National negotiations (Elsevier, Springer Nature, Wiley)
Negotiations have been underway since 2018 at the national level by swissuniversities with the publishing houses Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley, as a part of the Swiss National Strategy on Open Access. The objective is to define a new "Read & Publish" license model, namely a license that covers both the consultation of journal articles (Read) and the costs of publishing in Open Access in these same journals (Publish). swissuniversities approach also aims to stem the constant rise in prices, as well as the pressure from publishers to subscribe to 'bundles' of journals ("Big Deals").
On this page you will find essential information on the status of negotiations with these three publishers as well as a FAQ [update 26/05/2020].
Elsevier - agreement signed
Swissuniversities announced the signature of a "Read & Publish" agreement with Elsevier on 26th May 2020. Access to scientific publications is guaranteed and researchers from the Swiss academic community will be exempt from publishing fees from this publisher (with the exception of certain titles). More details on the new arrangements for publication with Elsevier are available on the page listing the individual UNIGE agreements with publishers.
Springer Nature - agreement signed
The signing of a transformative Open Access agreement with Springer Nature was announced by Swissuniversities on 1st July 2020. Access to scientific publications is guaranteed and researchers from the Swiss academic community will be able to publish immediately in Open Access in Springer Nature’s over 2000 hybrid journals. More details on the new arrangements for publication with Springer are available on the page listing the individual UNIGE agreements with publishers.
Wiley - ongoing
The current license with Wiley could be extended for 2020 with no changes to terms and no increase in costs. The declaration of intent concluded with this publisher foresees the continuation of negotiations with the aim of concluding a "Read & Publish" contract in 2021.
Access to publications
On this page, the Library has compiled recommended solutions for legal access to content that is not or is no longer included in our subscriptions.
In addition, you can download this flyer (in French) which summarizes the main recommendations:
According to Swiss law, it is perfectly legal for a person to download pirated content (article, music, film...), as long as it remains for the person's private use.
However, the re-distribution or dissemination of such content is prohibited, as in other countries.
If you are outside the University, you must install VPN (Virtual Private Network) software to be able to access the UNIGE's electronic resources as if you were on its premises.
You will find the VPN installation procedure according to your operating system (Linux, MacOS or Windows) on this page: https://plone.unige.ch/distic/pub/reseau/doc-vpn (in French).
The installation and use of the VPN software require authentication through an ISIs account.
In case of problems with the installation or use of VPN, please contact the "Centre d'Accueil des Demandes" (CAD): http://cad.unige.ch.
Understand the challenges involved
In the field of scientific publishing, a "Big Deal" is an all-or-nothing content delivery model. The publisher offers as the only option the subscription to all its journals, at a flat rate. Libraries cannot choose to subscribe only to titles that are of real interest to their communities. In some cases, subscription to individual titles is possible, but the prices charged are dissuasive. The "Big Deal" is the model used by Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley.
When a library subscribes to a subscription for one or more journals, it purchases read access to protected content for its users. The amount requested by the publisher for this "Read" component generally depends on the size of the institution and the potential number of readers. The institution's researchers, for their part, must pay Article processing charges (or APCs) for their articles to be published Open Access, often with the same publishers to which libraries subscribe, which can lead to "double dipping".
With "Read & Publish" licenses, institutions seek to combine subscription fees and expenses related to Open Access publishing (APCs) in a single invoice, in order to have a high level of cost control and a better view of payments to a publisher. In such a case, the total amount is calculated on the basis of the library's subscriptions and the number of publications issued by the institution.
In a later phase, these licenses will be transformed into "Publish & Read", i.e. the amount of the financial transaction will be fully calculated according to the number of publications, and all journals will be free to read.
"Double dipping" occurs when the cost of publishing in Open Access in a journal is invoiced by a publisher who also sells the subscription to the same journal to the author's institution's library.
As a whole, the institution pays twice: once to publish in Open Access, and a second time to consult the article that is freely available.
In order to avoid this double payment, institutions try to combine journal subscriptions and publication fees in a single "Read & Publish" agreement. In the absence of such an agreement, they often refuse to cover the costs of publishing in Open Access in journals that remain available by subscription (so-called hybrid journals).
When choosing the journal in which to publish the results of his/her research, the researcher should take into account not only the prestige of the journal, but also the economic practices of its publisher, in order to favour journals that offer very wide access, ideally free of charge to the reader.
This is not always easy to do because there are sometimes still no credible alternatives to the main journals in some disciplines. It is nevertheless the author's duty to protect the interests of the academic community and society in general by ensuring that the right to republish or distribute the manuscript is preserved, for example after a short embargo period (6-12 months).
For more information, visit the pages dedicated to Open Access.