The Animal Behavior Society
Membership News

ABS/ASAB Elsevier Update

Dear ABS and ASAB Members,

On behalf of ASAB Council and the Executive Committee of ABS, we would like to give you a brief update on two issues associated with publishing our academic journal Animal Behaviour . These relate to our publisher and to the proposed move by research funders (primarily in Europe at present but see ) to move to a fully open access, pay to publish model termed Plan S, for the publishing of the research that they fund. 

Animal Behaviou r is published by Elsevier, and our two learned societies (the UK-based Association for the Study of Animal Behavior and the US-based Animal Behavior Society) jointly manage the editing and production of the journal and share the income generated from its sale. As many of you will know, some subscribers (academic institutions in Norway, Sweden and Germany, and the University of California) have terminated their subscriptions to Elsevier journals due to concerns over subscription costs and Open Access policies and charges. A number of society members have expressed disquiet over our relationship with Elsevier. We are grateful for these views and are taking note of these concerns.

Our publishing contract with Elsevier for Animal Behaviour was renewed in 2014 and lasts until December 2021. This profit-share we obtain from publishing the journal with Elsevier is the primary source of income for both ABS and ASAB. Both societies rely on this income to fund the large majority of their activities. We invest the journal income back into our membership to support and promote the study and understanding of animal behavior in a range of ways, including research and travel grants, society meetings, school and university education, animal ethics and accreditation, and media and policy activity. Hundreds of thousands of pounds/dollars are coming back to support our memberships. Pressure on Elsevier to change their business model is mounting and we will be watching this closely as we approach the end of our current publishing contract. We would, in any event, at this point be exploring a number of future options for publishing Animal Behaviour. The academic publishing landscape is changing, and we are currently in a complicated situation where the future of academic publishing for authors, publishers, and readers is not at all clear. We are involved in on-going discussions with Elsevier on these issues, and will have our annual meeting with them, which involves both ABS and ASAB, on May 20, 2019. 

We are also engaging with other academic societies to make sure we can make well-informed decisions that will enable our societies and disciplines to grow and flourish. We are currently awaiting the outcome of a review on the impact of Plan S on learned/academic societies, due to be completed in July 2019 by a large international group of learned/academic societies. We are making our views on the impact of the current Plan-S proposals on our society and our discipline known to those undertaking the review.

Please be assured that the ASAB Council and the ABS Executive Committee are paying close attention to the quickly-changing publishing landscape and the role and position of Elsevier. We intend to bring well-researched options to our societies in the near future. 

All best wishes,

Pat Monaghan, ASAB Council

John Swaddle, ABS Executive Committee