What is the DEAL project?

Open Access publishing with renowned publishers

DEAL or Project DEAL is a pioneering project in the German academic landscape. It was initiated in 2013 by the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and the German Research Foundation (DFG) and aims to facilitate Germany-wide licence agreements for the entire portfolio of electronic journals (e-journals) of the major academic publishers from 2017.

DEAL-grafik - NFDI4chem

Starting point

DEAL was created against the backdrop of sharply rising costs for e-journals, which represented an enormous financial burden for libraries and universities, while the major academic publishers were able to post above-average profits. In addition, the large academic publishers even earned twice as much when researchers wanted to publish their publications open access and had to pay additional Article Processing Charges (APCs).
Deal was therefore intended to provide German libraries with better access to academic literature and at the same time promote open access by reducing the costs for authors.

Implementation and successes

As the negotiating position of individual institutions vis-à-vis the major international publishers was severely weakened, DEAL aimed to improve the situation through joint action.  After intensive negotiations with the publishers, DEAL was able to conclude the first contracts in 2016. The consortium now comprises over 90 libraries and provides access to more than 90 million e-journals. DEAL has significantly reduced the cost of e-journals, which has led to a noticeable reduction in library budgets.

Benefits of the DEAL contract for authors from German research institutions

  • No financial hurdles: The APC publication costs for open access are covered by the publishers as part of the DEAL contracts. Authors therefore do not have to worry about additional costs for the publication of their work
  • Simplified open access publishing: The DEAL contracts enable authors to publish their research papers open access in thousands of journals published by Springer Nature, Wiley and Elsevier without additional fees.In addition, many libraries and universities offer their authors support with open access publishing as part of DEAL.
  • Faster dissemination of research results: Open access publications are generally received and cited more quickly than publications in journals with restricted access. This can have a positive impact on the scientific careers of authors.

Effect and meaning

DEAL has permanently changed the German scientific landscape and significantly improved access to scientific information. The project is regarded as a model for similar initiatives in other countries and has contributed to a new understanding of open access and fair pricing in the field of scientific literature.