What was cancelled?

On behalf of the University of Münster, the Head of Administration cancelled all existing contracts guaranteeing access to online journals provided by Elsevier Publishing. These include approximately 2,500 academic journals which are of particular interest to the Faculties of Medicine, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Biology, Psychology/Sport and Exercise Sciences, Geosciences, Physics and Economics.

Why was the contract with Elsevier cancelled?

The cancellation came about during negotiations with Elsevier which were being conducted by the DEAL project group. The “Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany” (MPG, Fraunhofer, Leibniz Association, Helmholtz Association, DFG and HRK) launched the DEAL Project under the aegis of the German Rectors’ Conference (https://www.projekt-deal.de/ [de]). The aim was to secure nationwide licensing rights to information services provided by the major scientific publishers, such as Elsevier, Wiley and Springer/Nature. The DEAL Project represents more than 100 negotiation mandates by German universities. The Head of Administration of the University of Münster granted a corresponding mandate. When Elsevier failed to offer the DEAL project group an acceptable proposal for a new contract, the chief negotiators were forced to take this course of action.

How will the cancellation affect my work as a researcher and academic?

Starting 1 January 2017, the current issues of all Elsevier journals will no longer be accessible online. As direct access to the online version of articles from Elsevier journals in 2017 will no longer be possible, you will have to obtain these via interlibrary loan or rapid document delivery services (e.g. Rapidoc). You will likely have to do the same for articles in issues published in 2016 and earlier because – due to a limited selection of offers by Elsevier – the University could only purchase a handful of subscriptions with permanent archive access rights. Fortunately, users will still be able to access issues of some 1,500 Elsevier journals published between 1907 and 2002. These will remain permanently accessible to online users thanks to a DFG-financed national licence.

Is there any other way to obtain the articles I need?

If the articles were published in journals for which there are no archive rights for that particular year, you may order them via interlibrary loan or document delivery services. For related information, see “What costs are covered by the University Library Münster?”.

The academic staff of the University of Münster may also obtain articles from Elsevier journals via the rapid delivery service SUBITO (https://www.subito-doc.de/). One-time registration is required, after which selected articles from Elsevier journals can be delivered via email in PDF format. Normal orders within 72 hours cost 6 euros, and rush orders within 24 hours cost 10.50 euros. For information about reimbursement, see “What costs are covered by the University Library Münster?”.

What costs are covered by the University Library Münster if I want to order an article from an Elsevier journal via interlibrary loan or document delivery service?

document delivery
© kallejipp / photocase.com

Students of the University of Münster who wish to order an article from an Elsevier journal (see list of Elsevier publications [de]) via interlibrary loan can be reimbursed for the interlibrary loan fee of 1.50 euros by filling out this Reimbursement Form [de]. Students should not pay these fees in advance at the payment machines.

The academic staff of the University of Münster are also eligible for reimbursement by the University Library of interlibrary loan fees incurred through ordering articles from Elsevier journals. These expenses will not be charged to the corresponding faculties, as is usually the case.
This user group can also be refunded for fees charged by the rapid document delivery service SUBITO (https://www.subito-doc.de/). One-time registration is required, after which selected articles from Elsevier journals can be delivered via email in PDF format. Normal orders within 72 hours cost 6 euros, and rush orders within 24 hours cost 10.50 euros.
The University Library can reimburse these charges; simply fill out the following Expense Reimbursement Form [de] and send it together with your corresponding invoices to: Elsevier-Erstattung.SUBITO2017@uni-muenster.de
This expense reimbursement offer for document delivery applies only to charges incurred via SUBITO and is restricted to articles in journals provided by Elsevier Publishing. Unfortunately the University Library cannot cover the fees charged by other document delivery services.

Who authorised the cancellation?

The Head of Administration of the University of Münster, in consultation with some 60 German universities, cancelled all contracts guaranteeing access to online journals provided by Elsevier Publishing, effective 31 December 2016.

Who can I contact if I have further questions?

If you have any questions about the cancellation of the subscription contracts to the Elsevier journals, please contact the Deputy Director of the University Library, Dr. Peter te Boekhorst (Peter.te.Boekhorst@uni-muenster.de / +49 (0)251 83-24023).

What are the demands of the DEAL project group?

The DEAL project group would like to broker a new nationwide contract with Elsevier Publishing that would provide permanent access rights to all Elsevier journals for all German universities and research organisations, including an automatic open-access switch for all publications by German institutions and an acceptable pricing model based on publication quantity.

How did the University secure access to Elsevier journals in the past?

In past years, various institutes of the University of Münster and the University Library held licenses for about 170 online journals supplied by Elsevier Publishing. According to the licensing contract, cancellation of the subscription would also entail cancellation of access to all online journals.
In 2010, the University of Münster also obtained a license to the so-called “Freedom Collection”, providing access to the complete range of Elsevier’s online journals, but not including archive rights.

Who is especially impacted by the cancellation of the Elsevier contract?

Elsevier journals are particularly important to the teaching staff, researchers and students in the Faculties of Medicine, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Biology, Psychology/Sport and Exercise Sciences, Geosciences, Physics and Economics. There are also several journals that are more widely read among academics in the humanities.

Does the cancellation affect access to Elsevier’s SCOPUS database?

The cancellation only applies to Elsevier’s online journals. Existing contracts providing access to the databases operated by Elsevier Publishing (e.g. SCOPUS) are not affected.

Is the University of Münster the only university to cancel its Elsevier contracts?

Sixty other universities in Germany also cancelled their contracts with Elsevier. Like the University of Münster, they did not have multiyear contracts, guaranteeing online access to Elsevier journals.

Has the University of Münster cancelled contracts with other major publishers as well?

No. For the moment, the DEAL project group is only negotiating with Elsevier. The project group plans to initiate negotiations with the other major providers of academic journals, such as Wiley and Springer/Nature, in 2017 and 2018.

Can I still publish articles in Elsevier journals?

The cancellation only affects contracts governing access to the online journals. Members of the University of Münster still have the possibility of publishing their articles in journals supplied by Elsevier Publishing.