Elsevier reaches open access agreement in Japan

Proposal is first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region for the world’s largest academic publisher

December 1, 2020
Source: iStock

Elsevier and the Japan Alliance of University Library Consortia for E-Resources (Justice) have agreed a three-year proposal for subscription publishing with measures to support Japan’s open access (OA) goals.

The agreement, which will begin in January, will provide a framework for Justice’s consortium of universities. The organisation comprises more than 500 libraries.

“This is the first Elsevier agreement in Asia-Pacific in which we’ve included OA options for our customers – in this instance for Justice,” an Elsevier spokesperson told Times Higher Education.

Elsevier, the world’s largest academic publisher, has more than 2,500 journals, including prestigious titles such as The Lancet. Some have criticised it for what they say are its high-priced models, with several US universities rejecting contract demands this year.

However, Elsevier has also been making moves towards open access.

Under the Japan agreement, institutions can choose between a purely subscription model or a subscription model with options for gold open access, green open access or a combination of both.

The traditional subscription, or “pay-to-read”, model relies on institutional libraries to pay for access, but it does not require researchers to pay to have an article published.

In the gold open access model, researchers or funders must pay article processing charges for the publication of papers, but other researchers and members of the public may then access the work freely and immediately.

Green open access allows researchers to share their accepted manuscripts, or sometimes other versions of the article, in a repository after an embargo period of one or two years. Under this model, authors who cannot afford the cost of gold APCs can make their research open access, although the full-text version would still be accessible only to journal subscribers.

The spokesperson said each of its arrangements is “tailored to the specific needs of our partners”.

Elsevier said the proposal “aims to reduce the financial burden of authors wishing to publish OA while continuing to provide access to Science Direct”, which includes 16 million publications from more than 2,500 journals.

Seiji Hosokawa, chair of the Justice steering committee, said the Elsevier offer was “aligned with the Justice OA 2020 road map”.

“We see the agreement of the proposal as a small step for us, but one that we hope will lead to a major leap forward in promoting open access in Japan,” he said.

Earlier this year, Elsevier reached an open access deal with the Netherlands, where the publisher is based. The agreement, which made 95 per cent of Dutch articles open access, was considered the company’s most ambitious move towards open-access publishing.


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