“No matter how well-intended (and we all know to which place the road leads that is paved with good intentions!), transformative agreements (such as DEAL in Germany) are generally the wrong tool at the wrong time for making publicly funded science accessible to the public. If you count public statements, the picture of a rare academic consensus emerges: the DEAL-incompatible proposals and criteria from the Council of EU Science Ministers were enthusiastically welcomed by a wide range of scientific organizations. This was not surprising as these conclusions originated from within the scholarly community and build on existing solutions within scholarly institutions. More surprising is the positive feedback coming from the smaller publishers. They welcome these modern concepts from the scientific community that have found their way into the EU decisions, because they finally give them an opportunity to compete with the larger publishers. In short, the only ones still considering DEAL to be up to the task are DEAL themselves and the big publishers; all other relevant actors who have made public statements so far, all reject DEAL.
If DEAL needs to be rejected in general, the Elsevier DEAL needs to be rejected with particular fervor. In addition to the reasons mentioned above, the price negotiated by DEAL with Elsevier is many times more expensive than the market-based solutions favored by all other stakeholders. These spiraling costs will eventually eat into the budget also of non-DEAL fields, which have already taken massive hits by the serials crisis. Elsevier is also part of the surveillance corporation RELX and the clauses in the contract that are intended to protect users from data abuse are useless, because they are neither policed nor enforced. This blank check issued to Elsevier makes participating institutions accomplices in the corporation’s eventual privacy violations. Especially in times of globally growing autocratic tendencies, there should be no question that German universities ought not to denigrate themselves to data suppliers for international intelligence services and law enforcement agencies – all important RELX customers….”