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Negotiations on National Consortium Agreement with Frontiers Terminated by Mutual Agreement

9 December 2020

The publisher Frontiers Media SA and the Central Library of Forschungszentrum Jülich as the lead negotiator on behalf of the current Helmholtz Consortium have been discussing a nationwide consortium for Frontiers’ journals since autumn 2018. In February 2020, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed, which included the state of negotiations, the unresolved issues, and a time schedule for the conclusion of a contract.

Institutions interested in participating were asked to give feedback on the MoU by the end of June 2020. In their feedback they particularly criticized the cessation of an APC ceiling that has already been introduced in many cases. However, Frontiers was not prepared to proceed with such a ceiling.

The new DFG “Open Access Publication Funding” programme, which was introduced in October 2020, also no longer provides for a ceiling on open access publication fees, but instead for a fixed allowance of € 1,400 per article to cover open access publication fees. Higher publication fees require co-financing by scientific institutions.

Consequently, Frontiers and Forschungszentrum Jülich have been developing a new model for funding open access publications in Frontiers journals. Unfortunately, no final agreement could be reached and it was jointly decided to terminate the negotiations.


Ronald Buitenhuis, head of Publishing Solutions and negotiator on behalf of Frontiers, said:
“We would like to thank Forschungszentrum Jülich for the constructive procedure that improved our understanding of the needs and concerns of the German library community. Together we have investigated many innovative models. Although we have not found a definitive solution yet, Frontiers will keep up its dialogue with German universities and libraries.”

Bernhard Mittermaier, head of the Central Library of Forschungszentrum Jülich, said:
“I would like to thank Frontiers for their great openness during our negotiations. We have gained a better understanding of the publisher’s view on cost and price calculation and regret not being able to present a consortium agreement to the libraries at the end of the negotiation process.”


Your contact at ZB:
Dr. Bernhard Mittermaier
Email: b.mittermaier@fz-juelich.de
Tel.: +49 02461 61-3013
Head of the Central Library


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