A few weeks ago it was confirmed that Swedish universities are without an agreement with the publisher Elsevier. The cancellation of the agreement – after prolonged and tough negotiations – is due to two reasons: first, the universities want to make it clear that the runaway escalation of costs is both unreasonable and unsustainable, and second, the company is unwilling to meet demands for open access.

The government has set the goal of immediate open access to all publicly funded research by 2026. To achieve this requires a transition from a subscription-based system of licence fees to a system in which companies cover their costs through publication fees. At present, the major companies, spearheaded by Elsevier, increasingly charge publication fees without any corresponding willingness to accept lower licence fees. The Swedish universities negotiate jointly via the Bibsam Consortium, and Elsevier has not offered an agreement on a model that meets Bibsam’s demands. As a result, the agreement has been cancelled from 30 June 2018.

The decision has been taken after extensive discussion, which began when all of the Swedish universities in Bibsam found that costs had begun to escalate and Elsevier in particular was taking unreasonable advantage of its market dominance. Retaining the agreement became unsustainable.

For a transitional period, the situation that has arisen will affect access. This is unfortunate, but the University Library is working on solutions. We hope that everyone at Uppsala University will support the decision, which ultimately concerns the long-term defence of the principle of open access to research in Sweden. Read more on Uppsala University Library’s home page.

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