Agreements with Wiley and Taylor & Francis at Risk
The FinELib consortium’s negotiations with two major publishers, Wiley and Taylor & Francis, ended at the end of 2018 without reaching a new agreement. At the University of Turku, the publishers’ online journals can be used until the end of January, and FinELib and the Turku University Library aim to ensure the researchers, teachers, and students’ access to the articles also in the future.
FinELib is a consortium of Finnish universities, research institutions, and public libraries that negotiates over e-resource agreements for the Finnish scientific community. The negotiations on new agreements with two major publishers, Wiley and Taylor & Francis, have been continued for several months unproductively, and the agreements have ended on 31 December 2018.
– The publishers have made offers that are financially intolerable for the Finnish higher education institutions in terms of the subscription fees and do not promote open access publishing. The situation is highly unfortunate in every way, says the Rector of the University of Turku Kalervo Väänänen.
The Universities Finland UNIFI supports FinELib’s negotiation goals.
Towards Open Access Publishing
The European Union has set the goal that publicly funded research should be open by the year 2020. Several European research funders have committed to the Plan S initiative published by the European Commission and Science Europe with a clear goal: As from 1 January 2020, research publications produced with funding from public national and European research funders need to be published principally in reliable open science publications or publication platforms.
In Finland, open science has been promoted actively already for years. Ended in 2017, the aim of the Open Science and Research Initiative issued by the Ministry of Education and Culture was raising Finland to be one of the leading countries in open science and research. Supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture, UNIFI continued the work by producing the Open Science and Data Action Programme for the Finnish scientific community. The Federation of Finnish Learned Societies has the main responsibility for coordinating the Action Programme.
FinELib has several goals for the negotiations with the publishers. First of all, the journals’ prices should be reasonable. In addition, the data must be openly available, and the transition to open access publishing must be carried out without additional costs.
– None of these terms have been fulfilled in the negotiations with Wiley and Taylor & Francis. The transition to open access publishing should be carried out rapidly, but the offered agreements indicate a significant increase in prices. Also, the offers of both publishers also lack the right to the long-term use of the data. However, our means of pressuring are very limited, says Vice Rector Riitta Pyykkö, who also works as the chair of the steering group of FinELib during the term 2017–2020.
Aim to Ensure Access to Journals in Future
The students and researchers of the University of Turku can use the online journals by Wiley and Taylor & Francis until the end of January 2019. Check the list (Excel) to find out if you are using online journals by Wiley and Taylor & Francis.
As it seems highly unlikely that an agreement with the publishers will be reached, FinELib and the Turku University Library have been discussing means to access at least a part of the publishers’ articles in spite of the situation.
– In the Library, we are prepared to introduce several services and browser add-ons that search the Internet for open versions of the articles. The interlibrary loan service also aims to find out how to subscribe to the articles for the customers as fast and inexpensively as possible, assures Library Director Ulla Nygrén.
– If necessary, we will keep the customers constantly up to date with new bulletins, and we will add instructions to our webpages at the end of January, adds Nygrén.
Text: Heikki Kettunen
Translation: Aura Jaakkola