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swissuniversities’ negotiations with publishing powerhouses Elsevier and Springer Nature regarding open access to publicly financed publications has resulted in read & publish agreements. For Wiley no agreement could be found yet. Negotiations will continue in 2021.

Results

Frequently asked questions: About the negotiations

Why negotiate?

Licensing and publishing situation

Licensing: Current agreements for access to the content of major scientific, technical and medical (STM) publishers see high annual fee increases and most often do not comply with national and funder’s strategies and policies on open access.

Publishing: More and more researchers are publishing their results open access. Meanwhile, hybrid journals practice double-dipping (charging separately for subscription access and gold open access publishing), and fees for this publishing model are high and continue to rise.

What are the key aspects of the recent negotiations?

The negotiating team has clear objectives that they want to reach on behalf of all Swiss institutions of higher education.

Objectives

Subscriptions and current expenses

Can you explain the different licensing models?

Traditional licensing models for accessing scientific publications are often based on the size of the subscribing institution (number of full-time employees) and historical print subscription expenses. These agreements do not take into account the institution’s expenses for gold open access publishing (article processing charges, or APCs). Annual fee increases on these agreements vary on average from 3% to 6% or even higher.

Transformative agreements aim to bundle negotiated pricing conditions for accessing scientific publications and publishing services in a single agreement in order to streamline expenses and prevent double-dipping.

What is the mandate of swissuniversities?

A team commissioned by swissuniversities has been negotiating since January 2019 with the three major publishers Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley to find a satisfactory agreement for the Swiss scientific community based on the read & publish principle.

The team negotiates on behalf of all Swiss institutions of higher education, including EPF Lausanne and ETH Zurich.

Individual institutions have agreed not to run parallel negotiations with these three publishers until the objectives of the current negotiations have been met.

Solidarity with this initiative implies acceptance of a no-deal situation (no subscriptions, no access) after current agreements lapse if the negotiation objectives are not achieved.

More information about the swissuniversities negotiation strategy and goals