Elsevier restores journal access for German researchers

Publisher takes decision despite still having no deal agreed with German universities

February 15, 2017
Switch turned on
Source: iStock

Elsevier has restored access to German research institutions that have been cut off from its journals since the new year after negotiations over a new contract broke down.

In a statement, the publisher said it had “chosen to continue providing access” to affected institutions with the “expectation that an agreement can be reached”.

Negotiations between Elsevier and German universities and research centres broke down at the end of last year, and about 60 institutions’ subscription deals ceased at the end of 2016 without a new deal in place.

This is the first time German research organisations have negotiated collectively with Elsevier, and they are demanding more from the publisher on open access.

Last month, one of those leading the German side of the negotiations told Times Higher Education that losing journal access was less of a problem for researchers than it once had been, given that there were now many other ways to share papers such as academic social networks or the pirate site Sci-Hub. In addition, Elsevier pointed out that researchers had only lost access to new papers published in 2017, not all journal contents.

Now the publisher has restored access even though no new deal has been agreed.

“We strongly believe that access to high quality research is important for German science,” it said in its statement, released on 13 February. “The continuing access for the affected institutions will be in place while good-faith discussions about a nationwide contract carry on. This reflects our support for German research and our expectation that an agreement can be reached.”

When asked whether the institutions were paying for renewed access, Harald Boersma, Elsevier’s director of corporate relations for science and technology, told THE that it was “customary in these situations for institutions to retain access to content after a contracted period is concluded and as long as renewal discussions are ongoing”.

He said that “meetings have continued in January”, but that negotiating a new national agreement “will take time”. 

david.matthews@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns