From an Elsevier Statement:
Recently, an editorial board from one of our linguistics journals, Lingua, decided to leave and launch a new, fully open access journal. The move triggered media coverage and social media commentary. Here are a few facts to clarify some misconceptions:
The editors of Lingua wanted for Elsevier to transfer ownership of the journal to the collective of editors at no cost. Elsevier cannot agree to this as we have invested considerable amount of time, money and other resources into making it a respected journal in its field. We founded Lingua 66 years ago.
Lingua is a hybrid open access journal which means that every author who wants to publish open access (i.e., free-of-charge for the reader), can do so. However, we have observed little uptake of the open access option in Lingua or elsewhere in linguistics at price points that would be economically viable.
The article publishing charge at Lingua for open access articles is 1800 USD. The editors had requested a price of 400 euros, an APC that is not sustainable. Had we made the journal open access only and at the suggested price point, it would have rendered the journal no longer viable – something that would serve nobody, least of which the linguistics community.
Read the Complete Statement
UPDATE November 6, 2015: “Elsevier Battle Escalates” (via Inside Higher Ed)