Nordic Consortia support LIBER’s Five Principles for Negotiations with Publishers



All Nordic consortia have signed the OA2020 “Expression of Interest in the Large-Scale Implementation of Open Access to Scholarly Journals” and are working for a transition from a subscription-based scholarly journal model to an open access publishing model.

The Association of European Research Libraries, LIBER, has published a strategy: “Five Principles for Negotiations with Publishers,” which is in line with the mission of OA2020.

Nordic consortia would hereby like to endorse LIBER’s principles and aim to meet them in publisher negotiations. Nordic countries have different national open access strategies, and, consequently, the relevance of all LIBER’s principles may differ from country to country.

LIBER’s Five Principle for Negotiations with Publishers:

1. Licensing and Open Access go Hand-in-Hand

The world of subscription deals and APC-deals are closely linked. Nobody should pay for  subscriptions and pay APCs at the same time (‘double dipping’). Each new license agreed  on should therefore contain conditions about both sides of the coin. Increased spending on  APCs should result in proportionately lower spending on subscription fees.

2.No Open Access, No Price Increase

There is enough money in the system already. Libraries have paid annual price increases of  up to 8% for years, supposedly to allow publishers to innovate. A key feature of innovation  for the research community is that research outputs are freely available. Therefore if an  agreement with publishers on Open Access cannot be reached in our contracts, future  price increases should not be accepted.

3. Transparency for Licensing Deals: No Non-Disclosure

The practices of libraries should fully reflect their commitment to Open Access. Licensing  agreements should therefore be openly available. Society will not accept confidential  agreements paid for with public money in the form of non-disclosure agreements, as recent developments in Finland and The Netherlands have shown.

4. Keep Access Sustainable

To avoid putting more money in the system, and to strengthen Open Access, some libraries  have given up their rights to perpetual access in license agreement. Perpetual access is,  however, critical in a quickly-changing publishing environment. Libraries must secure sustainable access to content.

5. Usage Reports Should Include Open Access

Although APC-buyouts are becoming more common, reporting about Open Access is still  rare. Just as libraries receive reports about downloads and usage in the subscription world,  they should also receive reports on Open Access publications. It is normal to receive insight  into what we pay for.


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FinELibin ja Elsevierin välinen sopimus: pääsy tieteellisiin lehtiin ja 50 prosentin alennus kirjoittajamaksuista


FinELib-konsortio ja Elsevier ovat solmineet kolmivuotisen sopimuksen Science Direct Freedom Collection –kokoelmasta. Sopimus takaa pääsyn 35 FinELib-konsortion jäsenelle noin 1850 tieteelliseen lehteen.  Lisenssisopimuksen kokonaisarvo on vajaa 27 miljoonaa euroa.

Uutena mahdollisuutena sopimus tarjoaa tutkijoille mahdollisuuden julkaista artikkelinsa avoimena 50 prosentin alennuksella. Alennusta voivat käyttää ne vastaavat kirjoittajat, joiden organisaatiot ovat mukana sopimuksessa. Alennuksen piirissä on yli 1500 Elsevierin tilausmaksullista lehteä ja yli 100 täysin avointa lehteä. Lue lisää alennuksen ehdoista ja prosessista.

Lehdistötiedote sopimuksesta (englanniksi) löytyy täältä.

IEEE refuses to negotiate with FinELib


IEEE, provider of the IEL-database continues to refuse to negotiate with the FinELib-consortium regarding renewal of the IEL-license agreement. FinELib member organizations have repeatedly stated their will to continue subscribing via FinELib. Instead IEEE demands that each library negotiate its own contract, thereby reducing the libraries’ negotiating power.

The FinELib-consortium office was formed for the sole purpose of taking care of the negotiating work on behalf of the consortium members. Its job is to protect the members’ interests in the negotiation process and to ensure fair terms on their behalf. The libraries want to continue using FinELib office’s expertise and do not see any reason why IEEE should prevent that. Ulla Ohvo, library director of Lappeenranta University of Technology, says: “We are very disappointed that IEEE is ignoring what its customers want. This is not what we expect from a publisher who has collected a lot of money in subscription fees from us over the years.”

The FinELib steering group, Council for Finnish University Libraries and AMKIT-consortium have yesterday contacted IEEE to demand that IEEE return to the negotiations with FinELib-office but IEEE has refused. If IEEE does not listen to its customers’ demands and resume the negotiations with FinELib, there is a risk of a cut in access to the database when the current agreement term ends 31.12.2017.

at a standstill


IEL is an electrical engineering and computer science database providing access to IEEE and IET journals and conference proceedings as well as IEEE standards. Currently 19 FinELib-organisations subscribe to the collection.

