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Publisher negotiations

Negotiating with scientific publishers is part of Switzerland's national Open Access strategy. These negotiations have led to numerous "Read and Publish" agreements in recent years. As a result, the proportion of Open Access publications in Switzerland has increased significantly. This has led to a transformation from "pay-to-read" (i.e., subscription) to "pay-to-publish" publication models.

On behalf of swissuniversities, the Consortium of Swiss Academic Libraries (CSAL) negotiates licenses with publishers to provide access to digital publications. Almost all Swiss universities are involved in the consortium licenses of the major academic publishers. The consortium therefore negotiates on behalf of more than 40 institutions, which strengthens Switzerland’s negotiating position.

Negotiations with the three major publishers, namely, Springer Nature, Elsevier and Wiley (the so-called Big Deals negotiations) account for around three quarters of license expenditure in Switzerland. The contracts concluded with them also serve as precedents for negotiations with medium-sized publishers.

The negotiation objectives, defined by the Delegation Open Science (DelOS) in the negotiation mandate, are approved by the members of swissuniversities. The results and experiences from the negotiations are regularly discussed among the involved stakeholders. The negotiations are based on the LIBER principles for Open Access negotiations. With their signature, the participating universities, institutes, and libraries provide support to the negotiation objectives and, at the same time, refrain from engaging in parallel negotiations. 

The first round of negotiations for the big deals started in early 2018. Since 2020, the Swiss National Science Foundation has also been involved in the reconfigured negotiation team. Following the successful conclusion of the first round of negotiations with the three major publishing houses Elsevier (contract term 2020-2023), Springer Nature (contract term 2020-2022), and Wiley (contract term 2021-2024), swissuniversities has implemented the Read & Publish model with the three biggest publishing houses. This model grants reading access to academic periodicals and also covers Open Access publications.

On February 3rd, 2022, the plenary assembly of swissuniversities passed an updated negotiation mandate for the second round of negotiations. These negotiations started in early 2022 with Springer Nature and resulted in the second OA agreement for the years 2023-2025. The second round of negotiations continues with Elsevier in 2023 and with Wiley in 2024.

Learn more about negotiations with individual publishers:


Springer Nature