[open-science] Will Elsevier give full refunds to customers who bought access to "open access" articles

Wise, Alicia (ELS-OXF) A.Wise at elsevier.com
Thu Mar 9 16:49:02 UTC 2017

Dear Ross,

As you are already aware from my comments  on your blog, we have reimbursed your payment for the first article described below.

We have not reimbursed your payment for the second article, and it’s not yet clear to us that it should be Open Access.  I appreciate you have discovered a crowd-sourced spreadsheet that states an APC has been paid for this article, and would be open to receiving evidence that this is in fact the case.  You, and other readers, may be interested to learn that there are false positives when using these sort of data, as illustrated here on 23 February: https://www.intact-project.org/blog/

There is a broader issue, I suppose, and that is the most constructive and efficient way to check that the data are correct so that the occasional genuine error can be resolved swiftly.

With best wishes,

Dr Alicia Wise
Director of Access and Policy
Elsevier I The Boulevard I Langford Lane I Kidlington I Oxford I OX5 1GB
M: +44 (0) 7823 536 826 I E: a.wise at elsevier.com<mailto:a.wise at elsevier.com>
Twitter: @wisealic


From: Ross Mounce [mailto:ross.mounce at gmail.com]
Sent: 09 March 2017 14:25
To: Wise, Alicia (ELS-OXF) <A.Wise at elsevier.com>
Cc: Global Open Access List (Successor of AmSci) <goal at eprints.org>; open-science <open-science at lists.okfn.org>
Subject: Will Elsevier give full refunds to customers who bought access to "open access" articles

Dear Alicia,

(I am cc'ing some public mailing lists to which I believe this may be of interest).

Elsevier recently sold me access to two "open access" articles that they should not have sold:

one at the journal Mitochondrion [1]
one at the journal The Lancet [2]

These purchases were made on these dates from the same card on 14/02/2017 & 18/02/2017 for $43.13 each time (including local taxes).

I note Elsevier has refunded ($43.13) for one of the purchases on 21/02/2017 to my card, which is nice, and I am grateful for (it is unclear which of the articles this refund pertains to).

However, why have I only been refunded for one article purchase?
I note Elsevier has now removed the paywalls from both these articles and clearly marks them both as "Open Access" which I view as an admission of guilt / wrongdoing.

1.) Will I be refunded for the second article purchase?
2.) What about other readers who may have also paid for 'mistakenly' paywalled open access articles at Elsevier? Is Elsevier going to quietly ignore them too?

I'm sorry to be emailing you so many times but since you are "Director of Access and Policy at Elsevier" I thought you might be precisely the right person to sort this matter out properly and fully, to the satisfaction of your paying customers.

If Elsevier does not resolve this matter in a satisfactory way I will be forced to explore other avenues of reclaiming this money that I am rightfully owed.



[1] http://rossmounce.co.uk/2017/02/14/elsevier-selling-access-to-open-access-again/
[2] http://rossmounce.co.uk/2017/02/20/hybrid-open-access-is-unreliable/

Ross Mounce, PhD
Software Sustainability Institute Fellow
Dept. of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge


Elsevier Limited. Registered Office: The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, OX5 1GB, United Kingdom, Registration No. 1982084, Registered in England and Wales.
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