DEAL-negotiations and contracts for nationwide journal licenses and Open Access publication facilities for journals of the publishers Wiley, SpringerNature and Elsevier

Web-Order Form Emergency service for  Elsevier journals

For many years, universities have been burdened with immense costs in obtaining literature through disproportionate price increases by publishers (especially in the field of journals).

The underlying principle is that publicly funded research on subscriptions and licenses must be "bought back" with public funds, so that this knowledge is available at universities for research and teaching. This system can no longer be financed without fundamental changes.

That is why the Alliance of German Science Organizations, under the auspices of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK), has launched the DEAL project.


What are the DEAL negotiations and contracts about?

In 2016, a large majority of the organizations in the Alliance of German Scientific Organizations (including the CAU) have given the DEAL Project Group a mandate to negotiate with the publishers Elsevier, SpringerNature and Wiley in order to achieve a significant improvement in the status quo.

The main demands on the publishers for a beginning system change in the information supply are:

  • Permanent full-text access to the entire journal title portfolio of publishers
  • Open Access for all articles by authors at German institutions (license CC-BY, including peer review)
  • Reasonable pricing according to a simple, future-oriented calculation model based on the publication volume ("Publish and Read")
  • Eligibility of approximately 600 publicly funded educational and research institutions


Under the leadership of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK), the DEAL project group has been negotiating on nationwide licenses that meet the aforementioned requirements with the publisher Elsevier since mid-2016 and with publishers SpringerNature and Wiley since the beginning of 2017.


DEAL-contract with Wiley (Access to 1,600 journals and Open Access Publishing)

The most important things for CAU members in a nutshell:

  • Reading access to about 1,600 subscription journals of the Wiley publishing house in the university network of the CAU
  • Open access publication option in most of Wiley's journals for all CAU scientists including UKSH Campus Kiel with central funding and thus without additional costs for the authors
  • To do so, simply select the open access option offered in the publication process at a Wiley journal. The request is automatically submitted to the UB for verification of the authorization.


The details:

The DEAL project achieved a first trend-setting conclusion of contract with the publishing house Wiley on January 15th 2019. The DEAL license agreement initiates a transformation process away from subscription-based licensing models to a model based on publication fees, the principles of open access and fair pricing.

The CAU has joined the contract.

The content of the contract is a Publish & Read model, in which participating institutions (approximately 700 universities and research institutes in Germany) have permanent access to approximately 1,600 subscriptions-based e-journals of Wiley back to 1997 for an annual fee (i.e. with direct connection to the older volumes of the long-standing national licenses available). The CAU previously had access to only about 200 Wiley journals.

In addition, all CAU researchers including UKSH Campus Kiel can publish their articles as Submitting / Corresponding Authors in most of the aforementioned subscriptions-based Wiley journals Open Access at no additional cost, so that the articles are freely accessible worldwide from day one.

Added to this is the opportunity for all CAU scientists including UKSH Campus Kiel to publish articles in additional 110 original Gold Open Access journals of the Wiley publishing house, the costs of which are also borne by the CAU and no longer by the individual authors.

This assumption of costs includes the basic APC, but not fees for additional services such as translations, image editing or overlengths.

During the publication process, Wiley authors are made aware of the Open Access capability of DEAL and can select the option. The Open Access request is automatically submitted to the University Library (UB) by Wiley for reviewing the authorization (the authors do not have to do anything themselves) and are usually decided in a few days. Authors will be automatically informed of the decision by Wiley. Sometimes it may come to questions of the UB to the authors, which are usually for clarification in regards to the authorization.

The contract has a term of three years. However, the DEAL project is long-term, so it is intended to extend beyond 2021.

Information about the DEAL contract with Wiley:
Press release of the German Rectors' Conference of 15.01.2019
Project DEAL: Wiley contract
FAQs Wiley DEAL contract


DEAL contract with SpringerNature

The most important things for CAU members in a nutshell:

  • On January 8, 2020, the responsible MPDL Service GmbH on behalf of DEAL and SpringerNature signed the long-announced DEAL contract (see HRK press release, see key elements of the agreement).

