Academic publisher costs

The Finnish Open Science and Research Initiative (ATT) collected the publisher costs 2016. This data release is a continuation of last year's release, when the ATT announced the academic publisher costs for 2010-2015. The latest data release is from year 2017.

The Finnish universities and research organisations paid last year 35 million euros for electronic resources of scientific publishers. The biggest publisher, Elsevier, collected over 10 million euros and five biggest publishers gathered about 80 % of total publisher costs.

By opening the publisher cost data ATT Initiative wants to display the costs of the current publishing model, advance open science and support FibELib in its negotiations with the scientific publishers. FinELib's requirements in these negotiations are increased open access and affordable pricing.

To continue the discussion please use the hashtag #publishingcosts


This dataset includes academic publisher costs paid by Finnish research organizations to publishers and suppliers during the years 2010–2017. The dataset includes total costs of license contracts made with individual publishers or suppliers. The dataset also includes information on the different material packages the contracts included. Also included is the information on how the materials were acquired.

Please note that some values are missing from the data, the structures of the organisations and the material packages have changed during the time period, and that the costs have been converted to euros. More information on the data collection process and the variables can be found here.

Examine the dataset

Full dataset download (.csv)

Dataset license

This dataset is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The creator is the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland and its Open Science and Research Initiative 2014-2017. Publisher and holder of rights is the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland.

You are free to share and adapt the data for any purpose, with author attribution and indication if changes were made using the following citation.


Academic publisher costs in Finland 2010-2016, Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland and its Open Science and Research Initiative 2014-2017


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Background information

Promotion of open science and transparency of public spending are cornerstones in the science policy of the Ministry of Education and Culture. Digitalization and change in the publication paradigm related to open science has created new service provider models for scientific publishers. The multiple effects on the operation and expenditure of research performing and funding organizations have not yet been fully identified.  

With this initiative the Ministry of Education and Culture wants to promote transparency and fair competition in scientific publishing as well as support high-quality and sustainable operation of publicly funded research organizations and their libraries. The Council of the European Union has set a target of 100% open access by 2020. In order to reach this target, actions are needed in managing both service models and total costs. Transparency of publisher costs is widely recognized as a central concrete measure to increase openness (eg. Amsterdam Call for Actions 2016).

In Finland the data collection began when an information request was made to the Aalto University by Leo Lahti on behalf of the Open Knowledge Finland Open Science working group. This information request resulted in an administrative law settlement, where the total cost paid to the publisher was found to be public based on the act on the openness of government activities.  

It is rational to collect publisher costs all at once and in aggregate form, so that the benefits obtained would be as large as possible. Transparency of the subscription prices reveal the costs of the publishing model that is based on subscription payments. Author publication charges (APC) were not possible to survey for the present due to too eclectic practices, but it is estimated that in Finland they amount to a total of at least EUR 1 million per year. In the future also APCs will be surveyed more precisely.