Open Access 2018: A Year of Funders and Universities Drawing Lines in the Sand | Absolutely Maybe

This is the sixth year I’ve rounded up the year in open access – and it was the most remarkable. When the year began, the world’s largest academic publisher, Elsevier, had increased their annual profits, with an operating profit approaching US$1.2 billion in science, technology, and medicine – a profit margin of over 36%. [PDF] By year’s end, a hefty chunk of the world’s research community was walking away from big subscription deals with Elsevier and others.

That was a last resort after years of hard bargaining. While we could never be sure one or other side wouldn’t blink before it came to this, this didn’t seem to come out of the blue. What did, was a dramatic announcement from Europe in September that could usher in immediate open access to much publicly-funded research – not just after a one-year embargo….

Here are my month-by-month highlights of an action-packed year in open access to the scientific literature…..”

[Survey on consequences of Swedish cancellation of Elsevier journals]

As you may be aware, Swedish universities and government agencies through the National Library of Sweden and the Bibsam Consortium (the Swedish library consortium) cancelled their agreement with Elsevier 30 June 2018 ( Elsevier has not been able to meet the demands of the Bibsam Consortium:

  • immediate open access to all articles published in Elsevier’s journals by researchers affiliated to one of the consortium’s participating organisations;
  • reading access to Elsevier’s 1 900 journals for participating organisations, and
  • a sustainable price model which makes a transition to open access possible.

How has this affected you?…”

Survey on how the cancelled agreement with Elsevier has affected Swedish researchers, students and government agency users –

How has the cancellation affected Swedish researchers, students and government agency users? Users from the 44 Swedish institutions that subscribed to Elsevier at the time of cancellation are asked to respond to this survey.…”


The Conflict over Open Access between Elsevier and German Academic Institutions Shows the Importance of Journal Subscriptions | Open Science

As an agreement on terms of access to paywall-protected journals between Germany’s educational and scientific organizations and the international publishing house Elsevier continues to elude the negotiating parties, a growing criticism from the side of scholarly publishers and university representatives indicates that journal subscriptions are critical for scientific research and publication processes, in spite of the expected transition to Open Access….”

5 Questions With… Devin Soper | Association of Southeastern Research Libraries

Q.4 If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?

Like many other contributors to this blog series, my first choice would be changing the promotion and tenure process to incentivize faculty to make their work open. Perhaps the best example of this, for me, is the Liège model, where faculty are required to deposit the full text of their works in the institutional repository in order to have them considered for the purposes of internal research evaluation / P&T. If even a few U.S. institutions were able to implement similar policies, I think that belief in the value of institutional OA policies (and the feasibility of Green OA, more generally) would soar as a result.

To vary the conversation a bit, a close second for me would be increased collaboration around big deal cancellations. I’m thinking here about the nationwide cancellations and renegotiations that have taken place in the Netherlands, Germany, and Finland, for instance, where hundreds of universities have banded together to cancel (and later renegotiate) their big deal contracts with Elsevier on the grounds of unsustainable pricing practices, insufficient respect for authors’ rights, and reluctance (if not outright opposition) to advance the cause of open access. In following these developments, I’ve long wished that we could present a similarly united front on these issues here in the U.S., whether at the state, regional, or national level….”

How to make journal bundles (“big deals”) fair and promote quality? (#100) · Issues · Publishing Reform / discussion · GitLab

“Suggestions for publishers: Allow fairness and flexibility

Allow customers to fairly add/remove individual products based on their needs.

Allow customers to only choose necessary services and price categories for each product….

Suggestions for libraries: Inform your faculty

Maintain lists of publishers in each cost/value/policy group.

Inform faculty about changes to allow them adjust their support.

Specifically address back-issue policy to allow faculty reward publishers with fairer policy.

Allow faculty to up- or down-vote products, because the mere number of downloads may not be an accurate metric for quality/value.

Better inform your faculty of concerns with paywalls and benefits of open access without author fees…..”

University of California leads fight over access to research

“Behind closed doors, the University of California is staging a revolt against the world’s largest journal publisher, threatening to drop all subscriptions when its contract with Reed Elsevier soon expires.

This is no pointy-headed dispute: Publication is how new discoveries are shared, building the foundation for future intellectual breakthroughs.

The university was poised to lose access to Elsevier’s journals when its five-year contract ends on Dec. 31.  But on Friday [12/21] afternoon, the adversaries agreed to extend the deadline for one more month.

If an agreement is not reached, everyone in the UC system — 21,200 faculty and 251,700 students — could face tighter access to new research findings. (Access to older articles would continue uninterrupted.) The university’s library says it would work to get them through other means, such as a loan from a non-UC library….”

Max Planck Society cancels Elsevier subscription over open access | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Germany’s Max Planck Society – one of the world’s largest research organisations – is cancelling its subscription to Elsevier journals in a bid to secure a decisive shift towards open access publishing….

The society expressed its support for Germany’s Project Deal initiative, led by the German Rectors’ Conference, which is seeking to replace the subscription model with a system under which articles are made freely available in return for the payment of article processing charges. Nearly 200 German universities and research institutions have cancelled their Elsevier agreements in the past two years in protest at the publisher’s refusal to strike a deal on its terms.

Elsevier, for its part, maintains that it supports open science, but argues that German researchers cannot have free access to articles in its portfolio published by academics from other countries that still use the subscription system – a key demand of Project Deal. Negotiations between the company and Project Deal were suspended in July….”

Elsevier willing to compensate editors to prevent them from ‘flipping’ – ScienceGuide

“With Plan S rapidly approaching the editorial boards of some journals are considering leaving the paywalled journals at major publishing houses and ‘flip’ their journal to open access. To prevent editors from leaving, Elsevier now appears to be willing to pay editors considerable yearly amounts to stay on….

At this moment multiple editorial boards are moving to ‘flip’ their titles away from the paywalled model….

As the end of 2018 draws Elsevier faces a grim outlook for the coming year. Last week the University of California communicated it is willing to let its contract expire December 31st. Additionally today the Max Planck Digital Library discontinued their agreement with the publisher followed by the news that the Hungarian EISZ consortium has also terminated their negotiations with Elsevier….”