Negotiations with major STM publishers

CC0 - Pixabay

CC0 - Pixabay

Swissuniversities’ negotiations with publishing powerhouses Wiley and Elsevier have resulted in transitory agreements for 2020. However, scholars may face restrictions on Springer-Nature publications next year.

You can find the latest news and detailed information about the negotiations and new models for licensing on our dedicated webpage.

Swissuniversities has been in negotiations since beginning of 2019 with the top three academic publishers with two main goals to be reached. The first goal : to allow researchers in Switzerland access to all papers in the publishers’ online journal portfolios. The second goal : to reach “Read & Publish” agreements, which would allow researchers to publish open access articles in the publishers’ journals – meaning they would be available worldwide without any restrictions – without additional article processing charges.

These goals stem from swissuniversities’ Open Access strategy, which foresees a general move to open access scholarly publishing in Switzerland. This means that by 2024. all academic publications financed with public money would have to be freely available online.

These goals have only been partially achieved for the time being :

  • Wiley: a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with Wiley for the conclusion of a Read&Publish agreement for 2021. Negotiations with Wiley will continue in 2020. Institutions that already have a license agreement with Wiley have been offered an extension on unchanged terms for one year.
  • Elsevier: a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with Elsevier for the conclusion of a Read&Publish agreement that will be valid from January 2020. swissuniversities supports the agreed framework conditions. The contract will be fully negotiated between the parties by the end of March 2020.
  • Springer-Nature: the existing license agreement with Springer-Nature was extended by one year in 2018. In 2019, despite mutual efforts, it was not possible to agree on a Read&Publish agreement that met the requirements of the swissuniversities mandate. Springer Nature was unable to accept a further extension of the contract that would have no impact on costs. To date, the parties have left the negotiating table without result. From January 2020 and until further notice, the Swiss universities will no longer have an agreement with Springer-Nature (non-contractual status). As a consequence, there will be access restrictions on new articles in Springer-Nature journals next year.

EPFL Library provides alternatives to access articles

Versions of Springer-Nature articles published from January 2020 onwards can be accessed using alternatives routes, please check the related factsheet. The Library will provide strong and active support to help its users to get the articles they need in the fastest way. Should you have any question or need help, please do not hesitate to contact [email protected].

The big three

Springer Nature, Wiley and Elsevier are the world’s three biggest academic publishing houses. Their many publications are important to the scientific community, which gives them enormous bargaining power. University libraries are also paying equally enormous bills to access this scholarly content.

Number of journals :

  • Elsevier: around 1,900
  • Springer Nature: around 2,190
  • Wiley: around 1,500

In 2019, Swiss institutions of higher education paid these publishers a total of around EUR 22.4 million (excluding sales tax). The EPFL Library paid “the big three” around CHF 1.41 million (excluding sales tax) for access to their publications during this time period.


Source: Library