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2018

  • 12/2018

    Max Planck Society discontinues agreement with Elsevier; stands firm with Projekt DEAL negotiations

    The President and scientific council members of the Max Planck Society (MPS), one of the world’s largest research performing organizations, counting 14,000 scientists who publish 12K new research articles a year—around 1500 of which in Elsevier journals, have mandated the Max Planck Digital Library to discontinue their Elsevier subscription when the current agreement expires on December 31, 2018. With this move the Society joins nearly 200 universities and research institutions in Germany who have already cancelled their individual agreements with Elsevier in the course of 2016 and 2017 and affirmed their support of the national licensing framework Projekt DEAL, led by the German Rector’s Conference.

    In response to the untenably increasing cost of access to scholarly journals and, more importantly, the stifling effect of the antiquated paywall system on the research process, Projekt DEAL was established to negotiate nationwide transformative agreements as a means to transition from the current subscription system to one based on open access publishing models that enable complete and immediate access to the latest research for scholars and citizens alike, free of cost or other barriers. “DEAL is fully in line with the objectives of the OA2020 Initiative, which is strongly supported by the Max Planck Society,’ emphasized MPS President Martin Stratmann.

    The transformative agreement that the DEAL negotiators propose to the major academic publishers is a “publish and read” model covering open access publication of all scholarly articles by authors affiliated with German institutions and, at the same time, grant reading access for German institutions to the publisher’s entire portfolio of electronic journals still behind paywalls.

    As no sustainable offer according these fundamental criteria has been forthcoming from the publisher, negotiations with Elsevier were suspended last July. Researchers at the 200 institutions supporting the DEAL negotiations have consequently foregone access to the Elsevier platform and are broadly making use of alternative routes for their research needs. The Max Planck Digital Library has already set in place mechanisms to address the content needs of its researchers when Elsevier shuts off access at the beginning of January.

    “The system of scholarly publishing today is a relic of the print era, and we want to activate a real paradigm shift in order to finally utilize the opportunities of the digital age”, says Gerard Meijer, director at Max Planck Society’s Fritz Haber Institute and a member of the DEAL negotiation team. In a strong show of support for the DEAL negotiations, 13 prominent Max Planck Society scientists resigned from their positions as editors and members of the editorial and advisory boards of Elsevier journals in 2017.

    “Transformative agreements are one of the primary strategies for driving large scale transition of scholarly publishing to open access and are increasingly being adopted by the scores of international supporters of our global Open Access 2020 Initiative”, says Ralf Schimmer, Deputy General Manager of the Max Planck Digital Library. ”As both producers and consumers of the research articles circulated through their journal platforms, we have the leverage to demand a system that meets the needs of our researchers, and by adopting these transformative agreements, we will be able to achieve our Society’s goal of publishing the vast majority of our researchers’ articles open access in a matter of a few short years. We have already accomplished such deals with some of the most relevant publishers to Max Planck researchers, such as Springer Nature, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Institute of Physics Publishing. Further publishers will follow in 2019.”

  • 12/2018

    Aligning strategies to enable Open Access

    A strong signal to the publishers from the 14th Berlin Open Access Conference

    The 14th Berlin Open Access Conference, hosted by the Max Planck Society and organized by the Max Planck Digital Library on behalf of the Open Access 2020 Initiative (oa2020.org), has just come to an end after two intense days with 170 participants from 37 countries around the world discussing where the research organizations and their library consortia stand in their negotiations with scholarly publishers in transitioning scholarly publishing to open access. The participants represented research performing and research funding organizations, libraries and government, associations of researchers and other umbrella organizations, many of them holding high-level positions at their organizations. In his welcoming address, Max Planck Society President Martin Stratmann captured the spirit of the meeting when he stated: 'Open Access is the responsibility of all of us'.

    stratmann b14

    The conference brought to light strong consensus and alignment among the diverse international communities represented around the necessity of stepping up efforts to move away from the subscription-based system of scholarly publishing to open access-based business models. A major focus was placed on transformative agreements (eg “read and publish”), which were identified as perhaps the most viable instrument at the moment to accelerate the transition to open access. As it became clear from statements made by representatives from Japan, the United States, South Africa and others, that readiness to adopt this approach is now extending beyond Europe, where it originated, and is currently being adopted in several countries; in particular, this was emphasized in a bold statement from China, the nation with the largest share of research publications.

    After aligning on the goals and strategies during the first day of the conference, the CEOs of the three largest publishers of scholarly journals, Elsevier, John Wiley & Sons, and Springer Nature, were invited by the President of the Max Planck Society, Martin Stratmann, to discuss the global demand for transformative agreements on the second day. The message conveyed to the publishers was that the global research communities are committed to complete and immediate open access, to retaining author copyrights and to negotiating transformative agreements that are temporary, transitional, and cost-neutral as a means to shift to full open access within just a few years with the expectation that cost savings in scholarly communication will follow as market forces take hold. The publishers were called upon to move towards complete and immediate open access according to these principles.

    It also came out that there is a strong alignment between the approaches taken by OA2020, Plan S, the Jussieu Call and other approaches dedicated to drive more open access into the system of scholarly communication.

    Further reports will soon appear on the homepage of the 14th Berlin Open Access Conference:
    https://oa2020.org/b14-conference/

    Read more in the Nature News

     

2017

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