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Sunday June 25, 2017

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Russian universities lose access to online library because they can’t afford the subscription fees

Students and faculty in science departments at universities all over Russia are mourning the loss of their access to an online database of scientific journals, articles and magazines owned by an American publisher. These academics and students are unable to use this literature because the Russian government is unable to continue paying the publisher for a subscription to the library.

According to a spokesperson from the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, one of Russia’s state agencies, which is responsible for the development of national science, is unable to pay for subscriptions for scientific journals and magazines published by Springer due to a sharp devaluation of the Russian ruble this year.

The access fees amounted to about $1 million USD, and in addition to being cut off from the databases owned by Springer, but Russian universities may also get cut off from other Western publishers in the very near future for the same reason.

 According to a spokesperson from Springer, the annual subscription fee for 2014 was about $3.6 USD. Springer had extended the subscription for free to Russian academics, but the Russian government eventually racked up too much debt to Springer, and they closed the account indefinitely.

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