Oct 292007

As reported in the Library Journal:

The Max Planck Society (MPS), a major German research organization, issued a strongly worded statement this week to announce it was cancelling access to Springer’s online collection of journals over pricing. The cancellation will take effect as of December 31, 2007. MPS Vice President Kurt Mehlhorn said negotiations to extend the deal failed because, according to an MPS evaluation based on factors including usage and comparisons with other publishers, Springer was intent on charging “approximately double the price” the organization regarded as “reasonable.” …

Heise Online explains:

The failure of the talks means that the various institutes will soon no longer be able to access the common pool of scientific literature via the research surface by the name of SpringerLink that the publishing house provides. The Society will now with the institutes most affected attempt to work out a strategy whereby the supply of indispensable scientific content can be ensure in a cost-effective way. Because the subscriptions taken out in 1997 included the electronic archive rights, which according to the contract stay in force beyond the termination of the same, the scientists will, however, continue to enjoy online access to the paid-for, older volumes of the journals.

In other words, the “Big Deal” arrangements have been cancelled but the underlying subscriptions continue. This isn’t the first such cancellation (and unlikely to be the last) but it is a high-profile row and must be embarrassing to Springer in its original home territory.

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