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Press Release from Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin Cancel Contract with International Publisher Elsevier

Friday, 30. June 2017

Berlin Universities Demand Fair Prices and Free Access to Information

Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin are canceling their contract with the international publisher Elsevier. They are demanding fair prices and free access to knowledge.

The universities issued this statement:

“The three major universities in Berlin and Charité are united in supporting the negotiation objectives of the alliance of German academic institutions regarding the DEAL project aiming to improve access to academic literature. Through nationwide licensing agreements with the major publishers Elsevier, Springer/Nature, and Wiley, their journals are to be converted to a new financing model that would provide financial relief for German academic institutions and at the same time permit their publications to be available on an open access basis. In the future, payment would no longer be made through subscriptions to journals, but rather by paying for the costs of publishing one’s own articles, which would then be made available free of charge to everyone.

More than half of the expenditures of German university libraries for journals currently go to these three major publishers. Since 2016 the DEAL team, under the direction of the president of the German Rectors‘ Conference, Prof. Dr. Horst Hippler, has been negotiating with Elsevier regarding access to all the journals published by Elsevier on the basis of financing all the articles by German authors that are published by Elsevier. However, up to now the publishing giant Elsevier has not been will to accept this proposal. In 2016 more than 70 academic institutions canceled their subscriptions to journals published by Elsevier, in order to achieve their common goal. In the upcoming weeks, many more academic institutions plan to follow.

Several strong research institutions in Berlin whose scholars and scientists publish extensively are now joining this front. As of the end of 2017, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Technische Universität Berlin will not renew their contract for subscriptions published by Elsevier. They are unified in supporting the objectives of the DEAL initiative:

  • All the academic institutions joining the DEAL agreement would have permanent full-text access to the electronic journals (e-journals) published by Elsevier.
  • All the publications by authors from German institutions will automatically be switched to open access (CC-BY, incl. peer review).
  • Fair pricing according to a simple, future-oriented calculation model based on the volume of publications.


These Berlin institutions are calling for Elsevier to continue constructive negotiations. They have joined together to jointly prepare for changed conditions in providing information.”

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Further Information:

Stefanie Terp
Spokeswoman
Office for Press, Public Relations, and Alumni
TU Berlin
Tel.: +49 30 / 314-23922

Uwe Dolderer
Corporate Communications
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Tel.: +49 30 450-570401

Hans-Christoph Keller
Spokesperson of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Head of Public Relations Office
Tel.: +49 30 2093-2946

Goran Krstin
Press Spokesman for the President
Freie Universität Berlin
Tel.: +49 30 838-73106

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