Questions & answers

Questions and answers about FinELib’s negotiations and promoting open access science

The FinELib consortium negotiates agreements on behalf of universities and research institutes to guarantee researchers and students an access to scientific publications and the possibility to publish their articles with open access.


Why isn't Finland just waiting for the publishers to switch to open access publishing, or for other countries to negotiate open access agreements first?

Open access publishing has been discussed for decades already, but it has progressed very slowly.

Publishers have not adopted open access publishing models at the speed or to the extent that would be required for the switch to open access publishing to happen. The main reason is that the current publishing model, based on subscription fees, is very lucrative to the publishers. The situation forces universities and research institutes to pay large amounts of money to scientific publishers for journal subscriptions and restricts the availability of scientific results.

Negotiations are taking place in many countries, for example Germany, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Great Britain. Also USA (e.g. University of California) and China are now actively discussing open access.

The more countries, organisations and funders demand the change of the publishers, the faster it will take place.

What is Plan S and how will it impact the negotiations?

Plan S is a statement by scientific funders published in September 2018, which strongly promotes immediate open access publishing. Academy of Finland has joined Plan S and requires that the results of research it has funded are published open access. Unifi has also expressed its support for Plan S.

FinELib is taking the Plan S principles into account during negotiations. During a transition phase, Plan S accepts publishing in hybrid journals for which a transformative agreement that aims at full open access has been signed.

Internationally, Plan S is an important step that increases the pressure for a change in scientific publishing.

You can use Journal Checker Tool to check if a journal is compliant with Plan S. Please, notice that there may be delay in updating the information of the journals.

Why negotiate on open access publishing with the publishers? Why not just continue the subscription agreements as before?

The prices of journal packages have increased year by year to a level where many research organisations cannot afford them anymore. This situation is unacceptable, as many publishers have a monopoly in practice.

FinELib’s objective is to move money previously used for subscriptions to open access publishing. Open access publishing solves many current problems of scientific publishing, as anyone interested in science will be able to read the articles.

Why is the FinELib consortium only negotiating on open access agreements with large, traditional publishers?

FinELib members – universities and research institutes – use a lot of money on the subscription fees of large scientific publishers’ journal packages. FinELib wants to promote open access by using this money instead on making articles published by Finnish research organisations open for all.

When similar agreements are demanded across the world, the big publishers will have to change their business models. Finnish research organisations also publish a lot of articles in the traditional publishers’ journals at the moment, so opening access to them may bring a lot of visibility for the research.

Of course, the large traditional publishers are not the only way to open access publishing. FinELib has also started negotiations with publishers that only publish open access journals.

Researchers cannot afford to pay the high APC fees. How can this be solved?

The aim of the agreements negotiated by the consortium is that an individual researcher will not need to pay the APC fees, but they are covered by the earlier license fees, and that the overall cost of publishing will not increase due to open access.

In addition, open access publishing is funded through many other models than the APC fees, such as physics journals through the global SCOAP3 consortium.

Why is FinELib negotiating on agreements concerning hybrid journals?

Researchers are currently publishing a lot in hybrid journals, which include many established and esteemed journals. Therefore, it makes sense to affect the status of these journals.

The goal is that these journals will also become fully open access journals.

Why is it not enough to store the publications in the publication archive?

For articles published in the journals of traditional publishers, a peer-reviewed version can currently be stored in the publication archive only some months (typically 6–12 months) after publication. So the article is available after a delay.

In some fields, it is also very important to access specifically the published version of the article.

Take advantage of open access benefits

During negotiations, open access benefits have been agreed upon regarding the journals of the following publishers.

More information about publisher- and organisation-specific open access benefits is also available from your own library.