The report provides an overview of Big Deal negotiations across Europe (data from 31 consortia covering 167 contract): organisation of negotiations, provisions on Open Access and transparency of contracts and costs, information on the consortia and on periodical Big Deal contracts with the five large publishers selected.

EUA – 2019 Big Deals Survey Report


This second EUA Big Deals Survey Report is published at a time when the world of scientific publishing is undergoing substantial changes driven by two major trends.

The first trend is the acceleration towards the immediate publication of research results in Open Access. Several research funding agencies launched “cOAlition S” and became signatories of “Plan S”, supported by the European Commission. They have agreed to move towards the immediate Open Access publication of all scientific articles resulting from projects funded by these same agencies by 1 January 2020. This initiative will certainly have a significant impact on the development of the main routes towards Open Access, such as “Gold” or “Green” Open Access, the underlying publication models and on subscription and publishing expenditures.

The second trend is a new type of contract between publishers and consortia called „Publish and Read“ agreements. These are currently being introduced by several national “Big Deal” negotiating consortia in Europe. This new contract model is based on a more global approach to contractual expenses, including both fees to publish and fees to read. Researchers covered by such contracts can freely and immediately publish their articles in Open Access. At the same time, researchers also maintain access to the content of a specified list of journals (reading access).

In this context, the EUA Big Deals Survey Report looks at contracts with five of the most important international publishers and allows us to better understand the stakes involved in finding publication models at a lower cost and to develop free access to scientific publications. Indeed, the amount paid in Europe for accessing scholarly publications is impressive: more than one billion euros per year for all types of resources (journals, e-books and publication databases), and more than 720 million euros for periodicals alone. The second EUA Big Deals Survey Report contains input from 31 negotiating consortia, providing unique and important figures from Europe. It informs the debate within the scientific community, as well as among laboratory heads, rectors and policy makers.

EUA’s work on Big Deals over the years has resulted in evident progress towards the transparency of the content of negotiations and agreements: openness is not only being achieved in the results of science, but also in increasing awareness about the cost of science management.

Knowing the precise expenditures of research labs, universities and researchers in publishing articles in open access (Gold route) is a challenge, as also indicated in the 2017-2018 EUA Open Science Survey Results Report published in April 2019. There is thus an urgent need for universities and all research organisations to monitor and leverage this data. I would like to warmly thank the EUA Board and Council, as well as the EUA Secretariat for supporting this work with enthusiasm and determination.

I would particularly like to thank the EUA team: Rita Morais, Lennart Stoy and Lidia Borrell-Damián, for completing the second edition of this important and original survey. I would like to thank the academic experts and librarians who steered this work and contributed to the interpretation of the results. Finally, I am pleased to acknowledge the engagement and to thank the members of the High-Level Group on Big Deals, the associated group of negotiators and all experts who contributed to the success of this initiative.

Prof Jean-Pierre Finance
Chair of the EUA Expert Group on Science 2.0/Open Science


Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables



1. Introduction

2. Methodology and Participants

3. Big Deal negotiations: overview

3.1. Big Deal negotiations at national level

3.2. Open Access, Article Processing Charges and monitoring mechanisms

3.3. Bringing Subscriptions and Article Processing Charges under the same contract

3.4. Big Deal contract transparency and costs

4. Consortia

5. Periodicals Big Deals

5.1. Elsevier – Cell Press

5.2. Elsevier – Science Freedom Collection and other products

5.3. Springer Nature – Nature journals

5.4. Springer Nature – Springer journals

5.5. Taylor & Francis

5.6. Wiley

5.7. American Chemical Society

5.8. Contract duration

5.9. Contract renegotiations

5.10. Other contractual metrics

5.11. Increase in periodical prices

6. The cost of Big Deals in Europe

6.1. Overall consortia expenditure on periodicals Big Deals

6.2. Big Deals spend across European countries

7. Conclusions

7.1. An improved overview of the Big Deals landscape

7.2. The quest for transformative agreements



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