No Deal: German Researchers’ Publishing and Citing Behaviours after Big Deal Negotiations with Elsevier | Quantitative Science Studies | MIT Press

Abstract:  In 2014, a union of German research organisations established Projekt DEAL, a national-level project to negotiate licensing agreements with large scientific publishers. Negotiations between DEAL and Elsevier began in 2016, and broke down without a successful agreement in 2018; in this time, around 200 German research institutions cancelled their license agreements with Elsevier, leading Elsevier to restrict journal access at those institutions. We investigated the effect on researchers’ publishing and citing behaviours from a bibliometric perspective, using a dataset of ?400,000 articles published by researchers at DEAL institutions between 2012–2020. We further investigated these effects with respect to the timing of contract cancellations, research disciplines, collaboration patterns, and article open-access status. We find evidence for a decrease in Elsevier’s market share of articles from DEAL institutions, with the largest year-on-year market share decreases occuring from 2018 to 2020 following the implementation of access restrictions. We also observe year-on-year decreases in the proportion of citations, although the decrease is smaller. We conclude that negotiations with Elsevier and access restrictions have led to some reduced willingness to publish in Elsevier journals, but that researchers are not strongly affected in their ability to cite Elsevier articles, implying that researchers use other methods to access scientific literature.


DEAL ist ein Problem – Gespräch mit Thomas Stäcker über die Folgen der Digitalisierung für Bibliotheken (3) – Aus der Forschungs­bibliothek Krekelborn

From Google’s English:  

“Isn’t it obvious that the DEAL project wants to promote open access, but that this good intention is bought at a high price and the oligopoly structures in the science market are being consolidated?

I agree with you there. However, many colleagues in the library world see things differently and see DEAL as a success. After a few years of observation, however, I have to confirm the diagnosis that expectations in DEAL as a game changer in terms of the publication system are being disappointed. We don’t save any money. Promises of reallocating funds are unrealistic. I consider the still existing restriction to a few players to be fatal, since existing oligopolies are being further entrenched. The really good thing about DEAL is that you negotiate on a national level in a consortium. It is also very important that the German Rectors’ Conference organizes this process, because science itself and not just the libraries are involved.So I think a lot of DEAL as a structure, but I don’t think that DEAL is still addressing the right issues at the moment. Why can’t DEAL as a consortium also serve, for example, to establish Diamond Open Access structures? You could get the funding for this, for example from the DFG….”

DEAL Konsortium – new website

DEAL is an initiative of the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany. Under the leadership of the German Rectors’ Conference (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz – HRK), DEAL negotiates nationwide transformative  “Publish and Read” agreements with the largest commercial publishers of scholarly journals on behalf of German research institutions (including universities, universities of applied sciences, research institutes, state and regional libraries).

The agreements enable thousands of research articles from German institutions to be published openly each year, making them immediately accessible and re-usable worldwide. At the same time, they provide the hundreds of institutions in the DEAL consortium with extensive access rights to scientific journals, thereby improving the information infrastructure for research and education in Germany.


Springer Nature and Projekt DEAL extend partnership | Research Information

In 2019 Springer Nature and Germany’s Projekt DEAL signed what was at the time the world’s largest, most comprehensive, transformative agreement (TA). Encompassing 2,500 journals with the expectation of enabling 13,000 articles to be published open access (OA) each year, it reflected the commitment of both parties to the principles of open science and advancing the transition to OA.

The success of the agreement can be seen in that 97% of affiliated authors with eligible universities and institutions in Germany took advantage of the opportunity to publish their articles OA without needing to pay an article processing charge. In addition, in 2021 the agreement saw over 16,000 (+13% on 2020) new research articles in Springer Nature’s fully OA and hybrid journals made freely and openly accessible for scholars everywhere – 60% of all the articles published under DEAL agreements (1).


Update zu DEAL |

2021 wurden über 27.000 Publikationen im Rahmen der DEAL-Verträge in Zeitschriften von Wiley und Springer Nature veröffentlicht. Mehr als 95 % der Autor:innen nutzten dafür die Open-Access-Option, was zu einem Anstieg des OA-Anteils bei den deutschen Publikationen geführt hat1. Da der Vertrag mit Wiley zum 31.12.2022 endet und die reguläre dreijährige Laufzeit des Vertrags mit Springer Nature ebenfalls zum Jahresende abschließt, verhandelt die DEAL-Gruppe nun wieder mit den Verlagen. Einen Einblick in die Verhandlungen gab es kürzlich auf verschiedenen Wegen1,2, was wir zum Anlass nehmen möchten, die derzeitigen Pläne zur Weiterführung der Verträge im Folgenden zusammenzufassen.


„Forum 13+“-Spektrum zur Bewertung von Open Access-Transformationsverträgen und Verlagsangeboten: Stand Oktober 2021 (spectrum for the evaluation of Open Access transformation contracts and publishing offers: Status October 2021)

via The following spectrum for the evaluation of OA transformation contracts and publishing offers is a result of the work of the independent working group “Forum 13+” and is primarily aimed at negotiators of OA transformation contracts and thus at acquisition and licensing experts at academic libraries and library consortia.

