Norway and Elsevier meet a eighteen million Euro agreement including a Gold Open Access clause


The Norwegian consortium for higher education and research and the publishing house Elsevier agreed two days ago to a national license. This provides Norwegian researchers not only access to articles published in Elsevier’s journals (including the society journals as The Lancet or CELL Press) but also the opportunity to publish their results Open Access. Seven universities and 39 research institutions will benefit from the two-year agreement.

A comment in the Financial Times gives a little more insight in the contract. It mentions, among other things, the sum that will be paid to Elsevier under the agreement and puts it at nine million euros. This means an increase of three percent over the previous agreement, which did not cover Open Access publishing. The article goes on to explain that Elsevier expects about 2,000 publications per year. If one assumes that the calculation is based on publish and read fees, as it is proposed by advocates of the Open Access transformation through national consortia with major publishers, the fee per article would be €2,250 is €4,500.

[begin update]
Many thanks to MarthaR for pointing me to a Nature article that indicated that the sum of €9m per year is charged, in other articles this did not indicated. However, an article in The Scientist explicitly states that the total volume is €18m so that the fee per article is €4,500. This was also confirmed by a mail from the Norwegian consortium.
[end update]

In similar agreements, e.g. in Finland, an Open Access publication was by far not allowed in all Elsevier journals. But according to the contract covers up to 90 percent of the articles published by scientists from members of the consortium. Only the society journals (about 400 in total) will be excluded.

Inside Higher Education cites Nina Aslaug Karlstrøm, a representative of the consortium, with an interesting detail: „[If] the number of articles exceeds the allocated amount, a list-price article processing charge must be paid if it is to be published open access“. Therefore the nine million euros are Elsevier’s minimum revenue from this contract.

Just as with the Wiley DEAL in Germany, this agreement also strengthens the allegedly unpopular Hybrid Open Access, which was even disallowed by Plan S. The agreement with Elsevier in France is different and should strengthen Green Open Access.

Ulrich Herb
Norway and Elsevier meet a eighteen million Euro agreement including a Gold Open Access clause

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