DEAL-negotiations for nationwide journal licenses with the publishers Elsevier, SpringerNature and Wiley

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On July 3rd 2018, the DEAL project group, led by the HRK temporarily suspended negotiations with the Elsevier publishing house due to its continued excessive and unacceptable demands (see HRK press release of July 5th 2018).

Elsevier informed the CAU that after the termination of the CAU license agreement, the access to the journals will be deactivated.

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.


DEAL-project – Nationwide licensing of journals of the publishers Elsevier, SpringerNature and Wiley

For many years, universities have been burdened with disproportinately high price increases in obtaining literature (especially regarding journals). The underlying principle of publicly funded research results, which have to be “bought back”, so that this knowledge is available in the institutions, is not financially viable in the long run.

Because of that, the alliance of the German science organisations, under the auspices of the German Rector’s Conference (HRK), created the DEAL-project. A majority of the institutions (among them the CAU) has given the DEAL-projectgroup a mandate to negotiate with the publishers Elsevier, SpringerNature and Wiley in order to achieve a significant improvement of 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 HRK President Prof. Hippler, 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.


Status of the DEAL-negotiations with SpringerNature and Wiley

DEAL signs contract with Wiley

The DEAL project achieved on 15.01.2019 a first trend-setting conclusion of contract with the publishing house Wiley. 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 fairer formation of prices.

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 (with direct connection to the older volumes of the long-standing national licenses available). Prior to the DEAL agreement, the CAU had access to only about 200 Wiley journals. In the future, all scientists of the participating institutions as Submitting Corresponding Authors will be able to publish their articles in most of the aforementioned journals without further costs, so that the articles are freely accessible worldwide from day one. Added to this is the opportunity to publish articles in the approximately 110 original Gold Open Access journals of the Wiley publishing house. In the future, the costs for this will be covered by the facilities and not the individual authors. The contract has been concluded with a time span of 3 years. However, the DEAL project is meant for the long term, so it is intended to extend beyond 2021.
The CAU entered the contract by a declaration of participation.

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 negotiations with SpringerNature

Substantial progress on the frame conditions was achieved in the negotiations. It is agreed that a nationwide DEAL contract will be concluded in 2019, which will take into account the four main demands of the DEAL project.
Both sides want to give the negotiations sufficient time to settle all the details. For this reason, a further so-called transitional agreement was concluded for 2019 after 2018, which will continue the current license agreements for a year largely without price increases.
Access to SpringerNature journals to date is therefore guaranteed in 2019.


Status of the DEAL-negotiations with Elsevier: Suspension of negotiations on July 3rd 2018 – deactivation of CAU access to Elsevier online journals

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) and another 140 towards the end of 2017 (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.


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.


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

a. regarding supply of Elsevier article copies:

b. regarding DEAL-project and -negotiations: