Journal cancellation natural experiment in Russia?

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360 universities and research institutes representing 20% of Russian research organizations have apparently lost access to Springer journals due to non-payment and non-clarity about who should pay. Apparently access was previously cut off for 8 months in 2012.

Most likely some Russian entity will pay and access will be restored in some months.

Another article claimed:

The head of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Fortov, was quoted by Kommersant as saying that a lack of access to foreign academic publications could undermine the development of science in the country.

Can that impact be quantified?

How about the secondary impact on citations and submission quality to Springer journals?

Complicating these two impacts, and interesting in its own respect: how much of the access do pirate libraries (I’ve heard the biggest ones are run by Russians) mitigate loss of official access?


Greece, also?

Comments there and indicate access has been on-and-off for years. includes a notice that I can’t figure out a permalink to:

Hellenic Academic Libraries Link Agreements termination
24 June 2015

HEAL-Link informs you of the termination of the agreements with all publishers as of 01.07.2015 due to the inability to collect the remaining half of the budget for the current year, despite the efforts that have been made and are continued, in cooperation with the Board of Rectors and the Ministry of Education.

We remind you that HEAL-Link had asked the publishers to extend the date of opt out from 30th of March to 30 th of June, reassuring them for their future repayment for these six months, a proposal that had been accepted (see. corresponding announcement at 02/04/2015)

However, due to unfavorable economic conditions, HEAL-Link has pending econimc issues with some publishers even for the years 2013 and 2014.

Currently HEAL-Link is obliged to proceed with the termination of the agreements, whilst seeking to maintain access for three months (grace period), with the hope that meanwhile budget might be found. Of course this may not be acceptable to all publishers, and access might be cut immediately.

Additionally, HEAL-Link will seek to ensure access for years that have been already paid, but also to find funds to maintain access to online resources for HEAL-Link members.

Can the impact be quantified?

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About fragment of V. Fortov citation

(…) lack of access to foreign academic publications could undermine the development of science in the country.

and your “Can that impact be quantified?”… yes, perhapts it’s possible (!)… There are some open data for statistics?
All third world nations, as Greece, Russia, Brazil, etc. have similar on-again-off-again for years… Perhaps some correlation of

  • more intensive use (universities’s IP traffic) of PubMed Central, Wikipedia, shadow libraries, etc. in the “off-again” periods

  • some addition in open access journals citation, after long “off-again” periods in papers of authors with affiliation pointing affected universities… (it is possible to track JATS publications).


Know anywhere documenting access over time? I imagine institution- and journal-level would be better, but country-level estimates could be a start.

That’s in addition to documentation of specific of/off changes that might serve as natural experiments.