Find current information on FinELib negotiations on our website:




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.


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.



More information on the 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:

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.

More information on negotiations:

Scholarly publications - FinELib negotiations

FinELib office:

FinELib is pleased to tell that it has reached agreements with Taylor & Francis for years 2017-2018, and with Sage for 2017-2019. These agreements will enhance the possibilities of Finnish researchers to publish open access in T&F and Sage journals. The agreement with Taylor & Francis grants a 60% discount for hybrid journal APC’s (Article Processing Charges), bringing the APC to 860 EUR. The agreement with Sage includes a 87,5% discount on APC’s for hybrid journals, the discounted APC being 200 GBP. More practical information will be provided for researchers by the participating institutions in early 2017.

FinELib has made one year agreements for 2017 with Wiley, American Chemical Society, and Elsevier. To our disappointment a common understanding on open access was not reached during this year, and these single year agreements were necessary to gain more time for the negotiations. The target of the negotiations will remain the same as before: increased open access and affordable pricing. Negotiations with Wiley, ACS and Elsevier will continue in 2017. (More information on the negotiations with Elsevier on a separate announcement.)

FinELib is at the moment collecting subscriptions from its members to these agreements, and agreements will be signed in early 2017. Access to the e-journals of these publishers will stay open for current subscribers during the renewal process.

More information on negotiations:

Scholarly publications - FinELib negotiations

FinELib office:

International science publisher Elsevier and Finland's higher education and research institutes have agreed on one year’s extension to negotiations on electronic journals. More time is needed in order to find a solution for advancing open access, which is an extremely important goal for the Finnish research community. This one year agreement makes it possible for researchers to continue using Elsevier’s journals in 2017 while the negotiations continue.

FinELib consortium, which s represents Finnish universities, universities of applied sciences, and research institutes in the negotiations, has two primary objectives: Getting the increasing price of scientific journal subscriptions under control, and reaching an agreement that improves the opportunities of Finnish researchers for publishing their articles openly online for all to use.

"During the negotiations this autumn, it became clear that regardless of the will of the international research community, Elsevier is reluctant to develop open publishing business models, and instead wants to maintain the old subscription model. The publisher still sees open publishing as a marginal operating model, and not as the future of scientific publishing. It is a delaying tactic from the publisher to charge high additional fees for open articles when higher education and research institutes already pay constantly increasing subscription fees. Now we demand that Elsevier over the next year shows the ability to change and take a new direction towards open access which research community needs and expects." says Keijo Hämäläinen, Vice-Rector of the University of Helsinki and chairman of the negotiations.

Finland's course is set towards open publishing through the goals laid out by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Open Science and Research Initiative, and the European Union. Open publishing increases the visibility of science and improves the opportunities for the whole society to utilize research conducted with public funds.

Finland's scientific community has given its support to FinELib’s negotiation goals. Released in late November, the site has received 2700 signatures from the scientific research community. The signatories abstain from refereeing and editorial duties for the journals of the publishers involved in FinELib’s negotiations until FinELib can reach the negotiation goals.

"Open publishing and the price of scientific knowledge are themes that are emphasised in similar negotiations all over the world, for example in the current negotiations in Germany" says Kristiina Hormia-Poutanen, a member of the negotiation group and Director of Library Network Services at the National Library of Finland. "Perseverance and a united front are the only way that the scientific community may affect large commercial publishers and effect a permanent change in the models of scientific publishing."
One year extension to the agreement makes it possible to find an open access model that genuinely promotes open access publishing without increasing the cost of publishing. If no agreement on open access is reached during 2017, the Finnish scientific community might at the end of year 2017 lose access to many important scientific journals.


Further information:

Keijo Hämäläinen, Vice-Rector of the University of Helsinki, chair of the contract negotiation group,
Kristiina Hormia-Poutanen, Director, National Library of Finland/Library Network Services,

Scholarly publications - FinELib negotiations


Open science must be promoted by all means necessary, states the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. The ministry emphasizes that it is vital that the negotiations between FinELib and scholarly publishers find a solution that is financially sustainable for the scientific community. Open science is the starting point for national contract negotiations, and the contracts must significantly increase the opportunity for Finnish researchers to publish openly. The objective is to have open access to all scientific publications by 2020.

