100 days post cancellation of Elsevier

One hundred days have now passed since the contract with Elsevier was terminated. The cancellation has received a lot of attention, both from within Sweden and abroad. Questions and comments from researchers to libraries have been much fewer than expected, something which can partly be explained by the summer vacation period, but most probably due to the fact that users have not been greatly affected since they still have uninterrupted access to all material published until the first of July 2018.

Comments from researchers have been both positive and negative. The support for open access is strong and many also regard the high profit margins of the publisher as unreasonable. Those with negative comments mostly concern problems accessing the articles they need for their research. All comments receive a reply with a description of the current situation, and underline the fact that all Swedish Vice-Chancellors collectively stand behind the recommendation to terminate the contract.

Some higher education institutions (HEIs) have used the money saved post-cancellation to pay for their researchers’ article processing charges in pure open access journals. Part of the money has also been used to pay for the extra costs involved when important articles have to be ordered via on-demand document delivery services.

The Steering Committee of the Bibsam Consortium has set up an evaluation group in order to analyse the consequences of the cancellation, and its effect on researchers and students, HEIs, libraries and the Consortium as a whole, and a report is planned to be published next summer.

Germany and project DEAL have still not closed and signed a contract with Elsevier, and many other European countries are currently preparing for how to cope without access to Elsevier’s journals, should the terms regarding open access not be met by the publisher.

Discussions with the publisher are ongoing, and are more of a practical nature, and concern for instance how participating organisations will get the correct post termination access to articles paid for in advance. There are currently no formal negotiations ongoing with Elsevier, but the publisher has taken a number of informal contact initiatives with participating organisations. The answer they have received is that they are welcome to contact the Chair of the Bibsam Consortium Steering Committee, Astrid Söderbergh Widding, in order to arrange a high-level meeting in Stockholm, something which is expected to take place before the end of the year.

For any questions, please contact the Coordinator of the Bibsam Consortium: Britt-Marie Wideberg, britt-marie.wideberg [at] kb.se