FAQs about the DEAL Project and the cancellation of the Elsevier contract

What was cancelled?

The MFO Library cancelled all existing contracts guaranteeing access to online journals provided by Elsevier Publishing. These includes journals like Journal of Algebra, Advances in Mathematics or Journal of Differential Equations.

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/). 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 200 negotiation mandates by German universities. The MFO 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?

Starting 11 July 2018, 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 published in 2017 and 2018 will no longer be possible, you will have to obtain these via document delivery services (e.g. Subito). 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.

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 institutions, including an automatic open-access switch for all publications by German institutions and an acceptable pricing model based on publication quantity.

Has the MFO cancelled contracts with other major publishers as well?

No. Currently, the DEAL project group is negotiating with Elsevier, Wiley and Springer/Nature.