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Publisher negotiations

The consortium of Swiss university libraries negotiates licences with publishers for access to digital publications on behalf of Swiss universities. Almost all Swiss universities are included in consortium licences for the major scientific publishers. Consortium licences with Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley have a total annual value of approximately CHF 22.4 million.

At the beginning of 2018, the universities asked swissuniversities and the consortium to negotiate so-called Read and Publish deals with these publishers. These contracts guarantee access to a publisher's licensed journals. In addition, they cover the costs for open access publication. The switch to open access should be cost-neutral for Swiss universities.

swissuniversities publicised its negotiation strategy and objectives and the make-up of its negotiating team at the beginning of 2018. Since 2020, the Swiss National Science Foundation has also been part of the renewed negotiating team.


swissuniversities and Elsevier adopt 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.

As a result, all member institutions of swissuniversities and additional CSAL consortium member institutions as well as their affiliated researchers across Switzerland will have continued 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.

This is a key milestone with regard to the national Open Access strategy of swissuniversities, which aims to achieve 100% Open Access by 2024. The four-year agreement is the first time CSAL has signed a national contract with a major publisher and will support all academic and research institutions across Switzerland as they transition to Open Access.

The agreement has been published and can be accessed on the homepage of the Consortium of Swiss Academic Libraries.

More information on the scope of the pilot agreement can be found at


Springer Nature

Since March 2020, there has been a memorandum of understanding for the conclusion of a Read&Publish contract. The publisher shall keep access open for the titles concerned until the contract is concluded.  With the MoU, the two parties confirm their intention to conclude a transformative Read&Publish agreement by summer 2020.

swissuniversities welcomes the renewed contact from Springer Nature, which demonstrates that the model promoted by the Swiss Higher Education Institutions also meets the interests of scientific publishers. This development will ensure that relations with the major publishing houses will all be regulated according to the Read&Publish system in the long term.

Previous situation

Since January 2020, Swiss universities have had no agreement with Springer Nature (non-contractual status) until further notice. This affects publications from Springer, Adis, Palgrave, Nature Academic and Nature Branded, including Scientific American. However, the publisher is keeping access open.



There is a memorandum of understanding with Wiley for the conclusion of a Read and Publish contract. 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.