Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


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Jonathan Tennant, & Björn Brembs. (2018, October 26). RELX referral to EU competition authority. Zenodo.


We believe that Elsevier and other major publishers are continuing to engage in anti-competitive practices, which are continuously worsening, and that information gained in the last 15 years urges immediate investigation and intervention into this unregulated market space. This could be, for example, through an empirical analysis of the scholarly publishing market; by having an independent regulatory body monitoring and overseeing the digital services provided by Elsevier and others within the industry; banning the use of non-disclosure clauses in licensing contracts; requiring transparency into the production costs of research articles and publishing operations; banning the use of inappropriate journal-level metrics in hiring, granting, and promotion decisions; abolishing copyright on journal articles; and encouraging the wider establishment of library consortia to increase buyer power (and therefore simultaneously potentially reduce the monopoly power of publishers).

It is our view that action of this sort is clearly required in order to transform the present scholarly publishing sector into one characterised by sustainable service-based competitive market conditions, and this cannot be achieved without taking explicit measures against the business practices of Elsevier and other large publishers. We finish by noting that Plan S is a small and welcome step in this direction, but requires substantially more conviction if it is to lead to the functionality of a truly competitive scholarly publishing market.