German original:

Das folgende Spektrum zur Bewertung von Open Access-Transformationsverträgen und Verlagsangeboten ist ein Arbeitsergebnis der unabhängigen Arbeitsgruppe „Forum 13+“ und richtet sich in erster Linie an Verhandler*innen von Open Access-Transformationsverträgen und damit an die Erwerbungs- und Lizenzierungsexpert*innen an wissenschaftlichen Bibliotheken und an Bibliothekskonsortien.

Help Shape the Transition to Open · Series 1.3: Global Transition to Open

“Some of the popular open access transition strategies, mostly promoted by publishers, manage to achieve more open access. But they lack much of what we need: making publishing accessible for everyone, lowering the costs of publishing, coping with an increasing number of publications, reducing the dependency on commercial publishers, transparency of procedures and costs, and a sustainable and irrevocable flipping of journals to open access [undefined]. The goal of achieving open access as the standard in academic publishing has been set for years now. Who do we trust with accelerating the speed of the transition while assuring the inclusiveness, transparency, and sustainability of  the publication system? Clear principles must be reconciled with the will to break new ground. Libraries are in a good position to shape this transition to open….

Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB) has the mandate to provide both academia and industry with information from natural sciences and engineering. The library is strongly committed to openness in its mission. Measures include providing access to scholarly literature, deploying infrastructure, and conducting research. In terms of open access, TIB is deeply involved in defining concepts and tools that actively help shape the transition to full open access. In this post, I will give a short overview of the current activities of TIB….

At TIB, there are four major strategies underway, all based on the clear commitment to help shape the transition:

We established a library publishing service, TIB Open Publishing, to offer professional publishing services for non-APC, scholar-led open access journals and conference proceedings.

We developed our leading role in traditional library consortia by establishing models for open access consortia, e.g. through the KOALA project.

We contribute to collectively funded open access publications and systematically integrate this into our acquisition budget.

We help sustain open infrastructure for the open access landscape….”

23,000 German DEAL publications in 2020 | DEAL Operations

In 2020, scientists in Germany published nearly 23,000 articles in the journals of Springer Nature and Wiley. The vast majority of authors (over 95%) used the open access option enabled by the DEAL agreements and published their articles under a free license, without transferring exclusive rights to the publisher. Thanks to the DEAL agreements, around a third of all German research results published annually in peer-reviewed scientific journals are now freely accessible so that this body of knowledge can be re-used in a variety of ways to benefit science and society.


The DEAL cost modeling tool – DEAL Operations

“The DEAL agreements provide a framework to orient institutional investments around open dissemination of research, but budgeting for the open access publishing needs of researchers can be challenging for stakeholders. While previous library subscription fees are known, the entity of investments in open access publishing of articles (APCs) before the DEAL agreements is, in most cases, unknown, as publishing trends of authors were not previously tracked and payments were largely made outside of central oversight.

The DEAL Cost Modeling Tool is an interactive, Excel-based tool that addresses this challenge, giving every institution the means to calculate their total costs with the publishers Wiley and Springer Nature and assess the financial impact of the DEAL agreements on the immediate and long-term, in a variety of cost scenarios.”

The DEAL Cost Modeling Tool

Abstract:  The DEAL Cost Modeling Tool is a practical tool that gives German research institutions the ability to calculate their medium-term expenditure development with the publishers Wiley and Springer Nature under various assumptions and compare these with the actual costs of the DEAL agreements. The interactive Excel tool, which is equipped with a wide range of input and modeling options, incorporates publication and financial data from Germany from the years prior to the DEAL contracts and a robust methodology to generate projections that illustrate potential cost developments under a selection of relevant scenarios. Anchored in the validated article-level cost data generated through the DEAL agreements, the DEAL Cost Modeling Tool makes a practical contribution to the discourse on evaluation of impact and costs associated with  transformative open access publishing agreements as they proliferate globally, prompted by consensus around the OA2020 Initiative and widely documented in the ESAC Registry,

DEAL Praxis-Workshop: Erwerbung neu denken (DEAL workshop: rethinking acquisiton) – July 13, 2021 | DEAL Operations

Strategies and methods against the background of the OA transformation.

After the Commission on Acquisitions of the German Library Association took up the topic of Open Access and acquisitions in an informative series of events in the spring, we would now like to continue and deepen the dialogue. In a workshop, we will focus on acquisition principles as well as on methods of determining demand and budget allocation against the backdrop of the OA transformation in the scholarly journal market. For this purpose, we were able to win four speakers who will present their trend-setting approaches. The program of the online event will be rounded off with discussion rounds in breakout sessions. Register now!

Translated with

Strategien und Methoden vor dem Hintergrund der OA-Transformation

Nachdem die Kommission Erwerbung des Deutschen Bibliotheksverbandes im Frühjahr das Thema Open Access und Erwerbung in einer informativen Veranstaltungsreihe bereits aufgegriffen hat, möchten wir den Dialog nun fortsetzen und vertiefen. Im Rahmen eines Workshops blicken wir schwerpunktmäßig auf Erwerbungsgrundsätze sowie auf die Methoden der Bedarfsermittlung und Etatverteilung vor dem Hintergrund der OA-Transformation auf dem wissenschaftlichen Zeitschriftenmarkt. Dafür konnten wir vier Referent*innen gewinnen, die uns ihre richtungsweisenden Ansätze vorstellen. Abgerundet wird das Programm der Online-Veranstaltung mit Diskussionsrunden in Breakout-Sessions. Melden Sie sich gleich an!