Science - August 14, 2015

WUR library investigates impact of breach with Elsevier

Rob Ramaker

The WUR library is asking researchers in a survey how they would feel if they were no longer able to consult Elsevier’s scientific journals.

This will actually be the case as of 1 January unless the universities and the publishing company reach an agreement on a new contract. If they fail to do this, Dutch scientists will be barred from accessing all journal issues as of 2016.

The negotiations are not going well. The aim of the universities is for all Dutch articles in Elsevier journals to be open access from now on. Anyone should be able to read the article without paying for a subscription. But Elsevier is not interested. On top of this, the universities do not want to pay substantially more than in previous years. The universities seem determined not to accept any deal that does not satisfy their demands.

Gerard Meijer, the leading negotiator on behalf of the universities, said in the NRC newspaper in early July that they were even considering a boycott of Elsevier. Researchers at other universities are also being consulted on their views. The university libraries will use the results to help decide what to do if they lose access to Elsevier. The survey suggests a few alternative ways of consulting articles, such as approaching the authors or colleagues in other countries, searching online networks such as Mendeley or paying for individual articles.