Max Planck Society discontinues agreement with Elsevier

In support of the DEAL negotiations, the current contract will not be continued

December 19, 2018

The Max Planck Society will forego a central, bilateral contract with Elsevier and instead opts for an agreement to be concluded in the DEAL negotiations.

Supported by the Scientific Members of the Max Planck Society, one of the world’s largest research performing organizations, counting 14,000 scientists who publish 12K new research articles a year—around 1500 of which in Elsevier journals, President Martin Stratmann has mandated the Max Planck Digital Library to discontinue their Elsevier subscription when the current agreement expires on December 31, 2018. At the same time, the Max Planck Society reaffirmed its support for the national licensing project DEAL.

During his speech on occation of the 14th Berlin Open Access conference, the President of the Max Planck Society, Martin Stratmann, announced that the Max Planck Society will not have parallel negotiations with Elsevier, SpringerNature or Wiley, but will negotiate new agreements as part of the DEAl consortium.

With this move the Society joins nearly 200 universities and research institutions in Germany who have already cancelled their individual agreements with Elsevier in the course of 2016 and 2017 and affirmed their support of the national licensing project DEAL, led by the German Rector’s Conference.

What will be the situtation for scientists after December 31, 2018?

Based on the rights stipulated in the contracts to date, researchers affiliated with Max Planck Institutes will retain access to the current and previously licensed contents of Elsevier journals, regardless. In order to read content published in these journals from 1.1.2019 onwards, the Max Planck Digital Library has prepared an alternative solution (Post Cancellation Service) for all Max Planck Institutes.

"The system of scholarly publishing today is a relic of the print era, and we want to activate a real paradigm shift in order to finally utilize the opportunities of the digital age", says Gerard Meijer, director at Max Planck Society’s Fritz Haber Institute and a member of the DEAL negotiation team. In a strong show of support for the DEAL negotiations, 13 prominent Max Planck Society scientists resigned from their positions as editors and members of the editorial and advisory boards of Elsevier journals in 2017.

"Transformative agreements are one of the primary strategies for driving large scale transition of scholarly publishing to open access and are increasingly being adopted by the scores of international supporters of our global Open Access 2020 Initiative", says Ralf Schimmer, Deputy General Manager of the Max Planck Digital Library. "As both producers and consumers of the research articles circulated through their journal platforms, we have the leverage to demand a system that meets the needs of our researchers, and by adopting these transformative agreements, we will be able to achieve our Society’s goal of publishing the vast majority of our researchers’ articles open access in a matter of a few short years. We have already accomplished such deals with some of the most relevant publishers to Max Planck researchers, such as Springer Nature, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Institute of Physics Publishing. Further publishers will follow in 2019."

The goal of Project DEAL is to conclude nationwide “publish and read” agreements in Germany for the entire portfolio of electronic journals from major academic publishers Elsevier, SpringerNature, and Wiley. The “publish and read” model of transformative agreement that the DEAL negotiators are proposing to the major academic publishers would cover open access publishing fees for corresponding authors from German institutions and, at the same time, provide for reading access for German institutions to the publisher’s entire portfolio of electronic journals. As no sustainable offer meeting these fundamental criteria has been forthcoming from the publisher, negotiations with Elsevier were suspended in July 2018.

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