Stockholm University makes more research accessible to all

The money that Stockholm University saves at the cancelled agreement with large science publisher Elsevier will be used to publish research in full Open Access journals.

Sweden’s research libraries have, through the national consortium Bibsam, terminated its agreement with Elsevier as of 1st of July. The reason why is that the parties could not agree on a reasonable price model and a sustainable solution for a transition towards open science.

Stockholm University will therefore use the money deposited on the terminated agreement to support those of the university's researchers who want to get published in full Open Access journals.

“A transition to Open Access requires a different publishing culture, and through this action we want to support the necessary change to the system.

Ultimately, it is a democracy issue that research results can be disseminated openly”, says Astrid Söderbergh Widding, President at Stockholm University and chairman of the Bibsam consortium steering committee.

According to the the Swedish Government’s 2016 Research Proposition, the goal is to make all scientific publications that are financed by public funds immediately Open Access when published, by 2026. All stakeholders within the research system share the responsibility to fulfil this strategic objective, but in today’s system, Stockholm University pays large fees to publishers both for reading and publishing articles, which in the long run is not sustainable from an economical point of view.

“The transition to open science is slow and the publishing in hybrid journals, where you publish separate articles Open Access in an otherwise subscription-based journal, does not urge the development quickly enough”, says Wilhelm Widmark, library director at Stockholm University Library and vice chairman of the Bibsam consortium steering committee.

Researchers affiliated to Stockholm University already have the opportunity to get published with discounted fees or completely free of charge in Open Access or hybrid journals at some publishers through agreements negotiated by the university. The fact that Stockholm University now chooses to use the money that would have gone to the agreement with Elsevier to award full Open Access publications is yet another big stride forward.

“It is time for the libraries to adjust their acquisition budgets to pay for publishing instead of reading. With this action, we take another step towards the target of 100 percent Open Access”, says Wilhelm Widmark.

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