Thousands of scientists run up against Elsevier’s paywall

“Researchers at German institutions that have let their Elsevier subscriptions lapse while negotiating a new deal are hitting the paywall for the publisher’s most recent articles around 10,000 times a day, according to Elsevier — which publishes more than 400,000 papers each year.

But at least some German libraries involved in negotiating access to Elsevier say they are making huge savings without a subscription, while still providing any articles their academics request.

A major stumbling block to getting deals signed is institutions’ desire to combine the price they pay for subscriptions to pay-walled journals with the cost that libraries and researchers pay to make articles open-access….”

German Electrochemists Publish Open Access: TIB Promotes Open Access Transition in the Field of Electrochemistry

“Since 2018, all the members of the German consortium of The Electrochemical Society (ECS) led by the Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB) – German National Library of Science and Technology have benefited from a special publishing option: ECS grants all institutions participating in its program an unlimited number of article processing charge (APC) credits. This allows all scientists affiliated with participating institutions to publish open access articles in ECS journals free of charge. By the end of 2018, 52 open access articles from corresponding authors affiliated with a TIB institution were published and are freely accessible. The additional costs for this supplementary benefit come in the form of a small surcharge on the license fee. The TIB is currently bearing these costs in its role as the National Library of Science and Technology. Due to the program’s flat-rate pricing and the lack of a cap on the amount of articles that may be published, the added cost of participation is very low—only a fraction of the price of the standard ECS APC ($800 for 2018; $1000 for 2019)….

The TIB will not only continue the consortium in 2019, but will also support it financially again….”

Wiley strikes open access deal with German universities and libraries | News | Chemistry World

German academic institutions have reached a ‘ground breaking’ nationwide deal to allow their researchers to make their work freely available around the world in journals published by Wiley – at no extra cost. For an agreed annual fee they’ll also have access to all Wiley’s content back to 1997.

Nearly three years ago, Project Deal – which represents 700 universities, libraries and research institutions – decided to take on the major scientific publishers in an attempt to secure a new type of contract they called ‘publish and read’. Talks reached a stalemate with the largest publisher, Elsevier, last June, while negotiations with Springer Nature are still going on. Horst Hippler, chief negotiator for Project Deal, is now ‘convinced the others will follow’….” » Providing recommendations for Plan S implementation

The document is very clear and I support the principles behind it. The only major issue left unaddressed is the real threat of universal APC-based OA as a potential outcome. This unintended consequence is particularly pernicious, because it would merely change the accessibility of the literature (which currently is not even a major issue, hence the many Big Deal cancellations world-wide), leaving all other factors untouched. A consequence of universal APC-OA is that monetary inequity would be added to a scholarly infrastructure that is already rife with replication issues, other inequities and a dearth of digital functionalities. Moreover, the available evidence suggests that authors’ publishing strategy takes prestige and other factors more into account than cost, explaining the observation of already rising APCs. A price cap is de facto unenforceable, as authors pay any price above the cap, if they deem the cost worth the benefit. Here in Germany, it has become routine in the last decade, to pay any APC above the 2000€ cap imposed by the DFG from other sources. Hence, APCs have risen also in Germany unimpeded in the last ten years. A switch away from journal-based evaluations as intended by DORA also would lead to a change in authors’ publication strategy only after hardly any evaluations were conducted by journal rank any more, a time point decades in the future, given the current ubiquitous use of journal rank, despite decades of arguing against the practice. Thus, the currently available evidence suggests that a switch to universal APC-based OA, all else remaining equal, would likely lead to the unintended consequence of massively deteriorating the current status quo, in particular at the expense of the most vulnerable scholars and to the benefit of the already successful players. Therefore, rather than pushing access to only the literature (not a major problem any more) at all costs, universal APC-based OA needs to be avoided at all costs….”

Wiley in ‘transformative’ partnership with German academic institutions | The Bookseller

“Wiley has signed what it describes as a “transformative” partnership with Projekt DEAL, which represents nearly 700 academic institutions in Germany.

The three-year agreement means that, for an annual fee, all those 700 institutions will have access to read Wiley’s academic journals dating back to 1997, while researchers at the institutions can publish articles open access with Wiley journals. The publisher said the partnership would “better support institutions and researchers in advancing open science, driving discovery, and developing and disseminating knowledge.”  …”

Groundbreaking deal makes large number of German studies free to public | Science | AAAS

Three years ago, a group of German libraries, universities, and research institutes teamed up to force the three largest scientific publishers to offer an entirely new type of contract. In exchange for an annual lump sum, they wanted a nationwide agreement making papers by German authors free to read around the world, while giving researchers in Germany access to all of the publishers’ online content.

Today, after almost 3 years of negotiations, the consortium, named Project DEAL, can finally claim a success: This morning, it signed a deal with Wiley, an academic publisher headquartered in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Under the 3-year contract, scientists at more than 700 academic institutions will be able to access all of Wiley’s academic journals back to 1997 and to publish open access in all of Wiley’s journals. The annual fee will be based on the number of papers they publish in Wiley journals—about 10,000 in previous years, says one of the negotiators, physicist Gerard Meijer of the Fritz Haber Institute, a Max Planck Society institute here….

The deal will likely turn up the pressure on Elsevier and Springer, the other two publishers Project DEAL has been negotiating with….”

Pay to Publish Open Access: On the DEAL-Wiley Agreement

“On Tuesday, 15th January, the German consortium DEAL and Wiley announced the signing of a new contract. This was immediately hailed as groundbreaking and transformative. Indeed, this is the first deal of its kind, aiming to foster the large-scale adoption of open access in journal publishing. Yet, details of the contract reveal that the transformative nature of this new big deal may come at a high cost: for the forthcoming period of three years, the scenario will be gradual hybrid instead of revolutionary gold open access. This may result in a costly pay to publish development….”

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….”

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….”