Around 200 German universities will lose their subscriptions to Elsevier journals within weeks, because negotiations have failed to end a long-term contract dispute.
“There is no doubt that what the German universities are asking for is the direction of travel for scholarly publishing,” says Paul Ayris, pro-vice-provost of library services at University College London. “If Germany achieves this with Elsevier, other countries will want to follow suit.”
Negotiators with ‘Project DEAL’, a consortium of university libraries and research institutes, have been in talks with Elsevier for more than two years. They want a deal that would give most scientists in Germany full online access to 2,500 or so Elsevier journals, at about half the price that individual libraries have paid in the past. Open access is proving to be the sticking point in the talks: under the deal sought, all corresponding authors affiliated with German institutions would be allowed to make their papers free to read and share by anyone in the world at no extra cost.
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