A bold open-access push in Germany could change the future of academic publishing

by Gretchen Vogel and Kai Kupferschmidt
Science, August 23, 2017

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Over the past 2 years, more than 150 German libraries, universities, and research institutes have formed a united front trying to force academic publishers into a new way of doing business. Instead of buying subscriptions to specific journals, consortium members want to pay publishers an annual lump sum that covers publication costs of all papers whose first authors are at German institutions. Those papers would be freely available around the world; meanwhile, German institutions would receive access to all the publishers’ online content. Germany’s consortium, named Projekt DEAL, thinks a successful outcome could help trigger what some call a “big flip,” a global transition toward open access. “If it works, it would be a model for the rest of the world,” says one negotiator, mathematician Günter Ziegler of the Free University of Berlin.

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