What will you do when access to Elsevier journals is interrupted?
The boycott against Elsevier is in progress. The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) is negotiating a new contract with Elsevier. The association now warns that access to the latest Elsevier journal articles might be interrupted in 2016.
The contract should include a significant step towards Open Access. Meaning: no costs for subscriptions, and society wide access to the content. However, due to the complexity of the negations, access to the latest Elsevier journal articles might be interrupted in 2016. It’s not the first time that negotations with Elsevier prove to be difficult: it was reason for a boycott in the first place.
Given the risk that access will be limited, the VSNU is currently investigating how academics will cope with that. They have put up a questionnaire with five questions and several scenarios. The scenarios provided suggest some promising – and less promising – strategies for getting to the articles behind the paywall.
Strategies for getting behind the paywall
When doomsday strikes, you could request an article from one of the authors, or ask a colleague abroad to access it for you. Less favorable options seem to be paying per article, or looking for other articles on the same subject that are accessible.
One thing becomes very clear: a structural solution is not in sight.