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swissuniversities defines relationships with publishers Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley for 2020

The action plan for implementing the national Open Access Strategy aims to revise the contracts with scientific publishers. Existing consortium agreements with Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley expire at the end of 2019. swissuniversities is agreeing transitional solutions with Wiley and Elsevier for 2020. Springer Nature did not submit a cost-neutral offer. There will therefore be no contract with Springer Nature from 1/1/2020.


In February 2018, swissuniversities adopted the national Open Access Strategy and the Open Access Action Plan with the vision that all publications financed by public funds would be freely accessible by 2024. A prerequisite for this is that contracts with scientific publishers permit open-access publication of articles and monographs. In ongoing negotiations, swissuniversities is pursuing the Read and Publish model, which includes reading access and open access publication costs for universities.

At the end of 2019, swissuniversities had no Read and Publish contracts for 2020 that were ready for signature. The relationships with publishers from 1/1/2020 are outlined below:

There is a memorandum of understanding with Wiley for the conclusion of a Read and Publish deal. Negotiations with Wiley will continue in 2020. The institutions currently participating in the Wiley licence have received an offer to extend the existing licence agreement by one year on the same terms. This extension underscores both parties' commitment to continue constructive dialogue aimed at a complete switch to open access for all Swiss universities. Both sides are confident that they will achieve this.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed with Elsevier for the conclusion of a Read and Publish contract that will come into force in January 2020. swissuniversities supports the agreed framework conditions. The parties will fully negotiate the contract by the end of March 2020. Negotiations with Elsevier, which started in early 2019, have been constructive and productive to date.

Springer Nature
The existing licence agreement with Springer Nature was extended by one year in 2018. Despite efforts on both sides, they were unable to reach an agreement on a Read and Publish contract in 2019 that would meet the requirements of the swissuniversities mandate. Springer Nature did not agree to a further cost-neutral extension of the contract. The parties left the negotiating table without a result for the time being. As of January 2020, Swiss universities have no agreement with Springer Nature (non-contractual status) until further notice.

Conclusion and additional information
The outcome of negotiations with these major scientific publishers demonstrates the complexity of the process of moving towards open access. For swissuniversities, it proves that the Read and Publish principle is a viable path for everyone involved. The academic community has the means to read articles from publishers with whom there is no licence agreement, and will actively support researchers so that they can continue to access articles without disadvantage. Experience abroad has shown that research findings can still be successfully published even when there is no contract in place with a publisher.

swissuniversities and the participating institutions provide information and advice on open access. Additional information on the negotiations, access to publications, and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on our website.

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Contact: Josefa Haas, Head of Communications, +41 31 335 07 34

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