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Negotiations with Elsevier

Update of 14 June 2024: comprehensive Read & Publish agreement with Elsevier 2024 – 2028 offers unique and attractive publication opportunities

On 10 June 2024, swissuniversities signed a comprehensive Open Access agreement with Elsevier on behalf of the Swiss universities and other mandating organisations. The agreement with Elsevier guarantees to members of Swiss universities and participating organisations a full reading access to Elsevier's entire journal portfolio. The agreement also allows to publish, without restriction, in over 2,500 Elsevier Open Access journals, including the Cell Press and The Lancet journal series, at no additional cost. Furthermore, all institutions now receive permanent access to journal content that was published during the years of their participation in the agreement ("Post Cancellation Access").

In the negotiations, a key concern for swissuniversities was the focus on the quality of publications. Thanks to the “all-inclusive” agreement that has now been reached, there should be no incentive to increase publication numbers which generated additional income. With the flat-rate payment for publications, the agreement furthermore provides the participating institutions with a high degree of planning security as well as clarity and thus facilitates implementation.

The inclusion of the two portfolios Cell Press and The Lancet in the agreement eliminates the so-called "costs in the wild": Publication fees for these journals, which were previously paid in a decentralized way, will now be financed centrally by the institutions.

The agreement now explicitly regulates the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in connection with licensed content. It guarantees members of Swiss universities and mandating organisations the greatest possible liberty in the use of AI tools for the analysis of Elsevier publications for research, teaching and innovation purposes. The agreement allows the analysis of open-access publications (under licences such as "CC BY") with any AI tool or their use for the development of AI applications. The agreement also authorises any use of AI tools as long as it is guaranteed that the licensed content is not used for the further development of the model. The use of learning AI tools or the development of the university's own AI applications is permissible insofar as these are hosted locally by the institution or operated by third parties exclusively for the institution.

The agreement is available on the website of the Consortium (direct link).


Update of 29 Nov 2023

Today, the mandating institutions were again informed about the current negotiations with Elsevier. The negotiations with Elsevier have not yet resulted in a mutually acceptable agreement. As the current agreement ends on 31 Dec 2023, preparations were put in place for a scenario without agreement as of 2024. The consortium of university libraries has worked closely with its ‘Working Group’ to prepare information and documents so that the mandating institutions can then undertake the necessary preparations:

Meanwhile, the negotiation team continues its effort to find a solution with Elsevier.


Update from 1 March 2023

In March 2023, the second round of negotiations will be opened towards a Read & Publish contract with Elsevier as of 2024. The basis for these negotiations is the negotiation mandate the swissuniversities Plenary Assembly had approved on 3 February 2022, and which was already applied for the Springer Nature negotiations in 2022.


Update from 25 August 2021

After 20 months, it has become clear that the number of contractually agreed articles is sufficient, and that the quota will most likely not be exhausted until the end of 2022. This means that researchers can continue to publish with Elsevier without paying additional APC fees. From 2023, the quota is unlimited and 100% Open Access publishing is fully guaranteed.


Agreement of 2020

In 2020, swissuniversities and Elsevier adopted a pilot agreement combining reading and publishing. The agreement is the result of the negotiations organised by the Consortium of Swiss Academic Libraries (CSAL) and Elsevier. All member institutions of swissuniversities and CSAL consortium member institutions as well as their affiliated researchers across Switzerland have access to the Freedom Collection and ScienceDirect, Elsevier’s leading platform of peer-reviewed scholarly literature. Researchers affiliated to CSAL consortium member institutions can access 16 million publications from over 2,500 journals published by Elsevier and its society partners via ScienceDirect. Furthermore, researchers will be able to publish Open Access across the majority of Elsevier’s Gold and Hybrid journals, scaling up to 100% by 2023. The agreement of 2020 is available on the homepage of the Consortium of Swiss Academic Libraries.

This is a key milestone with regard to the national Open Access strategy of swissuniversities. It's the first time CSAL has signed a national contract with a major publisher. This will support academic and research institutions across Switzerland as they transition to Open Access.


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