Elsevier journal agreement cancelled

15 August 2018

The University Library's journal agreement with Elsevier expired on 30 June 2018. The Bibsam Consortium at the Royal Library has decided not to renew the agreement, as Elsevier cannot meet the requirements for open access. The negotiations with Elsevier will continue.

Bibsam cancel agreement

"Negotiations have been going on for a long time with Elsevier, and it is positive that the country's institutions now clearly state that we need to move forward in the process of transitioning to an OA publishing system. License costs place a heavy burden on the institutions and their libraries and the current price developments are not sustainable. It is important that we stick together and collaborate so that researchers can access the research results," says Margareta Hemmed, Library Director at Gothenburg University Library.

Since 1996, the Bibsam Consortium negotiates license agreements for electronic journals and databases on behalf of Swedish universities, colleges and research institutes. After 20 years it has been decided that the agreement with Elsevier regarding e-journals will not be renewed. This decision is about meeting the government's target for immediate open access by 2026 and about switching from a subscription-based to an open access publishing system.

The requirements include:

  • Immediate open access to all articles published in Elsevier journals by researchers affiliated with participating organisations
  • Reading access for participating organisations to all articles in Elsevier’s 1,900 journals
  • A sustainable price model that enables a transition to open access

Swedish researchers publish about 4000 articles annually in Elsevier's journals. In 2017, about SEK 13 million was paid in publishing costs, in addition to the SEK 120 million that the participating organizations paid in license costs to read Elsevier's journals.

Access to articles

Articles published January 1995-30 June 2018 will remain available to researchers from participating organizations under the current agreement. Content published after June 30, 2018 will not be accessible.

Can the University of Gothenburg sign single subscriptions to Elsevier's journals?

The heads of the Swedish universities and university colleges have unanimously recommended the Bibsam Consortium to cancel the agreement as no offer has been received that meets the consortium's demand for a sustainable price to read and publish in Elsevier's journals.

Starting single subscriptions to Elsevier journals may undermine future negotiations with Elsevier and should be avoided as far as possible.

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