Maximizing the visibility of research outputs: COAR call for action

“With this letter”, says Norbert Lossau, Chair of COAR Executive Board, “The Confederation of Open Access Repositories is joining in the growing protest against Elsevier’s practices opposing open access. We strongly believe that open access will greatly improve the impact and use of scholarly publications, and maximize our collective global investment in research.”

Open Letter to Elsevier

The Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) joins the research community in condemning Elsevier for its recent business practices and lobbying that undermine policies and activities promoting open access to scholarly literature. While many commercial publishers are working to adapt their business models to rising demands for open access, Elsevier has systematically acted to counter progress being made in the scholarly community towards this end.

One easy way of achieving open access is through the deposit of articles into online open access repositories. COAR strongly opposes the changes made by Elsevier to its article posting policies. These policies prohibit authors affiliated with institutions or agencies that have open access mandates to deposit copies of their articles into an open access repository unless their institution signs a very restrictive agreement with Elsevier. Despite their public commitment to “universal access”, Elsevier’s policies are greatly limiting access to scholarly literature.

These policies are in direct conflict with the objectives of COAR’s members and partners as well as the broader scholarly community, which aim to maximize access to and use of research literature. Therefore, COAR is discouraging its members and others from entering into agreements with Elsevier or other publishers that undermine open access mandates and intervene with already established and emerging author practices of article deposit.

COAR urges Elsevier to reconsider its prohibitive approach to open access and revise its policies to allow the deposit of research articles with minimum delay. We encourage publishers to work closely with the library and repository communities to develop effective and sustainable methods for article deposit that serve the needs of researchers, their institutions, and society as a whole. In addition, COAR welcomes like-minded organizations – such as licensing agencies, library consortia, etc. – to join us in developing and adopting best practice for policies and procedures regarding article deposit into open access repositories.

The Confederation of Open Access Repositories is a not-for-profit association of repository initiatives that aims to enhance visibility and application of research outputs through global networks of Open Access digital repositories. COAR represents over 80 institutions from 24 countries from throughout Europe, Latin America, Asia, and North America.

Norbert Lossau, Chair of the Executive Board, Confederation of Open Access Repositories

The full letter can be found here: COAR open letter to Elsevier.

Spanish version of the letter

Japanese version of the letter

4 thoughts on “Maximizing the visibility of research outputs: COAR call for action

  1. This is yet another exaggerated attack on Elsevier by the same people who have benefited from publishing in Elsevier and the like to reach their present academic positions. Please, be civil, stop attacking Elsevier, they are only seeking to protect their rightfully obtained copyrights. Instead, start supporting open access publishers and journals (eg. Hindawi, Bentham, MDPI…) by actually publishing your “best papers” in them and not just blogging about OA.

    • The matter is not as black and white as you make it.

      Elsevier made specific changes, and engaged in specific actions that allow it maintain a tighter grip on scientific research, and even affect laws on its distribution. What I read above is not an aimless attack but a concerned letter in response to these specific actions taken by Elsevier. For example, I learned above that (shockingly) that if you made a few changes to you manuscript in peer review, the new Elsevier pre-print guidelines prohibit its posting on the arXiv. Because, apparently, the free work of the editor and reviewer was some Elsevier added as “value”? RMS, do you consider this a positive change?

      Furthermore, perhaps your comment is tongue-in-cheek, but the Open Access Only publishers you list would get you laughed out of any academic department. Bentham is considered an “academic vanity press” and “predatory” (see the full report at's%20List%20of%20Predatory,%20Open-Access%20Publishers%202012.pdf ).

      No one is trying to take away the rightfully obtained copyrights of Elsevier, it is a matter of Elsevier’s business model being essentially a racket: papers are free (funded by taxpayers), editors are free, then Elsevier sells back the same work to the same researchers (the taxpayer pays again) at absurd (this is key here) prices. Meanwhile, Elsevier lobbies the lawmakers to prevent any possibility the taxpayer won’t have to pay up dearly (keyword) to read the taxpayer-funded research.

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