Denmark enters agreement on Open Access with major publisher

Press release: 26 January 2021

There must be immediate, free access to Danish research publications – also known as Open Access – as soon as they are published, and universities will not accept price increases for read access to the research publications of other countries.

This was the starting point when the Royal Danish Library initiated negotiations on behalf of Danish universities with the publishing giant Elsevier in October 2020. The requirement was a consequence of the ambitions of Universities Denmark to strengthen the dissemination of, and access to, university research for the benefit of society.

After an intensive negotiation process, a highly satisfactory agreement has been signed, which ensures immediate, free, read access to Danish research publications published with Elsevier, as well as publishing without additional charges, and read access to an unchanged Elsevier portfolio.

”It is good for Danish research that we have reached a solution which ensures immediate Open Access to publications in Elsevier journals from Danish universities, as well as the opportunity to publish without additional charges. Scholarly journals play an important role in the research ecosystem. It’s therefore important that collaboration with publishers is conducted on terms with which we can be satisfied,” says the Vice Chancellor for the University of Copenhagen, Henrik Wegener, who has represented the universities in the negotiation.

A significant proportion of global research is currently locked behind commercial paywalls, with scholarly publishers profiting from both read access and publication. There have been several attempts to break with this business model, but the Danish agreement with Elsevier brings the international research community a significant step further in the efforts for greater openness in research. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest example of how global problems are best solved when we can easily share research results across sectors and national borders. In this respect, the current system is vulnerable. A significant proportion of Danish and international research is locked behind commercial paywalls. This new agreement gives free access for all to Danish universities’ research publications from Elsevier,” says Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen, Minister for Higher Education and Science.

”We have not previously seen national consortia achieve an agreement on immediate access without additional charges or a top limit on publications. We hope that the result of the Danish national negotiations can create a precedent for future negotiations, both Danish and European, with other publishers, so we can come even further in the efforts for more open research,” says Kira Stine Hansen, Vice Director, Royal Danish Library.

The agreement with Elsevier will run for the next four years, and it is estimated that the agreement will produce a saving on Danish expenditure to Elsevier. Negotiations with other large publishers lie ahead.

Read more about the contract and how you as a researcher can publish free with Elsevier