[ciência aberta] German researchers resign from Elsevier journals in push for nationwide open access

Sarita Albagli sarita.albagli em gmail.com
Quarta Outubro 18 00:48:09 UTC 2017

German researchers resign from Elsevier journals in push for nationwide
open access

By Gretchen Vogel <http://www.sciencemag.org/author/gretchen-vogel>Oct. 13,
2017 , 3:30 PM

Five leading German scientists have resigned from their editorial positions
at journals published by Elsevier, the latest step in a battle over
open-access and subscription policies between the Dutch publishing giant
and a consortium of German libraries, universities, and research institutes.

The researchers want Elsevier to accept a new payment model that would make
all papers authored by Germany-based researchers open access. The five are
only the first of many ready to step down, warn leaders of the consortium,
called Projekt DEAL.

Instead of having individual libraries pay subscriptions for individual
journals, Projekt DEAL wants to set up nationwide “publish and read”
with publishers. DEAL would pay publishers a lump sum to cover publication
costs of papers authored by researchers in Germany. Then all such papers
would be open access, and DEAL members would receive electronic access to
all the publisher’s journals.

Negotiations with Elsevier began in 2016, but stalled late last year
In August a spokesperson for Elsevier told ScienceInsider that the company
fully supports open-access initiatives but that the proposed publish and
read model isn’t realistic. In the company's view, paying for
German-authored articles to be open access doesn’t cover the cost for
access to papers from the rest of the world. In reponse to the
resignations, a spokesperson said the company respects the decisions of the
editors and appreciates "their contributions to their journals and science
as a whole... We remain dedicated to achieving a successful outcome
to these negotiations."

DEAL representatives say they are determined to continue pushing for the
publish-and-read payment model. To increase pressure on the company, almost
200 DEAL member institutions have said they won’t renew their subscriptions
to Elsevier journals. Elsevier cut off online access for a few weeks
<http://science.sciencemag.org/content/355/6320/17.full> in January to
institutions whose subscriptions ran out at the end of 2016. But the
company restored access
it said, “while good-faith discussions about a nationwide contract carry
on.” It isn’t clear whether that policy will extend to institutions whose
subscriptions run out at the end of this year.

DEAL started negotiations with SpringerNature and Wiley earlier this year,
and consortium leaders say those talks have been productive. DEAL has
reached a basic agreement with both publishers and is working on the
details, according to consortium leaders. In the meantime, subscriptions
with both publishers have been extended until the end of 2018.

Kurt Mehlhorn, a computer scientist at the Max Planck Institute for
Informatics in Saarbrücken, Germany, resigned Thursday as editor-in-chief
of Computational Geometry Theory and Applications. He didn’t take the step
lightly, and believes that resigning as editor is one of the few concrete
things individual researchers can do to help pressure the publisher. “I was
happy to serve as editor. It was a way to be of service to the field.”

Others have followed his lead. A Swiss member of the journal’s editorial
board has also resigned in response to Mehlhorn’s announcement. Mehlhorn
says he will decide on a case-by-case basis whether to continue to review
papers for Elsevier journals.

Mehlhorn, who led the Max Planck Society’s negotiations with Elsevier in
2006, says scientists and publishers have “a symbiotic relationship, and
the parties have to treat each other fairly. DEAL is making a fair offer.
It’s up to Elsevier to make the next move.”

Four other German scientists announced their resignations yesterday as
well. Wolfgang Marquardt, a systems engineer and head of the *Forschungszentrum
Jülich*, served on the editorial boards of two Elsevier journals. Cell
biologist Marino Zerial of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell
Biology and Genetics in Dresden, had been on Cell’s editorial board. Jörg
Raisch is a computer engineer at the TU Berlin who was on the editorial
board of Automatica, and materials engineer Anton Möslang of the Karlsruhe
Institute of Technology had served on the board of Nuclear Materials and

Horst Hippler, president of the German Rectors’ Conference in Bonn and lead
negotiator for DEAL, expects the number to grow. He says the group plans
weekly announcements of scientists who have joined the protest.

 **Update, 16 October 2017, 6.00 a.m.: This story has been updated to
include a comment from Elsevier and to more accurately explain DEAL’s
position in the ongoing negotiations.*

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