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Helmholtz Centers Terminate Agreements with Elsevier 

16 Helmholtz Association Centers have terminated their license agreements with scientific publisher Elsevier effective by the end of 2017. One of these Centers is the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC). 

With this decision, all of the Helmholtz Centers’ Elsevier agreements that end on December 31, 2017 will expire. In doing so, the largest German research organization joins more than one hundred scientific organizations that have terminated or not extended their license agreements with Elsevier in order to strengthen the negotiating position of the DEAL project. Since 2016, representatives of the DEAL project have been negotiating a nation-wide licensing of journals with the publisher Elsevier on behalf of the Alliance of Science Organizations in Germany. The negotiations have been very difficult, which is why the withdrawal should now send out a clear signal.

The President of the Helmholtz Association, Professor Otmar D. Wiestler, explains: “The Helmholtz Association will not conclude any license agreements in its own name with Elsevier. We are promoting the transition of the publishing system to open access and thus support the objectives of the DEAL project.”

The main objectives are as follows:

  • All scientific institutions participating in the DEAL agreement are to have permanent full text access to the entire range of Elsevier e-journals.
  • All publications by authors from German institutions will automatically be open access (CC-BY, including peer review).
  • Reasonable pricing according to a simple, future-oriented calculation model, based on the volume of publications.

Prof. Ingo Morano of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) approves of the Helmholtz Associations decision. He is the MDC’s representative for Open Science and says: “Open Access clearly benefits both science and the whole society, which makes it the modus operandi of the future.“ Dr. Dorothea Busjahn, head of the MDC’s library, agrees and adds: „The pure subscription model is anachronistic. It’s a business model of publishers which hinders modern digital working methods.“

Dr. Martin Köhler, library director of DESY and thus far chief negotiator for the Helmholtz Association agreements with Elsevier, has no concerns regarding the supply of literature: “The experiences of those who ‘opted out’ at the beginning of the year have shown that a contractless state can be handled without any problems. The Helmholtz libraries are well positioned. Even in the case of prolonged negotiations they will be able to continue a reliable supply with the required articles.”

Source: Helmholtz Association

Further information

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