Other Projects and Initiatives

Project DEAL is by no means on its own. Projects and initiatives have been developing all over Europe and in other parts of the world with the aim of negotiating sustainable deals with the big publishers. They all try to further the transformation towards Open Access.

The Netherlands
In the “Roadmap open access 2018-2020” from 7 March 2018, the mission of the Vereniging van Universiteiten (VSNU) is described as follows:
“The collective goal of the VSNU […] – together with NWO/ZonMw (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research/Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development) and the KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) – is to realise 100% open access for all research disciplines and all types of publications.”

Regarding the current state of Open Access in the Netherlands, the “Roadmap” states:
“The figures show that the Netherlands has already achieved excellent open-access results in recent times: in 2016, nearly 42% of peer-reviewed articles published by Dutch research universities were open-access publications. […] VSNU is committed to and confident of achieving the goal set by the National Plan for Open Science, i.e. 100% open access by 2020. The Dutch government’s coalition agreement, entitled “Vertrouwen in de toekomst“ (“Trust in the Future”, October 2017) emphasizes the importance of this issue, pledging that ‘open science and open access will be the norm in scientific research’. “

The president of VSNU, Pieter Duisenberg, formulates the ultimate goal regarding Open Access thus:
„Our negotiating organisation is a leading light for foreign universities, and we will continue to follow our open vision of the future until we achieve 100% open access. In this way, we will ensure that the valuable knowledge provided by our universities benefits the whole of society.“

The Bibsam Consortium entered into negotiations with Elsevier in order to achieve a better deal vis-à-vis cost models for the transition to and implementation of Open Access in 2016.
Since the adjournment of negotiations in July 2018, the Swedish libraries no longer have access to the current issues of Elsevier journals. The negotiating team around the chairwoman Astrid Söderbergh Widding asks for immediate Open Access on the basis of “Publish&Read” (PAR) for all Elsevier journals, combined with a long-term and sustainable cost model. A complete transformation towards Open Access for all publicly funded publications shall be achieved by 2026.

Astrid Söderbergh Widding describes the necessity for this step thus:
“We need to change the system of scientific communication because of the rising costs for both licences and APCs. These high prices are depleting state research funds to the benefit of commercial enterprises. We must take control of the costs, and we believe the time is ripe now that Germany has set the example, and there are also other countries in the pipeline. […] I expect the negotiations to resume in the autumn. We heads of European educational institutions have a lot of contact with each other in order to monitor developments. Within the EU, there is now the view that research financiers also have a responsibility. If they begin to demand open access publication, the publishers will be forced to flip the system.” (in: Online-Magazin Curie, 17.09.2018)

In their Proposal for national guidelines for Open Access to scientific information from 2015, the Swedish Research Council has identified five obstacles barring the way to Open Access:

  • The current merit and resource allocation system versus incentives for open access
  • Funding for a transition from a subscription-based to an open access publishing system
  • Open access to scholarly monographs
  • Financial and technical support for converting peer-reviewed and scholarly journals from toll access to open access
  • Monitoring of compliance with open access policies and mandates

A working group has been formed for each of these points, all of which are expected to present respective studies by 2019.

On October 11, 2018, the Bibsam Consortium announced the disruption of academic research due to the cutoff by Elsevier to be much less of a problem than expected.

On June 25, 2019, the Bibsam Consortium announced the signing of an Open Access Agreement with Springer Nature. The full agreement can be viewed here.

On July 12, 2019, the Consortium announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Wiley.

On November 12, 2019, the Bibsam Consortium announced the signing of an agreement with Elsevier. The press release can be cound here.

Unit (The Norwegian Directorate for ICT and Joint Services in Higher Education and Research) negotiates at the behest of the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research with eleven publishers, among them four of the five biggest international publishers of scientific journals (Elsevier, Springer Nature, Wiley, Taylor & Francis). The goal is Open Access to all publicly funded research publications by 2024. Unit acts as a national coordinator of Open Access.

The negotiations, supported by the UHR (Universities of Norway), are based on the following principles:

  • The articles with corresponding authors from Norway shall be openly available at the time of publishing
  • Publishing open access shall not increase total costs
  • License agreements, costs and business models must be fully transparent
  • Perpetual access to content published in subscription journals must be granted
  • Agreements should demonstrate a move towards models where costs are related to the volume of Norwegian institutions article publishing output

The Research Council of Norway is a funding organisation of the supranational cOAlition S and Plan S, alongside twelve other European organisations.

