Mixed reactions to Wiley German deal

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Concerns have been raised over a new publishing deal between Wiley and a German consortium of 700 research institutes, libraries and universities. 

The deal, which is being described as the first country-wide agreement in a leading research nation, was announced at the APE conference in Berlin, Germany in January but the details have only recently been made public. The deal is described as 'publish and read', a system that is seen by some as a move towards open access.

As reported in Research Information, Plan S – announced towards the end of last year – requires that, from 2020, scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants must be published in compliant open access journals or platforms.

The Wiley deal received mixed reactions when it was announced – but that was before the costs to authors were announced. The German consortium – Project Deal – will pay Wiley 2,750 euros per paper published in the company's hybrid journals. It has been estimated that 9,500 such papers will be published each year, netting Wiley more than 26 million euros per annum.

Commentators have pointed out that the deal protects German researchers from 'double-dipping' – they will no longer have to subscribe to Wiley's journals as well as paying to publish in them – but there have also been complaints that researchers in the Netherlands are paying a significantly lower fee (1,600 euros) to publish with Wiley.

Jon Tennant, founder of the Open Science MOOC, tweeted: 'I find it impossible to see this as a success in any way. Public funds are being directly converted into private profits. This is absurd. The per-article cost is more than buying a brand new MacBook pro. For publishing a paper. Zero goes to authors, zero to reviewers.'