IEEE, the provider of IEL database, made a consortium offer that would have led to a significant price increase unless a substantial number of new subscribers were found. The consortium rejected this offer. Now IEEE is refusing to continue to work with the FinELib-consortium. Instead they are making direct offers to individual institutions. IEEE is disregarding the institutions’ requests to receive an offer via the consortium. The consortium steering group has instructed the FinELib office to insist upon receiving a consortium offer.

FinELib’s negotiations with Elsevier progressing


FinELib and Elsevier have progressed in their negotiations regarding access to Science Direct Freedom Collection and advancing open access. FinELib has received an offer with an open access element and discussions are ongoing. More information will be shared later.

Negotiations with Elsevier: The crucial issues for the FinELib consortium


Elsevier has approached academic institutions and researchers in Finland. The letter states Elsevier’s view on the negotiations between the FinELib consortium and Elsevier.  These negotiations regarding online access to scholarly journals and open access publishing have been ongoing since 2016. Unfortunately, there has been no breakthrough in the negotiations. The crucial issues for the negotiations are cost development and open access. The FinELib consortium’s view differs from Elsevier’s on both issues.

Open Access

The central aim of FinELib negotiations is to speed up the transition to open access by offering researchers in Finland the right to publish their articles immediately as open access in as many high-quality scholarly journals as possible, without extra costs. This can be achieved by using the current subscription fees to also cover the costs of open access publishing. However, Elsevier’s offer does not include immediate open access.

Elsevier has offered nothing new to the FinELib consortium. The open access options are the same that are already available to all researchers:

  • Publishing in journals that are behind a paywall (hybrid journals) and paying a high article processing charge (APC) per article to have the article as open access
  • Using the green open access model, where the accepted manuscript can be shared only a long period (typically 12–36 months) after publication

Both models allow Elsevier to maintain the current subscription model and continue introducing annual price increases on top of the already-high access fees. At the same time, Elsevier collects significant revenues from open access publishing. The average APC for Elsevier hybrid journals is about EUR 2,300. Publishing Finnish articles as open access in these journals would mean additional costs of over EUR 4 million per year, on top of the access fees.

Total costs – sky high?

In 2011 Finnish academic organisations paid almost EUR 7 million to Elsevier for subscriptions and in 2016 the amount has grown to EUR 10 million. Accepting Elsevier’s offer would mean that Finnish academic organisations’ costs for accessing Elsevier journals would continue to increase significantly and open access would be paid for separately. At the same time, Elsevier’s profit margin is over 30% yearly.

How to make a change for the better

If the money that is globally used for journal access fees were used to cover open access publishing, no extra money would be needed for open access. This was clearly shown in an analysis by the Max Planck Institute in 2015. Many countries, e.g. Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria and UK are negotiating with publishers to achieve the transition to open access. The academic community is actively demanding genuine transition models with moderate costs (see No deal no review –boycott).

Elsevier has claimed that it fully supports open access and works for the benefit of science. The academic community needs to see this support translated into a transition to immediate open access with sustainable pricing.

Finnish academic society gives strong support to FinElib's negotiations


There has been no advancement in FinELib's Elsevier negotiations in June. However, the commitment of the Finnish academic society to the goals of the negotiations is strong. This is clearly seen in two recent statements:

Finnish universities UNIFI has published a statement: ”Affordable prices and open access essential: UNIFI fully supports goals of FinELib consortium in Elsevier negotiations

Finnish researchers #nodealnoreview –statement demands fair pricing and increased open access from Elsevier. The signatories abstain from editorial and reviewer duties until a fair deal has been made. Read more and join in:

Elsevier trusts in traditions – no advancement in FinELib-Elsevier negotiations


FinELib and Elsevier negotiators met recently to continue the negotiations started in 2016. FinELib’s requirements remain unchanged: Affordable prices for accessing Elsevier’s journals (SD Freedom collection) and advancing open access. Preventing the rise of the total cost of publishing is an essential issue in the negotiations.

Unfortunately the first meeting showed that Elsevier is not willing to develop open access business models. Elsevier insists on keeping up the traditional subscription model and the price increases linked to it. Elsevier is not responding to the severe budget cuts in Finnish universities, universities of applied sciences and research institutes nor to the scholarly community’s demand for open access publishing.

FinELib and Elsevier will continue the negotiations in June. FinELib will give an update about the progress of the negotiations.