Sweden takes a stand for open access – the deal with Elsevier is cancelled

Published May 16, 2018

After 20 years, the Swedish research libraries, including KTH, cancel the deal with the big publishing company Elsevier. The reason is Elsevier’s failure to fulfill the requests for open access.

During spring, Swedish universities and university colleges have, through the Bibsam consortium coordinated by the National Library of Sweden, tried to negotiate a deal with Elsevier. These negotiations have not been productive. Therefore, the current agreement has been cancelled as of June 30th 2018.

The total budget for the Bibsam consortium is 120 MSEK and KTH paid approximately 12 MSEK in 2017. For the majority of journals included in the deal, you have the option of paying for open access, which has increased the cost for KTH with additional millions. In order to stop the rapid cost increase and in order to support the principle of open access to scientific material, the consortium has demanded a deal which includes both the cost for reading and publishing material open access.

The presidents of Sweden’s universities and colleges support the decision to cancel the deal with Elsevier. It is unreasonable that the universities, whose faculties create the research, write the papers and review the contents, should in addition pay for the high cost of accessing the papers. Sweden is now joining Germany which also has canceled their contract with Elsevier and several other European countries are now re-negotiating their deals with Elsevier. 1

KTH will have access to published papers between January 1st 1995 and June 30th 2018 according to existing agreements. Elsevier has announced that they will shut down access to material published after June 2018. In addition, KTH has perpetual access to most of Elsevier’s journal archives. KTH researchers will of course still have the option to publish in Elsevier’s journals and KTH will still have access to Elsevier services, for example e-books and reference databases such as Scopus.

The KTH Library will communicate alternative ways to access material from Elsevier’s journals.

For details, see the press release from the Royal Library.

Maria Haglund, Library Director

For questions please contact the library: ask-kthb@kth.se

1  For Europe’s open-access drive escalates as university stand-offs spread. Nature 557, 479-480 (2018)

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