by large publishing conglomerates who control access to academic journals – Virginia universities are considering our next steps for both cost reductions and future sustainability.

In preparation for these negotiations, we are implementing UnSub, an analysis tool that will help us make sound, data- informed decisions about the value of the Elsevier Freedom Collection and our other journal packages. The data we collect, along with additional information about sustainable journal collections, will be made available to the university community on our website throughout the fall. For an example of one large university system’s effective use of UnSub, see this recent Science magazine article.

We know that any changes to the way we share and access information affects our entire academic community. Our faculty are key partners in making any necessary changes, and we welcome your input. If a successful outcome is not reached through negotiations, we – and our partner universities – will continue our common commitment to delivering the resources students and faculty need to do their research and academic work.

We invite you to attend the upcoming Sustainable Scholarship Virtual Forum on Friday, October 2 at 9:30 a.m., where VRL members will share information about the group’s collective priorities concerning equity, accessibility, and the costs of bundled scholarly journal packages.

We have collated some resources about sustainable collections and journal pricing on our Sustainable Collections site. We hope you will find this information, particularly the “Six Things Faculty Need to Know”, helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have additional questions.

Visiting Writers Series – September 17

The Visiting Writers Series goes virtual! Mason’s Creative Writing Program, along with the Libraries and Fall for the Book, has announced the lineup for the Fall 2020 Visiting Writers Series, featuring two writers each in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Writers will meet for virtual afternoon workshops with students from Mason’s MFA program in creative writing and will then participate in virtual programs that same evening—open to the public and combining brief readings and conversation with hosts from Mason’s creative writing community. All evening programs will begin at 7 p.m.

The first event of the semester will feature Robin Hemley, in conversation with Professor Tim Denevi. Hemley’s latest book, Borderline Citizen: Dispatches from the Outskirts of Nationhood, focuses on his journey across the world, and the way such a trip impacts the mind of the traveler. Part of the Fall for the Book Festival, the event will take place on Thursday, September 17, at 7 p.m. via Crowdcast.

Future events include:

  • Thursday, September 24: Joan Naviyuk Kane (poetry), in conversation with Mason MFA student Ana Pugatch and BFA alum Eli Vandegrift
  • Thursday, October 8: Marjan Kamali (fiction), in conversation with Professor Courtney Brkic—Part of the Fall for the Book Festival
  • Thursday, October 22: Dan Beachy-Quick (poetry), in conversation with Professor Sally Keith —Part of the Fall for the Book Festival
  • Thursday, November 5: Michele Morano (nonfiction), in conversation with Professor Kyoko Mori
  • Thursday, November 12: Laura Sims (fiction), in conversation with Professor Courtney Brkic

Spring Edible Book Festival

March 12, 2020: THIS EVENT IS CANCELED

On April 1, celebrate the book arts through food! Mason Libraries’ Edible Book Festival features creative culinary projects inspired by books and stories. Entrants compete in fun prize categories – visitors eat the results!

Spring 2020 Festival Schedule

Monday, March 23         Edible Book Entry Deadline

Wednesday, April 1 | Festival Day | 1014 A+B Fenwick Library

  • 11 a.m. – 12 :30 p.m. ~ Edible Book public viewing + voting
  • 12:30 p.m. ~ Award Ceremony
  • 12:30 – 2 p.m. ~ Eat + enjoy the Edible Books

DiSC Research Connections: Noel Johnson

March 12 , 2020: THIS EVENT IS CANCELED

Join us for the next DiSC Research Connections presentation on Tuesday, March 24, 3 – 4 p.m. Noel Johnson, Associate Professor, Department of Economics will present “Using GIS to Uncover the History of Persecution and Toleration in Europe” in 2001 Fenwick Library (Main Reading Room). This event is hosted by Mason Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Center (DiSC).

For most of European history, religious minorities were in a precarious position. Toleration was conditional and could fall apart quite easily. Jewish communities, for example, were more likely to be persecuted when environmental shocks such as the Black Death or bad weather occurred. Dr. Johnson will discuss how tools from GIS have played a vital role in his study of religious minorities in Europe and the gradual emergence of religious freedom.

For more information, please contact Wendy Mann, datahelp@gmu.edu