The world of academic publishing is undergoing significant changes. Dutch university libraries have signed open access agreements with various small publishers and publisher Elsevier Reed has acquired The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) database.

Publisher Reed Elsevier announced the takeover of The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) yesterday. The website offers free access to academic articles in the areas of law, history, philosophy and economics. The network also offers articles prior to publication in a peer reviewed periodical, the so-called preprint.

Unease among academics

The acquisition has led to unease among academics according to Vice. Publisher Reed Elsevier already owns the biggest proportion of academic titles by far. Critics are concerned that the acquisition of SSRN will lead to the publisher having even more influence. SSRN promises that the website will continue to offer free access to academic articles under Reed Elsevier, but critics have already stated they’re counting the days until the website breaks this promise.


Expansion of open access

Other news in the world of academic publishing: according to Folia, the university libraries, in cooperation with the IT consortium SURF, have signed open access agreements with publishers Emerald, Walter de Gruyter and Karger.

Karger is a medical publisher in Switzerland. The new agreement will enable universities with a university medical centre access to Karger titles, and scientists connected with Dutch universities will also be able to publish some 250 articles per year via the publisher. According to the Association of Dutch Universities (VSNU), this number is identical to the number of articles that Dutch universities already publish annually with Karger.

Emerald publisher issues a number of vouchers each year to publish in open access. Publisher Walter de Gruyter offers Dutch universities a 90 per cent discount on the publication price.