“Sci-Hub, a widely-used website that provides access to pirated academic articles, is facing legal challenges from two major publishers—Elsevier and the American Chemical Society (ACS). The site, which was established by former neuroscientist Alexandra Elbakyan in 2011 and is operated out of Russia, hosts millions of scientific documents and has users all around the globe.”
“Like many others in the scholarly community, we were very disappointed to learn about the recent acquisition by Elsevier of bepress, the provider of the popular Digital Commons repository platform.1The acquisition is especially troubling for the hundreds of institutions that use Digital Commons to support their open access repositories. These institutions now find their repository services owned and managed by Elsevier, a company well known for its obstruction of open access and repositories.2
While we were disappointed, we were not surprised. Elsevier’s interest in bepress and Digital Commons is reflective of the company’s long term strategy to stake an ownership claim in all the functions vital to the research cycle—from data gathering and annotation, to sharing and publication, to analytics and evaluation. Prior high-profile acquisitions (including SSRN and Mendeley) have made this strategy crystal clear. While this might be a smart business move on the part of a commercial company, it presents significant challenges and risks to the academic and research community.
The dangers inherent in the increasing control of crucial research communication functions in the hands of a small number of commercial players are well-known and well-documented.3 The dysfunction in the academic journal market serves as a case in point. This consolidated control has led to unaffordable costs, limited utility of research articles, the proliferation of western publishing biases, and a system in which publisher lock-in through big deal licenses is the norm. This situation is damaging for the research enterprise, individual researchers, and for society. Further consolidation of the market across functions and platforms—including key elements like research information systems and open access repositories—will exacerbate this already unhealthy situation.”
“Being published is the bread and butter of intellectuals, especially academics. publication, in theory, is a way for information to be shared across the globe, but it also has become big business. In a recent Chemistry World article the standoff between Germany’s Project DEAL (a consortium comprised of German universities) and Dutch publisher, Elsevier, is examined along with possible fall-out from the end result.
At the heart of the dispute is who controls the publications. Currently, Elsevier holds the cards and has wielded their power to make a clear point on the matter. Project DEAL, though, is not going down without a fight and Chemistry World quotes Horst Hippler, a physical chemist and chief negotiator for Project DEAL, as saying,
In the course of digitisation, science communication is undergoing a fundamental transformation process. Comprehensive, free and – above all – sustainable access to scientific publications is of immense importance to our researchers. We therefore will actively pursue the transformation to open access, which is an important building block in the concept of open science. To this end, we want to create a fair and sustainable basis through appropriate licensing agreements with Elsevier and other scientific publishers.
As publications are moving farther from ink and paper and more to digital who owns the rights to the information is becoming murkier. It will be interesting to see how this battle plays out and if any more disgruntled academics jump on board.”
“The cause of scientific transparency and accuracy got a boost on Tuesday with the decision by the publishing giant Elsevier to endorse a broad set of standards for open articles and data. Elsevier agreed to add its 1,800 journals to the 3,200 that already accept the “Transparency and Openness Promotion” guidelines drafted in 2005 by a group of university researchers, funders and publishers. The standards expand article-citation practices so that authors get credit for making clear the data, methods, and materials needed for replicating their work….”
From Google’s English: “16 centers of the Helmholtz Association have terminated their license agreements with the scientific publishing house Elsevier at the end of 2017. With this decision the Elsevier contracts of all Helmholtz centers expire, whose contracts end on 31.12.2017. This means that the largest German research organization has now joined the more than one hundred scientific institutions that have terminated or extended their license agreements with Elsevier in order to strengthen the negotiating position of the DEAL project. Since 2016 representatives of the DEAL project on behalf of the alliance of the German scientific organizations with the publishing house Elsevier negotiate a nationwide licensing of magazines. The negotiations are very difficult, which is why the exit is now a clear sign….The President of the Helmholtz Association, Professor Dr. Otmar D. Wiestler, explains: “The Helmholtz Association will not conclude its own license agreements with Elsevier. We promote the changeover of the publication system to Open Access and therefore support the objectives of the DEAL project.” The most important goals [of the DEAL project] are:  All scientific institutions involved in the DEAL contract have full-time access to the full range of e-journals from Elsevier.  All publications by authors from German institutions are automatically submitted to Open Access (CC-BY, including peer review).  Appropriate pricing according to a simple, future-oriented calculation model that is oriented to the volume of publications….Dr. Martin Köhler, DESY’s director of the library and former negotiator for the Helmholtz contracts with Elsevier has no reservations about the literature supply: “The experiences of the” dropouts “at the beginning of the year showed that a contractless situation can be solved without problems. The Helmholtz libraries are well positioned and expect to be able to reliably provide the scientists with the necessary articles, even during longer lasting negotiations.”
“Elsevier, the global information analytics business specializing in science and health, today acquired bepress, a Berkeley, California-based business that helps academic libraries showcase and share their institutions’ research for maximum impact. Founded by three University of California, Berkeley professors in 1999, bepress allows institutions to collect, organize, preserve and disseminate their intellectual output, including preprints, working papers, journals or specific articles, dissertations, theses, conference proceedings and a wide variety of other data.”
“Today, Elsevier announces its acquisition of bepress. In a move entirely consistent with its strategy to pivot beyond content licensing to preprints, analytics, workflow, and decision-support, Elsevier is now a major if not the foremost single player in the institutional repository landscape. If successful, and there are some risks, this acquisition will position Elsevier as an increasingly dominant player in preprints, continuing its march to adopt and coopt open access….”
“In Germany, the fight for open access and favorable pricing for journals is getting heated. At the end of last month (June 30), four major academic institutions in Berlin announced that they would not renew their subscriptions with the Dutch publishing giant Elsevier once they end this December. Then on July 7, nine universities in Baden-Württemberg, another large German state, also declared their intention to cancel their contracts with the publisher at the end of 2017.
These institutions join around 60 others across the country that allowed their contracts to expire last year.
The decision to cancel subscriptions was made in order to put pressure on Elsevier during ongoing negotiations. “Nobody wants Elsevier to starve—they should be paid fairly for their good service,” says Ursula Flitner, the head of the medical library at Charité–Berlin University of Medicine. “The problem is, we no longer see what their good service is.”
Charité–Berlin University of Medicine is joined by Humboldt University of Berlin, Free University of Berlin, and Technical University of Berlin in letting its Elsevier subscriptions lapse….”
“You have signed the statement at Tiedonhinta.fi, supporting the objectives of the FinElib consortium in its negotiations with major international scholarly publishers. In signing, You have also professed Your willingness to join a boycott against one or more publishers, if necessary.
We, the organisers of the “Tiedon hinta” action, now call upon statement signatories to officially and collectively start the boycott, which many of you have already individually done. The object of the boycott is Elsevier.
In order to create momentum and have impact at a crucial time in the extended negotiations between FinELib and Elsevier, we have created a new website for the boycott: www.nodealnoreview.org. To be as inclusive as possible, we have decided to communicate in English from now on….”