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Open Access

Agreements with academic publishers may expire on 01.01.2019

The Norwegian universities and residential colleges have agreements regarding access to scientific literature with several academic publishers. Several of these agreements are currently subject to renegotiation as all publicly funded Norwegian research articles must be publicly available by 2024.

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Negotiations regarding access to scientific articles are under way with publishers Elsevier, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis and Wiley. The present agreements with the major publishing houses will expire on 31 December 2018. If Norway fails to reach an accord, we risk the universities and residential schools being denied access to read these publishers’ journals. In these negotiations, persuading the publishing houses to agree to change the current subscription model is proving to be a difficult nut to crack.

In the event of a breakdown, steps will be taken to minimise the consequences of the loss of access to read and ensure that research and teaching at the institutions are affected as little as possible.


In autumn 2017, the government adopted a bill that stipulates that publicly funded scientific articles must be openly accessible by 2024. Researchers shall examine opportunities to publish their articles in open access journals and choose open access journals where academically acceptable. Only in exceptional circumstances may articles that are publicly funded be published in journals that do not allow the article to be made available in an academic
repository. The government’s goals stipulate that institutions and consortia that negotiate agreements with publishers shall ensure that these agreements promote open access without increasing total costs. 

In autumn 2017, the BOTT cooperation (UiB, UiO, UiT and NTNU) took steps to formulate a strategy for negotiations with publishers until 2024. An important part of this work has been to embed the strategy throughout the UH sector. Unanimous decisions in support of the following general principles for future agreements with publishers were passed at meetings of the UHR representatives and steering committee in June 2018:

There must be open access from the publication date to articles written with correspondent authors from Norway

  • Open publication shall not increase the total costs of the agreements
  • Transparency in licence conditions, costs and business models
  • Perpetual access to content published in subscription journals
  • An obvious transition towards agreements in which costs are linked to the volume of work published by the Norwegian institutions

Possible consequences of a breakdown in negotiations

Negotiations with the publishers are progressing at different rates towards open access. It is quite possible that some but not all of the agreements will be in place before January 2019. This means that the Norwegian scientific and research libraries risk losing access to a number of journals from one or more of the publishers in question.

  • Elsevier and Springer Nature have made it clear that, in the event of a failure to enter a new agreement before 31 December 2018, access to read will be denied from 1 January 2019. Wiley and Taylor & Francis have notified us that, if a new agreement is not entered into before 31 December 2018, we will have access to read until the end of January 2019.
  • Where Springer and Wiley are concerned, denied access to read will have limited effect. UiB has good repository rights in pursuance of its agreements with the publishers. Articles published in 2019 will not be accessible on the publishers’ platforms, whereas earlier articles will be more or less as accessible as before.
  • Where Elsevier and Taylor & Francis are concerned, the effect of denied access to read will be more widespread. These publishers have not granted us good repository rights so it will be difficult to access any articles, recent and earlier alike.

In the event of a breakdown, the University Library will offer an article ordering service. Research scientists and students will receive the articles they wish to read via email.

For more information about current status in the negotiations, visit openaccess.no.