  • The University Board decided on March 3, 2020 that the CAU will join the contract.

  • In anticipation, all scientists of the CAU, including UKSH Campus Kiel, can now publish their articles as Corresponding Authors in Springer's Open Choice journals with central funding and thus without additional costs for the authors (subject to the CAU's participation in DEAL-Contract). This option is also likely to be available for Springer’s Gold OA journals from August 1st, 2020. There is also access to approximately 1,900 journals of the publisher.


Status of the DEAL-negotiations with Elsevier (interrupted at the moment)

The most important things for CAU members in a nutshell:

  • Interruption of the negotiations on July 3rd 2018
  • Disconnection of the online access to the journals by the Elsevier publishing house


The Elsevier publishing house has not presented any truly negotiable offer in several rounds of negotiations. The offers submitted by the publisher so far refute arguments for fair pricing and transparent business models based on publication performance, which would make publications more accessible, as well as the principles of open access. Rather, the publisher continues to rely on price increases.

In order to strengthen the negotiating position of the DEAL project group, about 60 notable scientific institutions have already terminated their contracts with Elsevier at the end of 2016 (for a list see here), another 140 towards the end of 2017 (for a list see here) and another 26 towards the end of 2018 (for a list see here).

Additionally, numerous notable scientists resigned from their editorial positions since October 2018 (for a list see here).

To bolster the negotiating position for the DEAL project group and for reasons of solidarity, the CAU presiding committee, in consultation with the University Library, decided in July 2017 to terminate the expiring journal license agreement of the CAU with the Elsevier publishing house, as of December 31st, 2017.

A renewal of the license agreement under the existing conditions is not being considered for the CAU. The CAU also does not want to negotiate bilaterally with the Elsevier publishing house. It is the belief of all involved persons that currently only a continued, cooperative approach of the scientific institutions within the framework of the DEAL project under the leadership of the HRK will lead to a successful result for German science.

Negotiations were suspended by the DEAL project group in early July 2018, when the Elsevier publishing house continued to insist on their excessive and inacceptable demands (see HRK press release July 5th 2018). Elsevier appears to be unwilling to offer a science-adequate scope of services for a publish & read model under the principles of open access, which can be sustainably financed.

Elsevier informed the CAU on July 9th 2018 that after the termination of the CAU license agreement, the access to the journals will be deactivated. Full texts of the approx. 2,200 journals are not available (so-called "Freedom Collection", for a list see here) on campus at the moment. Access to archives until the end of 2017 for a smaller portion of the journals and to archives of the national license until the end of 2002 is still guaranteed.

The CAU presiding committee and the university library are aware that the temporary loss of this important journal offer is a limitation for teaching and research. In the interest of a future-oriented supply of information on science-friendly and fair terms, we ask all CAU members to understand and to support this approach of the CAU until the formation of a DEAL contract.

The University Library provides every member of the CAU with a contingency service for article delivery from Elsevier-journals, including employees of the Geomar, IPN and UKSH-Campus Kiel.

Web-Order Form Emergency service for  Elsevier journals


Contingency supply concept of the CAU for articles from Elsevier journals during the non-contract time via a web order form

  • Every CAU staff member and student, including those at Geomar, IPN and the UKSH-Campus Kiel, can place an order with the university library for article copies from Elsevier journals on paper (see order form below).
  • Those copies will be provided cost-free for the ordering person.
  • Members of the staff will receive the copies sent into their offices by house mail. Only name, business address and a mail address have to be provided.
  • Students will have to pick up their copies at one of the three departments of the university library and have to provide their library user number to claim them.
  • Procurement usually takes place via inter-library loan. The delivery takes up to ten days. The university library waives the usual fees of 1.50 EUR per copy of the article. In urgent need, which must be specified in the order form, the UB arranges an order with the direct delivery service subito. In this case the delivery will be within about three days. The fees are paid by the so-called central fund of the CAU for media supply.

Web-Order Form Emergency service for  Elsevier journals


If you have any questions or need further advice, please contact

a. regarding DEAL-project and Open Access publishing facilities in Wiley and SpringerNature journals:


b. regarding supply of Elsevier article copies: