UKB Statement: Concern about Elsevier’s Open Access Policy

UKB, the consortium of the thirteen Dutch university libraries and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, is deeply concerned about the fact that Elsevier has recently adapted its Open Access policy such that it prevents the growth of the digital availability of the international scientific output of scholars in The Netherlands.

UKB statement: zorg over Elseviers beleid Open Access (original version); English summary below (here as PDF)

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Elsevier’s new policy

Elsevier recently added a clause to its policy concerning Authors’ rights, which implies that authors cannot simply deposit their articles in subject-oriented, centralised or institutional repositories if funders of the research (such as the EU) or the institution require them to do so. If such an obligation exists separate agreements must be made with an institution about the terms governing the posting of articles.

The clause states that an author “has the right to post a revised personal version of the text of the final journal article (to reflect changes made in the peer review process) on your personal or institutional web site or server for scholarly purposes, incorporating the complete citation and with a link to the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) of the article (but not in subject-oriented or centralized repositories or institutional repositories with mandates for systematic postings unless there is a specific agreement with the publisher- see http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/authorsview.authors/fundingbodyagreements for further information.”

Disturbing

UKB, the consortium of the thirteen Dutch university libraries and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, on the subject:
UKB is deeply concerned about the fact that Elsevier has recently adapted its Open Access policy and has taken the initiative to negotiate directly with universities and research institutions about the conditions under which their authors may deposit manuscripts of their own articles in repositories. UKB aims to expand the digital availability of Dutch scientific output and is an advocate of publication in Open Access. UKB therefore deplores every action that results in the restriction of that accessibility, such as unacceptably long embargo periods. In addition, UKB is concerned about the consequences of this clause, namely that it will become even less clear for authors whether and according to which conditions they are allowed to post their article in a repository. This in turn will create an extra obstacle preventing authors from doing so. It is the view of UKB that an author should in principle have the right to deposit his own article, preferably in the version produced by the publisher but in any case in the final author’s version, a right which should not become dependent on (subsequent) agreements with publishers. UKB is particularly concerned about the fact that publishers may overrule agreements made between authors and funding bodies by means of this policy.

Recommendations of UKB

In light of Elsevier’s policy change, UKB has the intention to:

  • Make the above statement known to researchers; 
  • Vent its concern explicitly to Elsevier, possibly together with the organisations that participate in Knowledge Exchange and with the VSNU;
  • Contact institutions that have an Open Access fund (NWO, KNAW and a number of universities) about possible exclusion of Elsevier from these Open Access funds.
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