There’s been a lot of grumbling in recent years from researchers about the business and information-sharing practices of the companies that publish scholarly journals: The basic complaint is that while scientists write the articles and do peer review for free, universities have to pay a fortune in subscriptions (which can run in the thousands of dollars) to see and share their own work, but there are other disputes as well over issues like copyright and archiving.

The growth of online sites like, where preprints are freely shared, has been one result of this fight. Now MIT has taken it up a notch, announcing that it won’t renew a contract with Elsevier, a Dutch publishing giant (more than $2 billion in revenue) that prints more than 2,500 journals. They include some that even lay folk have heard of, like Cell and The Lancet.

In a statement, MIT says it couldn’t get Elsevier to sign a contract that “aligned with the principles of the MIT Framework for Publisher Contracts”

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