Elsevier: Transformative Open Access Agreement for Germany

The DEAL Consortium and Elsevier Signed Transformative Open Access Agreement

September 06, 2023

On September 1, 2023, Elsevier and the DEAL operating entity, MPDL Services gGmbH (MPDLS), signed an five-year agreement that is set to run until the end of 2028. The new agreement supports the transition to open access in Germany, enabling researchers to publish open access and read content across Elsevier’s extensive portfolio of scientific journals including Cell Press and The Lancet, while meeting DEAL’s objectives of affordability and sustainability. 

The transformative open access contract with Elsevier is the third contract signed by the DEAL consortium. With around 11,000 publications published annually by researchers in Elsevier journals, the contract is of central importance for the German scientific landscape and the free availability of its research results.

The transformative agreement is designed to offer good value to the German research community.

Under the terms of the agreement, authors from participating institutions can publish their articles in Elsevier's journals with immediate open access based on a per-article fee charged to their institution, enabling researchers around the world to access and benefit from their results. In addition, institutions will receive discounts on the list prices for their researchers' publications in fully open access Elsevier journals. Participating institutions will also have reading access to virtually the entire portfolio of Elsevier journals on ScienceDirect, the world’s largest platform dedicated to peer-reviewed primary scientific and medical research. 

The DEAL-Elsevier contract is an opt-in contract, i.e. the use of the services offered requires the participation of an authorised institution. Accordingly, authors only publish Open Access in Elsevier journals under the contract if their associated university or research institution has gone through the participation procedure. Institutions will soon be invited to participate in order to bring it into effect. Participation is open to about 900 institutions in Germany, including universities, research organisations, federal and state research institutions, offices and authorities and many more.

Prof. Günter M. Ziegler, president of Freie Universität Berlin and DEALs lead negotiator, said: “We believe that this agreement is a significant step forward for the scientific community and demonstrates that positive change can be achieved through persistent effort and a shared commitment to open science. By working together, we can further advance the principles of transparency, accessibility and collaboration that underpin the pursuit of knowledge. The agreement fulfils the key objectives set out by the Alliance of Science Organizations in Germany for the DEAL negotiations in enabling open access publishing and reading across Elsevier’s portfolio. This agreement will substantially enhance the global visibility of Germany's cutting-edge research while promoting open access to publicly funded science.”

Kumsal Bayazit, CEO of Elsevier, remarked: “We are very pleased to be able to support German researchers to publish their research with immediate open access in Elsevier’s journals. The DEAL Consortium and Elsevier worked together collaboratively and pragmatically to support Germany’s world-leading academic and science organizations achieve their research goals for the benefit of society. Elsevier is committed to continue to support our customers to achieve their objectives.” 

Dr. Frank Sander, Managing Director at MPDL Services, says: “This agreement is the result of the collective commitment of all German higher education, research and research infrastructure organizations acting jointly through MPDL Services gGmbH. Reflecting our shared vision for an open and affordable system of scholarly communication that maximizes the impact of research, the agreement provides DEAL institutions with cost-effective open access publishing and reading services, and we are delighted to support them in implementing the agreement to extend these benefits to scholars and scientists across the German research landscape.”

What’s in the contract?

Open Access Publishing

  • Authors from participating institutions with submitting corresponding author status publish open access in more than 2,500 Elsevier journals, including Cell Press and The Lancet journals.
  • Participating institutions receive a 20% discount on the list prices of Article Processing Charges (APCs) of Elsevier fully gold open access journals and a 15% discount on the list prices of fully gold Cell Press and The Lancet journals.

Reading access

  • Participating institutions receive access rights to almost the entire Elsevier journal portfolio including the Cell Press and The Lancet title spectrum. Access to the journal content published in the years of contract participation remains permanently available to the participating institution even after contract participation (“perpetual access”). Institutions that have gone through the participation process by 15.01.2024 at the latest will also receive the permanent access rights for the year 2023.
  • The contract includes the option for an archive purchase. Subject to funding by the DFG, MPDLS gGmbH will purchase perpetual access rights for Elsevier content until 2022 for the consortium and all institutions entitled to a national licence, which will ensure connection and gap closure to existing national licences for these institutions at no additional cost and independently of participation in the DEAL contract.

Pricing model

  • Paper Charge Model: Participating institutions pay the Publish-and-Read Fee (PAR Fee) and Article Processing Charge (APC) specified in the contract for each publication covered by the contract in Elsevier Core Hybrid and Fully Gold Journals by submitting corresponding authors assigned to their institution. All fees incurred will be invoiced to the participating institutions by MPDL Services gGmbH.
  • The PAR Fee for publications in Core Hybrid journals is 2,550 € net. In the case of a high participation rate (more than 90% of the German publication volume in Elsevier journals in 2022 is covered by the participating institutions), the PAR fee decreases by 2% to €2,500 net. In both cases, the PAR Fee is subject to an annual price increase of 3% from 2025 onwards. 
  • For publications in hybrid journals of the Cell Press and The Lancet brands, the APC is €6,450 net. It is subject to an annual price increase of 4% from 2025.
  • For publications in Fully Gold Open Access journals from Elsevier, APCs are calculated according to list prices, which are charged to the participating institutions minus the agreed discounts (see above).

Further information

The agreement as well as further information on its terms and conditions and the sign-up process can be found here:

https://deal-konsortium.de/en/agreements/elsevier (ENG)

https://deal-konsortium.de/vertraege/elsevier (GER) 

About the DEAL Consortium
The DEAL Consortium, instituted by the Alliance of German Science Organizations and led by the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) aims at concluding nationwide "publish and read" agreements with the three largest commercial publishers of scholarly journals. The objective of DEAL is to secure agreements that ensure the immediate publication of research articles by authors from German institutions as open access articles and that provide perpetual full-text access to the publisher's entire journal portfolio, while at the same time achieving fair and reasonable pricing for these services through a simple and forward-looking model based on the number of articles published. The DEAL Consortium is open to around 1,000 mostly publicly funded academic institutions in Germany, including universities, universities of applied sciences, research institutes, and state and regional libraries. 

About MPDL Services gGmbH
The DEAL Operating Entity MPDL Services gGmbH (MPDLS) boosts the visibility of the scientific community in Germany by securing open access publishing services and access to scientific literature for researchers. It provides the infrastructure and know-how to enable research institutions across Germany to benefit collectively and equitably from the cost-effectiveness of the nationwide DEAL agreements with scholarly publishers, and it concludes such DEAL agreements for the use and benefit of the scientific community in Germany. Comprising members of the Alliance of Science Organizations, MPDL Services, a non-profit organization (gGmbH), provides a crucial framework for the transition to open access in Germany and supports institutions in redirecting their investments in scholarly publishing towards the open dissemination of research.

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