Already 2 700 researchers have signed a statement in support of FinELib’s negotiations, demanding that the cost of scientific publications must not get out of hand. The researchers support the negotiation goals for increased open access and reasonable pricing, and are prepared to abstain from refereeing and editorial duties for the journals of the publishers involved in the negotiations, if the goals are not realized.

FinELib will report on the negotiation situation with individual publishers on this website in the next few days.


More information on negotiations:

Scholarly publications - FinELib negotiations

FinELib office: 


FinELib’s negotiations with international publishers (Elsevier, Wiley, Sage, Taylor & Francis, ACS) on access to scholarly journals are still going on. The current agreements will end 31 December 2016. Finnish higher education and research organisations use tens of millions of euros during the agreement term to provide online access to these scholarly journals. In the negotiations the price level of the coming years will be determined. This is why these negotiations are extremely important.

FinELib’s goal in these negotiations is to agree on affordable prices. The other main goal is to significantly improve the possibilities of Finnish researchers to publish open access in scholarly journals.

Some of the publishers have existing open access models which give us a starting point for the negotiations. Some publishers are however not ready to advance on open access questions. At the moment for example in Elsevier negotiations the publisher’s and FinELib’s views on both pricing and open access issues are far from each other.

Negotiations are ongoing with all publishers.


More information on negotiations:

In English: Scholarly publications - FinELib negotiations

In Finnish: FinELibin lehtineuvottelut edelleen kesken



Working together is essential in bringing a change to the models of scholarly publishing. The scholarly community all over Europe and the world is working together to make scholarly publishing open and costs sustainable. FinELib consortium is one of the many scholarly organisations which have signed the OA2020 initiative mapping practical steps towards the transition to open access. Other important initiatives for open access are for example LERU’s Christmas is over and EUA’s Roadmap on Open Access to Research Publications.

During the negotiations the big picture of administrative work for open access becomes clearer. The aim is that OA publishing processes work as smoothly as possible. In order to achieve this libraries, researchers, research organisations and publishers need to work together.

In June we had a chat with Dr. Ralf Shimmer, a well-known open access advocate from the Max Planck institute. Watch the second part of the interview below for his view on the role of research organisations and consortia in promoting open access.

More information: Scholarly publications - FinELib negotiations

Research results should be accessible to all, in order to fully benefit researchers and the society as a whole. Currently a big part of the established, esteemed scholarly journals are open only to subscribers. Open availability of research requires that also articles in subscription journals must be turned into open access. This can be done by transition from subscription model to open access model. Transition from subscription to open access is an important topic in FinELib’s renegotiations on journal subscription deals. With negotiations Finland is taking part in a strong worldwide movement towards open access (see e.g. OA2020 - initiative for the large-scale transition to open access).

Since starting current negotiations, FinELib has seen that publishers have different ways of approaching open access issues. Some publishers need to be reassured about moving towards open access, while others already have models for the transition. New models need testing and probably also modifications. It is however important that all new OA models make researcher's work easier, not more complicated. New OA models also need to be cost effective to Finnish research community.

Open access is a goal which benefits from shared experiences and shared vision. In June we had a chat with Dr. Ralf Shimmer, a well-known open access advocate from the Max Planck institute. Watch the interview below for his view on why open access is now more relevant than ever.

More information: Scholarly publications - FinELib negotiations

(Originally published 28 September 2016)

FinELib negotiations are ongoing and the big questions – price and open access -  are on the table (more information about our goals here). FinELib has presented the difficult financial situation in research organizations to publishers, but the renewal offers haven't so far reflected the severeness of the situation. 

To get a clear idea of why price is an essential issue in these negotiations, please see the graph below, which compares university index with the cost development of the five largest e-journal packages subscribed via FinELib (2011 = 100).  University index is a tool which is meant to keep universities’ basic funding up-to-date with inflation. However, since its introduction in 2011, the index has mainly been frozen by Finnish government, which means that budgets have been eaten by inflation for several years. At the same time, the costs for the five largest e-journal packages have increased by 25%. It has been getting harder and harder to accommodate these levels of price increases, which is why current negotiations are very important.

More information: Scholarly publications - FinELib negotiations

(Originally published 19 September 2016)


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