Germany vs Elsevier: universities win temporary journal access after refusing to pay fees

Source: Nature

The Dutch publishing giant Elsevier has granted uninterrupted access to its paywalled journals for researchers at around 200 German universities and research institutes that had refused to renew their individual subscriptions at the end of 2017.

The institutions had formed a consortium to negotiate a nationwide licence with the publisher. They sought a collective deal that would give most scientists in Germany full online access to about 2,500 journals at about half the price that individual libraries have paid in the past. But talks broke down and, by the end of 2017, no deal had been agreed. Elsevier now says that it will allow the country’s scientists to access its paywalled journals without a contract until a national agreement is hammered out.

The two sides had “constructive conversations well into December”, says Harald Boersma, a spokesman for Elsevier. “We will continue our conversations in the first quarter of 2018 to find an access solution for German researchers in 2018 and a longer-term national agreement,” he says. “Where access agreements ended, we have informed these institutions that we would maintain access to our content while we continue to work with the German Rectors’ Conference [which leads negotiations for the consortium] on a solution and specifically a 1-year extension to existing contracts, covering 2018.”