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German universities to let Elsevier contracts lapse

In Germany, 13 additional universities have announced they will not renew their subscriptions with Dutch publishing company Elsevier once they end in December, joining around 60 other institutions that allowed their contracts to lapse last year, reports the Scientist.

The decision to cancel subscriptions has been made to put pressure on Elsevier during ongoing negotiations for a new nationwide licensing agreement. An alliance of German institutions called Project Deal has been working on a new nationwide licensing agreement with Elsevier, as well as two other major scientific publishers, Springer Nature and Wiley, since 2016. Humboldt library director Andreas Degkwitz said the three publishers cover up to 50-60% of German libraries’ budgets, with Elsevier the biggest of the three.

Project Deal’s three key demands are: fair pricing based on the number of publications; open access to all publications by scientists at German institutions; and permanent access to Elsevier’s electronic journals for scientific bodies represented by the Project Deal. ‘If these objectives are met, payments would no longer be made for journal subscriptions—instead, scientific institutions and funders would pay a certain sum per published article, which would immediately become openly available,’ said Degkwitz.

Degkwitz said he ‘doesn’t see an immediate end to the negotiations with Elsevier’. ‘With Springer and Wiley we might have a contract in the beginning or in the first months of 2018, and so far the cancellations of those subscriptions have not been discussed.’

Elsevier said it is ‘working diligently to find a mutually acceptable solution … and to put a new agreement in place this year’.


Category: Library news International