No deal! Sweden cancelled agreement with Elsevier to stand up for Open Science




Open Science, transformative agreements, Elsevier cancellation, engineering science


Watch the VIDEO.

In this talk we highlight some results after the Swedish Bibsam consortium decided to cancel the agreement with scientific publisher Elsevier after 20 years as they couldn’t present a model that met the demands of the consortium.

The requirements were immediate open access to all articles published in Elsevier journals by researchers affiliated to participating organisations as well as reading access to all articles in Elsevier’s journals. Bibsam also demanded a sustainable price model that enables a transition to open access publishing. We investigate the effects of this cancellation on Sweden’s largest technical university, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.


The study has two themes. First, we analyse the economics in earlier Bibsam-Elsevier agreements and what effects they have had for the budget and purchasing decisions made by the KTH Library. Second, we evaluate the response and the adapted behaviour of KTH researchers in the attempt to see if the cancellation has had severe negative effects for them.


Our data collection gives an overview over the effects of the cancelled agreement at KTH. In particular, we observe how some of the money saved on the cancellation is used for individual article purchases and alternative services, thus lowering the effect of the cut-off.  During our talk, we will also review some marketing strategies employed at KTH and Swedish libraries for making this cancellation process as smooth as possible.


The short time period that has elapsed after the cancellation makes it difficult to see any long-time trends. The limited time frame also affects the validity of the researchers’ responses. Moreover, it is difficult to tell how the results from a case study from one university can be generalised to a global setting.


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Author Biographies

Cecilia Heyman Widmark, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Cecilia Heyman Widmark is a librarian at KTH Library, mainly working with media, publishing and Open Access.

Göran Hamrin, KTH - Royal Institute of Technology

Göran Hamrin is the KTH Library Director of Studies and a Lecturer in Library and Information Science at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. He is a mathematician, logician, philosopher, librarian and information scientist.




How to Cite

Heyman Widmark, C., & Hamrin, G. (2019). No deal! Sweden cancelled agreement with Elsevier to stand up for Open Science. Septentrio Conference Series, (1).