As of 01.01.2022, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg has concluded a new contract with the publisher Elsevier. This means that, in addition to reading rights, researchers at our university now also have the opportunity to publish open access in Elsevier's core hybrid journals free of charge or to receive discounts on article fees in gold open access journals.
The extension and optimization of the contract brings some advantages for the BTU, but remains an ambivalent decision in light of the fact that Elsevier is boycotted by many major universities.
The obvious advantages are that a consistently very well-used service will continue to be available to all members of the university and that the supply of literature, which continues to be exacerbated by the pandemic situation, will be ensured. The publishing services are embedded in an easily usable infrastructure and the value-added services can also be used in a low-threshold manner. In addition, the contract contains a newly created open access component that could be negotiated on the basis of an active and open dialog and a certain willingness to compromise on both sides. The contract is similar in its terms to the DEAL contracts with Wiley and Springer Nature and could lead the way for future read-and-publish contracts with Elsevier at other institutions.
It can be seen as a disadvantage that through free hybrid publications, the obvious costs for the authors fade into the background and there is no real transformation of open access publishing. In addition, in the longer term, substantial portions of the acquisition budget are tied up, which then cannot be used to support alternative publishing models or author fees. Smaller publishers that are only relevant to certain disciplines or a few subject areas at the BTU could also be pushed out as a result, further cementing the market power of the larger publishers.
Considering the pros and cons makes it clear that a publication decision has many facets and it makes perfect sense to take a closer look at it. The University Library is aware of the dual nature of the transformation and also of the dichotomy of scholarship, and would therefore like to support by providing advice and information. It will support open access publishing to the best of its ability and would also like to enter into discussion with scientists in order to jointly develop solutions and enable free and open access to scientific information for all.
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