January 19, 2022

Netherlands: Negotiations Between Dutch Universities and Elsevier Over Open Access Have Failed

From a Statement by VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands):

Negotiations between the Dutch universities and publishing company Elsevier on subscription fees and Open Access have ground to a halt. In line with the policy pursued by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the universities want academic publications to be freely accessible. To that end, agreements will have to be made with the publishers. The proposal presented by Elsevier last week totally fails to address this inevitable change. The universities hope that Elsevier will submit an amended proposal. ‘From now on we will inform our researchers about the consequences of this deadlock’, says Gerard Meijer, president of Radboud University Nijmegen and chief negotiator on behalf of the VSNU.

Agreements are made with individual academic publishers on subscription fees for academic journals for all Dutch research universities and universities of applied sciences, as well as for the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and other research institutes. These agreements from part of what are known as the ‘Big Deal’ negotiations. The universities are only prepared to renew the agreements on subscriptions if the publishers take steps towards Open Access. Several publishers are not very keen to do so, given the drastic changes in their revenue model that this transition will cause. At the same time, negotiations with publishers other than Elsevier have shown that the parties do succeed in moving towards Open Access

Read the Complete Statement

The VSNU also posted a second statement (PDF). Here’s a portion of it.

It is now clear that the negotiations with Elsevier have reached an impasse. During several round of talks, no offer was made which would have led to a real, and much-needed, transition to open access. Moreover, Elsevier has failed to deliver an offer that would keep the rising costs of library subscriptions at acceptable levels.

Dutch universities and the University Medical Centres cannot accept the offer by Elsevier at this point in time. We are open to renew negotiations as soon as an acceptable offer is put on the table. In the meantime, universities will prepare for the possible consequences of an expiration of journal subscriptions. In case this happens researchers will still be able to publish in Elsevier journals. They will also have access to back issues of these journals. New issues of Elsevier journals  as of 1-1-2015 will not be accessible anymore. Universities will explore solutions to this problem.

Read the Complete Statement

Thanks to @Naypinya for help with this post.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.