Published research without pay walls – new contract from 2020

At the start of the new year, several new agreements with scientific publishers will come into effect. The Bibsam Consortium at the National Library of Sweden has negotiated with several publishers on behalf of all Swedish universities. The main difference from how it works today is that researchers who want to publish their articles openly do not have to pay a cost for this. Today, the publication fee for a single article can be approximately 2,000 EUR. In addition to the cost, the researcher or doctoral student need to learn what conditions apply, and subsequently there is a degree of administration work that the Faculty must take responsibility for.  Now it will be easier for the researcher and the Faculty.

The agreement mean that fewer articles will end up behind pay walls, and more research will be available to researchers, doctoral students, students and, for example, teaching staff who want to stay up-to-date in their field.

"Both the Swedish government and research funders want research to be published in an openly accessible manner. After a long period without an agreement with Elsevier, it will now be agreed upon that articles written by Swedish researchers will be able to be read by anyone,” says Martin Borg.

Unlimited number of articles

The changes apply to Elsevier, which is one of the world's largest publishers with 2,000 scientific journals, but also smaller publishers such as Wiley and Sage. Similar agreements are also available with SpringerNature and Taylor & Francis. In the past, the library has only paid subscription fees to the publishers; now they will also pay a publishing fee as a kind of prepayment.

The agreement with Elsevier does not limit how many articles researchers at Swedish universities can publish at no cost per article.

"The idea behind these so-called transformative agreements is that during a transitional period, we will pay to read and publish articles completely openly. In the long run, there will be so many articles that are published in a way that is openly accessible that there will be no justification to pay an additional subscription fee. It will probably take a few years before we end up there, but that's the goal," Martin Borg says.

Now the publishing fee will be a part of the University Library’s budget; what does open access publication cost?
"For Elsevier alone, it costs 65,000 EUR for the subscription and publishing fees. It's a lot of money, but articles from Elsevier's 2,000 scientific journals are the ones used the most, so the cost per downloaded article will be small.

Do you have any tips for researchers or doctoral students who want to publish their material?
"Please choose to publish in the journals with which we have agreements. It benefits you by your not having to pay and it benefits the whole world of science when research becomes available immediately," concludes Martin Borg.

Read more

Information on the contract and University Library contact details

Text: Lina Färm
Translation: Eva Medin
Photo: Pixabay