The future of academic publishing is currently being negotiated in Berlin. German librarians and academic leaders are pushing for open access, trying to remove the paywall that surrounds most research papers. Germany wants full open access for articles authored by its academics; lower costs generally; and for publishing giant Elsevier to effectively charge per article published, by offsetting article processing charges against subscription fees.
Over the past 2 years, more than 150 German libraries, universities, and research institutes have formed a front trying to force academic publishers into a new way of doing business, embracing the concept of Open Data. Instead of buying subscriptions to specific journals, consortium members want to pay publishers an annual lump sum that covers publication costs of all papers whose first authors are at German institutions. Those papers would be freely available around the world; meanwhile, German institutions would receive access to all the publishers' online content.
The negotiations are not yet finalised and might take some time. Read this article to get to know the full background of this German open access push!