Please see this dedicated page for up-to-date information about Open Access agreements with publishers (conditions, workflows, included journals)!

Big deal negotiations

Swiss universities and research libraries have mandated swissuniversities to negotiate «read and publish» agreements with the major publishers Elsevier, Wiley and Springer Nature (so-called «big deals»). The negotiations for 2020 concluded on 13 December 2019 and the negotiations for 2021 will continue in 2020.

The outcome of the negotiations for 2020 was announced in swissuniversities’ press release: «At the end of 2019, swissuniversities had no read and publish contracts for 2020 that were ready for signature». Here you will find information on the current relationships with the three major publishers and the latest news on the ongoing national negotiations led by swissuniversities. Additional background information is provided at the bottom of this page. All information is updated regularly.



Update 13 January 2020: As of 1 January 2020, Swiss researchers can publish Open Access in most Elsevier journals without paying additional APCs. For more information visit our page on Open Access Discounts. Elsevier also provides more information on how to publish Open Access .

The current subscription contract with Elsevier was extended to March 2020. Elsevier signed a «memorandum of understanding» for a «read and publish» agreement that will be valid from January 2020. The «read and publish» agreement is to be negotiated by the end of March 2020. The agreement will enable researchers to access Elsevier publications and publish Open Access without paying additional article processing charges (APCs).

Springer Nature

Update 01 July 2020: Swissuniversities and Springer Nature have now signed a new OA agreement. This agreement provides Swiss researchers with access to SpringerLink with over 2’000 Hybrid journals and enables authors affiliated with the Swiss academic and research institutions to publish their accepted research papers OA. More information on the scope of the agreement can be found at Springer .
( source: swissuniversities )

Update 07 April 2020: Since January 2020, Swissuniversities 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. Negotiations have since resumed. Since March 2020, there has been a memorandum of understanding for the conclusion of a Read and Publish contract.
( source: swissuniversities )

Update 17 January 2020: Springer Nature discloses to the Consortium of Swiss Academic Libraries that the «official deadline for the grace period» is end of March 2020. The information remains vague: Possibly, from April 2020 onwards researchers in Switzerland may lose direct access to newly published 2020 Springer Nature journal content. Certainly, they will keep post-cancellation access to all licensed Springer Nature articles published before 2020.

Update 19 December 2019: Springer Nature announces they will apply a grace period and grant access to newly published journal content in 2020 until further notice.

The negotiations between Springer Nature and swissuniversities concluded without any agreement. The talks will continue in 2020. It is likely that researchers in Switzerland will eventually lose direct access to Springer Nature articles published from 2020 onwards. Researchers will certainly keep post-cancellation access to all licensed Springer Nature articles published before 2020 though.


Update 29 April 2021: swissuniversities has concluded a new Read&Publish agreement with John Wiley & Sons. It will provide students and researchers from over 40 Swiss higher education and research institutions access to the Wiley Online Library with over 1’450 journals. At the same time, this agreement enables authors affiliated to these institutions to make their scientific articles published in the hybrid journals openly accessible immediately upon publication.
Details about the agreement are available on our page about Open Access Discounts
( source: swissuniversities )

Upddate 14 December 2020: This year’s negotiations with swissuniversities concluded without any Read and Publish deal or temporary agreement. The talks will continue in 2021. Wiley has agreed to a «grace period», meaning that researchers in Switzerland will continue to have access to Wiley journals as long as the negotiations continue.
( source: swissuniversities )

The current subscription contract with Wiley was extended to December 2020. Meanwhile, researchers will keep access to all their journals. The extension comes with no cost increase but does not include any Open Access options. Wiley signed a «memorandum of understanding» for a «read and publish» agreement for 2021.

Big deal negotiations explained

Who is negotiating?

On behalf of all Swiss universities and research libraries, a negotiating team commissioned by swissuniversities is negotiating with the publishing powerhouses Elsevier, Wiley and Springer Nature. Swissuniversities is the umbrella organisation of the Swiss universities and promotes cooperation and coordination between the universities. Elsevier, Wiley and Springer Nature are the three largest academic publishers in the world.

Why negotiate?

Elsevier, Wiley and Springer Nature charge Swiss academic libraries and universities huge and ever-increasing subscription fees. To strengthen the negotiation power against these major publishers, all Swiss academic libraries and universities are negotiating collectively. They have mandated swissuniversities to lead the negotiations for «read and publish» agreements with the major publishers. As stated in swissuniversities’ press release, «in ongoing negotiations, swissuniversities is pursuing the read and publish model, which includes reading access and Open Access publication costs for universities». The goal of the negotiation strategy of swissuniversities «is to revise the national contracts on access to academic journals with the major publishers Springer Nature, Wiley and Elsevier to include Open Access components».

What are read and publish agreements?

«Read and publish» agreements, as defined by swissuniversities, «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». Cost-neutral means they should come at no extra cost with respect to current spending and exclude article processing charges (APCs).

What is the negotiation strategy?

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and swissuniversities have developed a national strategy and an action plan on Open Access. The vision is that «all scholarly publication activity in Switzerland should be Open Access» by 2024. To turn this vision into a reality, swissuniversities is following a negotiation strategy based on approaches successfully used by other countries.

What if the negotiations fail?

Current subscription contracts with one or more publishers may not be extended. Consequently, Swiss researchers may lose direct access to some newly published journal content but keep post-cancellation access to previously subscribed journals from the respective publisher(s). According to swissuniversities’ press release, «experience abroad has shown that research findings can still be successfully published even when there is no contract in place with a publisher». Even without subscription contracts, researchers can legally obtain publications. Swissuniversities provides information on how to get articles, even if researchers should lose direct access to journals.

What is happening elsewhere?

The Swiss negotiations are part of a wider movement. All over the world, there is growing pressure from various stakeholders to transform scientific communication to OA. After a phase of resistance, most publishers are now willing to transform their business models from subscription to OA. Consequentially, many countries have successfully negotiated OA agreements, so called «transformative agreements», with major publishers.

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