heise.de reports that the Max Planck Society, a major German research organization with more than 80 institutes, canceled the negotiations for a renewal of a license agreement for online access to SpringerLink with the end of the year. This means that almost 20,000 scientists will not have access to anything published in 1200 journals after the end of the year. (The archive will still be available.)
The reason that the talks failed is that Springer wanted twice the amount the Max Planck Society considered as justifiable, although they say even the justifiable amount was higher than what other publishers charge.
The Max Planck Society is one of the main proponents of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. It is the first major research organization that I'm aware of that breaks free of the stranglehold of the publishing industry. The question is, of course: what will happen next? Do they stay firm and begin to cause a shift towards Open Access journals? Or will Springer go down with the price just enough that the contract will be renewed?
Update: heise.de now reports this story in English as well.
Update 2: Well, they have reached an agreement on January 29, 2008.