This week it was finally announced that the Association of Dutch Universities (VSNU) and the publisher Elsevier had reached an agreement on a continuation of the Big Deal for access to all Elsevier journals combined with a transition to Open Access publishing for researchers at Dutch Universities.
In actual fact there is no deal yet. There is an “agreement in principle” and “details of this 3-year agreement, which is to start in 2016, will be finalized in the near future“. That is the reason why so few details are discussed in the accompanying Q&A. We only know that by 2018 researchers at Dutch universities are able to publish some 30% of their articles in Open Access. How we reach this 30% is not explicated. Nor the journals that are involved in this part of the deal. Which subject areas? Hybrid journals only? Or does it include the Gold open access journals from Elsevier as well? Just a few questions that need clarification. I am not going to speculate to answer these questions.
I want to turn the attention to a quick internet poll which was held by @MsPhelps who won in this deal, Elsevier or the VSNU
I’m genuinely curious – tell me, who do you think ‘won’ the Dutch big deal negotiation? https://t.co/86oIczGd6i
— Biⓐnca Kramer (@MsPhelps) 10 december 2015
In total some 59 persons did cast their vote, and the large majority (69%) voted in favour of Elsevier, the remainder for the Dutch Universities. A major problem with this poll, is that we don’t have the details yet as @HugoBesemer indicated, so how can we judge who the winners or losers are? My idea is that the Rest of the World won. The Dutch universities have shown that it is possible to strike a deal with Elsevier with major steps to Open Access publishing in toll access journals. Similar to the Springer deal in the Netherlands, which was followed bij comparable deals in the UK, Max Planck Gesellschaft and Austria, it is highly likely that this deal with Elsevier will follow in other consortia negotiations as well. Dutch Universities and Elsevier have shown way. The way to go with the big deal. Flip from a subscription based model to a based on Author Processing Charges.