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German researchers resign editorship of Elsevier journals in open access dispute

Ahead of Open Access Week 2017, Science reports that five leading German scientists have resigned from their editorial positions at Elsevier journals, the latest step in a battle over open-access and subscription policies between Elsevier and a consortium of German libraries, universities, and research institutes.

As we’ve previously reported, German open access project Projekt DEAL has been attempting to negotiate a nationwide license agreement with publisher Elsevier, with the aim of significantly improving the status quo regarding the provision of open access content and pricing. Elsevier made an offer at the end of 2016, but this was rejected for not complying with the principles of open access. As a result, negotiations were interrupted, and there was no access to Elsevier journal full texts from January 2017. However, despite this loss of access, the institutions have been standing firm.

The German Rectors Conference reports that resigning editors who have now been named include the Chair of the Jülich Research Institute, Prof Dr Ing. Wolfgang Marquardt, and Prof Dr Kurt Mehlhorn, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics.

“Across the world, more and more researchers are standing up for open access and fair cost models,” says Marquardt. “What seem to be arbitrarily high prices are placing a strain on the acceptance of the division of labour between research and publishers. Research libraries are increasingly forced to restrict their services. This poses a growing danger for scientific discourse in the various disciplines.”

The names of further researchers who are likewise resigning their editorship of Elsevier journals will be released in the coming weeks.

Header image source: Adapted from Humboldt University Library_Berlin by Rob Deutscher, which is licenced by CC BY 2.0.


Also published on Medium.

Bruce Boyes

Bruce Boyes (www.bruceboyes.info) is editor, lead writer, and a director of the award-winning RealKM Magazine (www.realkm.com) and currently also teaches in the University of NSW (UNSW) Foundation Studies program in China. He has expertise and experience in a wide range of areas including knowledge management (KM), environmental management, program and project management, writing and editing, stakeholder engagement, communications, and research. Bruce holds a Master of Environmental Management with Distinction and a Certificate of Technology (Electronics). With a demonstrated ability to identify and implement innovative solutions to social and ecological complexity, Bruce's many career highlights include establishing RealKM Magazine as an award-winning resource for knowledge managers, using agile and knowledge management approaches to oversee the implementation of an award-winning $77.4 million river recovery program in western Sydney on time and under budget, leading a knowledge strategy process for Australia's 56 natural resource management (NRM) regional organisations, pioneering collaborative learning and governance approaches to support communities to sustainably manage landscapes and catchments, and initiating and teaching two new knowledge management subjects at Shanxi University in China.

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