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35 million euros spent on scholarly e-resource subscriptions

The Finnish Open Science and Research Initiative (ATT) collected data on the costs paid to scientific publishers in 2016. The Finnish higher education institutes and research institutes paid last year 35 million euros for electronic material from scientific publishers. The biggest publisher, Elsevier, received over 10 million euros and the five biggest publishers about 80 % of total publisher costs. This data release is a continuation of last year's release, when ATT announced the academic publisher costs for 2010-2015. The data set for 2016 is more comprehensive than the previous: more research institutes are involved than before. For universities and universities of applied sciences the figures are comparable.

FIG1: The figure includes scientific publishers for which the total amount paid by all organisations exceeds 10 000 euros in 2016. Click image to enlarge.


The publisher cost information collected relates to scientific publishers' electronic resources. The number of ordered printed scientific publications is decreasing. The total prices paid by universities and universities of applied sciences have risen from 15 million in 2010 to over 30 million euros in 2016.

FIG2: The publisher costs for printed journals and e-resources paid by universities and universities of applied sciences. (Source: printed journals Research Library Statistics Database, e-resources: Publisher costs data collected by ATT Initiative).


By opening the publisher cost data ATT Initiative wants to display the costs of the current publishing model and support FibELib. The FinELib consortium formed by higher education institutes, research institutes and libraries negotiates centralized license contracts for electronic resources of scientific publishers. FinELib's requirements in these negotiations are increased open access and affordable pricing.

Negotiations with Elsevier, for example, have been difficult. The previous agreement expired in 2016 and common understanding on open access was not reached in the negotiations. FinELib and Elsevier made a one year extension to get more time for negotiations, but the negotiations have not progressed so far.

The Ministry of Education and Culture has outlined that the contracts that are to be signed must significantly increase the opportunity for Finnish researchers to publish openly. Open science is one of the spearheads of Finnish science policy and Finland requires that all parties implement solutions that will make open publishing commonplace for all researchers.

In November 2016, Finnish researchers opened the online petition to support FinELib in the ongoing negotiation with international publishers. The statement has been signed by nearly 3,000 researchers. In June 16th 2017, the Finnish research community started the No Deal No Review boycott of Elsevier. All signed researchers will decline invitations for editorial and reviewer tasks for Elsevier journals.

Open science, open access and open data are international trends and similar publisher costs releases have also been made in the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Publisher cost data is now available as open data licensed under CC BY 4.0 license. You are free to share and adapt the data for any purpose, with author attribution and indication if changes were made. Publisher cost details and a link to the web application can be found at

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