Norwegian research institutions have decided not to renew their agreement with Elsevier

12.03.19 Lieungh, Erik

– The offer from Elsevier is a long way from fulfilling the Norwegian requirements for open access to research articles, says Unit (department for IT and collective services for higher education and research).

The agreement with the publisher Elsevier expired at the end of 2018. Negotiations have been underway for more than six months between Unit (department for IT and collective services for higher education and research) and the Dutch publisher, without reaching a new agreement.

– There is also no movement in transitioning the agreement from paying to read to paying for open publishing, Unit states in their press release.

The agreement with Elsevier will therefore not be renewed for 2019. The rectorates at the universities of Bergen, Oslo, Tromsø and Trondheim all support this decision.

Deputy vice-chancellor of research at UiT - the Arctic University of Norway, Kenneth Ruud, says that they agree with the decision. Foto: Erik Lieungh

UiT in support of the decision

During these negotiations, it has been important for Norway’s higher education institutions to uphold national goals and guidelines concerning open access to scientific papers. These state that all publicly funded Norway’s scientific papers should be openly available by 2024, at no increase in cost to the institutions.

In today’s subscription model, scientific papers are locked behind paywalls, and the large international publishers are continually increasing the price of subscriptions. Norwegian institutions currently pay more than 330M NOK every year for reading access to scientific papers, including the ones published by researchers who work at Norwegian institutions.

Without a journal agreement with Elsevier, Norwegian higher education institutions are now in the same situation as Swedish, Polish, German and Hungarian institutions. In February, the University of California announced that they will terminate subscriptions with Elsevier.

Deputy vice-chancellor of research at UiT - the Arctic University of Norway, Kenneth Ruud, says that they support the decision.

– UiT believes that it is important that the scientific articles that our researchers write have as large of a reach as possible. This is important so that other researchers can use our results immediately, and that we as a scientific community is able to push science forward. Open access is crucial for the research we produce here at UiT, and for it to have an actual impact.  


Director of the University Library at UiT, Johanne Raade. Foto: Tommy Hansen

Alternative methods

UiT – The Arctic University of Norway will still have access to some repositories of Elsevier journals, books from Elsevier, and journals that are not part of the ScienceDirect Freedom Collection.

And despite no agreement being reached this year for reading new articles, Norwegian researchers will still be able to publish in Elsevier journals as before. 

Director of the University Library at UiT, Johanne Raade, says her staff will do their best to serve UiT's researchers and students.

– The University Library has been preparing for this situation for a while already. Our researchers and students will notice a lack of access to resources they have been used to accessing. However, we have prepared alternative methods to access journals and articles, some resources will also be available through the library’s request services. If you contact the library, we will do our very best to help.

If you want to see the list of journals UiT no longer has access to, you can visit the site

On this site, you will also find information about the negotiations, and methods to access scientific papers. It is also possible to request papers from Elsevier through the University library’s discovery tool Oria.

Contact the University library (postmottak @ if you need help accessing papers, or if you have other queries concerning this topic.

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