On March 14, 2019, Unit and Wiley signed an agreement with a strong Open Access component.

On April 23, 2019, Unit and Elsevier announced the signing of an agreement with a two-year term, including a pivotal Open Access component.

FinELib is a consortium comprising Finnish universities, research institutions and public libraries. Negotiations with major publishers on new cost models for journals as well as on transformation towards Open Access started in 2016. Temporary solutions or even final agreements have been reached with some publishers, while with others the consortium is still in negotiations. The goal is transformation towards full Open Access by 2020.

With support by UNIFI (Organisation of all Finnish universities), the consortium is working on the following goals:

  • Prices of scholarly publications must be reasonable.
  • Information must be openly available.
  • Transition to open access must be possible without any additional costs.
  • Terms of use for articles must be appropriate and easy to understand.

The Executive Director of UNIFI, Leena Wahlfors, emphasises the importance of Open Access:
“We can make science more efficient by making research based knowledge available to everybody. This will benefit the whole scientific community and decision makers as well as citizens. […] At the moment, Finland is known as an open science forerunner in Europe. We must keep this role in mind and support open publishing determinedly.” (in: “UNIFI demands Open Access and gives its full support to FinELib’s negotiation goals“, unifi.fi, 25.09.2018)

Therefore, Open Access is to be achieved as soon and complete as possible. “Open Access should be a default”, says Arja Tuuliniemi, Head of Services in the National Library’s FinELib office.

FinELib is also part of the OA2020 project and actively supports the negotiating principles on Open Access by LIBER.

In 2016, swissuniversities developed a national Open Access strategy on behalf of the State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) in cooperation with the Swiss National Science Foundation. It was enacted in January 2017.

The top priority is Open Access to all publications funded by public resources by 2024. In order to implement the national strategy, a plan of action was presented in 2017 (in German).

Regarding the starting position of Open Access in Switzerland it says therein (translated):
“This means to move from the current situation (2015), in which 30% of the total amount of 33.600 publications put out by the Swiss universities and universities of applied sciences is Open Access – 16% Green Open Access (self-archiving), 11% Gold Open Access and 3% in a Hybrid model – to a situation reflecting the vision of 2024, in which 100% of all publications emanating from Swiss universities and universities of applied sciences must be Open Access.” (p. 3)

The transformation towards 100% Open Access is to be achieved by these three approaches (translated):

  • “Encouraging researchers to store their publications in institutional or disciplinary repositories (Green Road)
  • Encouraging researchers to publish in Open Access journals (Gold Road)
  • Negotiating new licence contracts with publishers in which access to journals as well as publication in the publishers’ Open Access journals is included (offsetting, without “double dipping” of Hybrid Open Access)” (p. 3)

Since February 2018 the plan is being implemented, coordinated by swissuniversites. The negotiations with publishers are to achieve the goal of 100% Open Access until 2024 without any additional charge for Swiss universities and universities of applied sciences. Therefore, the “Publish&Read” (PAR) model is being favoured. Publication costs would thereby be fixed and covered by the institutions, while reading and downloading would also be included in the price. A temporary solution for the transformation towards Open Access has been negotiated with Springer Nature since April 2018, while negotiations with Wiley and Elsevier are
scheduled to start in January 2019.

The Austrian Academic Library Consortium (KEMÖ), founded in 2005, describes the progress of Open Access and the respective negotiations with publishers in Austria as follows (translated):
“Besides the coordinated acquisition, licensing and administration of digital media, the KEMÖ, founded in 2005, is firmly supporting Open Access in Austria and worldwide. After agreeing on one of the first Offsetting agreements worldwide with the publisher IOP (together with the Austrian Science Fund) in 2014, further Open Access arrangements were realised with publishers such as Emerald, RSC, SAGE, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis and Wiley. Furthermore, the KEMÖ is working on negotiations on transformation towards Open Access with small and medium-sized publishers. Alternative and non-commercial Open Science infrastructures and services are supported as well. For these purposes, the KEMÖ is determined to play an important role in negotiations on Open Access and its practical implementation and corresponding workflows as well as in nationwide and international Open Access initiatives.”

A list of current Open Access agreements with publishers can be found here.

The Open Science Network Austria (OANA – formerly known as Open Access Network Austria) is also part of international initiatives and projects related to Open Science and Open Access.