“Universities Finland UNIFI is giving its full support to the FinELib consortium’s goals in the negotiations with the large academic publisher Elsevier. The main goals are to ensure that the academic community has access to Elsevier’s journals at affordable prices and that there is a clear transition towards immediate open access.
The cost of access to Elsevier’s journals (the SD Freedom collection) has grown significantly. UNIFI finds this unconscionable and accordingly demands that the increase in costs must stop.
All publicly funded research should be openly available to everybody. The fees paid by universities for subscriptions must enable open access publishing for Finnish researchers. The total costs of academic publishing must not be allowed to grow.
UNIFI requires that Elsevier reacts to the demands from Finnish universities and offers a solution combining affordable pricing and a transition towards immediate open access.
“In their joint effort, Kotilava, The Federation of Finnish Learned Societies and The National Library of Finland support Finnish scholarly journals in their transition to immediate Open Access. This project, being a part of the Open Science and Research Initiative in Finland (ATT), proceeds via two subprojects. First, the platform for editing and publishing OA journals are improved. Second, a new consortium based funding model for Finnish OA journals will be created….”
“Ontario is investing in medical research and open science to help speed up the development of new treatments for diseases and conditions such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and rare diseases.
Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, was joined by Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, to announce support for the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute in Ottawa today. The SGC is a public-private partnership based on the principle of open science — making research data open and accessible to researchers everywhere, to speed up the discovery of new medicines. The SGC also helps Ontario attract pharmaceutical investment, build a stronger commercialization pipeline for new treatments and create and retain high quality jobs. Supporting research and innovation is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.”
“Europeana Photography is now launching as the outcome of a collaboration between Europeana and PHOTOCONSORTIUM, the International Consortium for Photographic Heritage. Giving access to a vast archive of historical images, it’s a treasure trove of carefully selected pictures from the first 100 years of photography. The latest thematic collection on the Europeana platform, Europeana Photography presents high-quality images and compelling stories from Europe’s most astonishing historical picture collections. Just be warned: once you’ve stepped into our time capsule, you’ll never want to leave!”
“The German consortium DEAL, however, did adopt a firm negotiating stance, and let subscriptions run out at the end of 2016, rather than accepting an unsatisfactory proposal by Elsevier. And DEAL’s Ralf Schimmer is not afraid to publicly mention Sci-Hub, and to advocate the collapse of the subscriptions system. As a result, many German researchers are now unable to legally access Elsevier journals, except through slow, unsystematic and/or inconvenient procedures. Academics who write in Elsevier journals should know that their German colleagues may find it difficult to read their work: this is one more reason not to write in Elsevier journals.
With a Finnish and a Taiwanese consortium in comparable situations, DEAL is not alone, but it is the largest and probably the boldest consortium to take on Elsevier. We may soon learn how long academics can survive without the subscriptions to which they are accustomed, and whether important concessions can now be extracted from publishers. DEAL has a sound strategy (including begin prepared for not reaching an agreement) and favourable environment (easy access to Sci-Hub): if it fails, nobody else is likely to succeed. If DEAL succeeds, it will find imitators, and the end of the subscriptions system could come as soon as the current subscription contracts expire. (These contracts are typically for five years.) Threatened with the demise of subscriptions, the publishing industry has two options:
performing a revenue-neutral switch from subscriptions to gold open access,
trying to block access to Sci-Hub.
Option #1 is not popular with big publishers, who have rather been trying to earn money from gold open access on top of subscriptions. After all, from their point of view, they should earn more for giving access to everyone, than for giving access to subscribers only. Hints that option #1 is still not pursued seriously include the rejection by Elsevier of DEAL’s demand that articles with German authors be made open access, and the recent launch by Springer Nature of five new subscription journals. So publishers are most likely pursuing option #2. Their efforts can hardly be limited to the rather ineffective lawsuit of Elsevier against Sci-Hub, and there may soon be further attempts to make Sci-Hub less accessible in countries where subscriptions matter, including especially Germany. The future of open access may be determined by whether publishers manage to have Sci-Hub effectively blocked, before subscriptions irreversibly collapse. At the moment, publishers seem to think that they can win this slow-moving race. But at least, thanks to the DEAL consortium, the race has begun.”