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Università della Svizzera italiana University Library Lugano

University Library Lugano

What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) means free access to scientific information over the internet.

"Open access (OA) literature is:
  - digital
  - online
  - free of charge
  - and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions"
(Suber 2012, 4).

Researchers who publish articles or books in OA or upload their publications to a specialized repository make research accessible worldwide, granting access to the most up-to-date scientific information also to people working outside research institutions or living in underdeveloped countries, where access to traditional pay-per-view content by big publishers is simply too expensive. OA is supported on a global scale by many scientific organizations, libraries, universities and research institutions (see for example the list of signatories of the Berlin Declaration on OA to which USI has adhered in 2016 as 552nd istitution).


Why Open Access?

For several decades, the scientific community has been facing more and more disproportionate cost increases from many scholarly journals. The reasons for this so-called “serial crisis” are complex, but an essential factor is the quasi-monopoly of several publishers. Researchers, working in the environment of financially secure institutes, often do not face the problem directly. However the visibility, re-use and impact of their scientific research suffer from the limitation of access by price-barriers. Through this lens, it is clear that open access to research results should be enforced.


The results of research financed by public funds should be published electronically so that they are freely and immediately available without charge and can thus be reused by third parties, since they are considered as a public good. Several studies have shown that OA helps boost the visibility of research among researchers, the media and the general public. It thus promotes the transfer of knowledge, the rationalisation of resources and the efficiency of research, while accelerating scientific progress. Increasingly, OA is regarded as a new standard of excellence for scientific research, offering new opportunities for funding, partnerships and jobs, most appropriately so in countries with a particularly knowledge-based economy like Switzerland.


In Switzerland, several institutions connected to scientific research and its publication have developed OA policies:

  • The ​Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) requires that, in principle, all publications relative to research it funded should be published in OA.
  • The Swiss Academy of humanities and social sciences (SAGW) requires from all publishers receiving its financial support that they develop an OA policy before 2020.
  • Swissuniversities, commissioned by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, launched a Swiss National Strategy on Open Access that aimes at harmonizing the OA policies of Swiss universities, coordinate financial resources, promote alternative forms of publication, and communicating and raising awareness about OA. The aim of the strategy is that all scholarly publications funded by public money be Open Access by 2024 .
    The Action plan to implement the National strategy has been approved by swissuniversities the Swiss conference of higher education institutions, and is thus officially in force.
    USI as well will be concerned by the proposed measures, and it is likely that its researchers will soon be requested to comply to new OA requirements.


Open Access Policy Guidelines of Università della Svizzera italiana

Guidelines accepted by the Rectorate 14.09.20


How to publish Open Access?

Researchers who choose to publish OA may follow several paths. Two of them are the most commonly followed, and the least cumbersome:

  • The Green Road:
    self-archiving a version of one's publication in the Istitutional Repository of the university or in disciplinary or trans-disciplinary repositories. SUSI is the Istitutional Repository for researchers at USI. Please contact the library for any information regarding the upload of publications to SUSI.
  • The Gold road:
    articles or books are directly published online, usually in an Open Access journal or an Open Access ebook platform.
    For example:
    the DOAJ - Directory of Open Access Journals platform lists and informs about OA journals of high quality and trustworthiness.
    The project OAPEN displays ebooks in OA published by many academic publishers, in Switzerland as well as worldwide.

Press for scheme in PDF

Papago your Open Access personal assistant


Do you need help with rights, obligations and financing opportunities in the context of OA? Papago offers individualized advice.



Financial support for Gold Open Access

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and USI can provide financial support for publication expenses related to the Gold road to OA. Detailed information is available here:

Moreover, specific agreements regarding the price of APCs have been reached with some publishers. USI researchers can profit from the following discount rates:

Publisher Agreement description Journals
ACM - Association for Computing Machinery

100% free APCs for all peer-reviewed articles

complete list
ACS - American Chemical Society

100% free APCs for Gold OA and Hybrid OA articles.

National yearly quota: 177 articles accepted in 2024, and 216 in 2025.

complete list
BMJ Standard Collection

100% free APCs for 'Original Research' Hybrid OA articles.

National yearly quota: 12 articles accepted in 2024.

complete list
Cell Press

→ see Elsevier

Dove Press
Gold OA publisher

→ see Taylor&Francis

Elsevier 100% free APCs for Gold and Hybrid OA articles by the publishers Elsevier, Cell Press, and Lancet Journals complete list
F1000 Research platform
Gold OA publisher

→ see Taylor&Francis

Gold OA publisher
free APCs for articles submitted between 01.01.2024 and 31.12.2024, until exhaustion of the amount prepayed by USI all
Attention: only USI staff entitled to Gold Open Access reimbursement are allowed to publish within the agreement (» see inclusion criteria)
IEEE 100% free articles in all Gold OA journals.

National quota: 132 articles between 2022 and 2024.
complete list
John Benjamins 100% free APCs for Gold and Hybrid OA articles all journals
Karger Journals 100% free APCs for Gold and Hybrid OA articles complete list
Lancet Journals

→ see Elsevier

Gold OA publisher
20% discount on APCs complete list

100% free APCs for Hybrid OA articles

Warning: the quota of articles for 2024 has been reached. Publication under the agreement is suspended until 2025.

Oxford University Press Free APCs for Hybrid OA articles. In addition, 10% discount on APCs in Gold OA journals

National yearly quota: 304 articles in 2024.
complete list
Gold OA publisher
100% free APCs in six Gold OA journals - PLOS ONE
- PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
- PLOS Genetics
- PLOS Computational Biology
- PLOS Pathogens
- PLOS Digital Health (new)
- PLOS Complex Systems (new)
SAGE 100% free APCs for Gold and Hybrid OA articles complete list
Springer 100% free APCs for Hybrid OA articles complete list
Taylor&Francis 100% free APCs for Gold and Hybrid OA articles, including Dove Press (Gold OA) and F1000 Research platform (Gold OA).

National yearly quota: 702 articles accepted in 2024, 716 in 2025, 730 in 2026, and 745 in 2027.
complete list

100% free APCs for Hybrid OA articles

complete list


Who can help me?

The Biblioteche dell’Università della Svizzera italiana can assist and guide researchers in the process of OA publishing.

Support and information:
[email protected]
Phone: +41 58 666 4501


Useful links






News and updates

09.05.2022 --- Failed negotiations for Read&Publish agreement with Oxford University Press

The Consortium of Swiss Academic Libraries and Oxford University Press (OUP) have not been able to agree on the terms for a transformative Read & Publish agreement as of 2022. After more than three years of negotiations, OUP was not willing to move towards the requirements of swissuniversities. OUP's latest asking price still exceeds available library funds by far. As a consequence, the Consortium has decided to suspend negotiations with OUP until further notice.
Without an existing agreement, articles published behind a paywall from January 2022 onwards will not be available  while USI and most Swiss universities are guaranteed continuing access rights for articles up to the end of 2021.

For these so-called "no-deal" situations, the libraries recommend some viable alternatives to retrieve, at no extra cost, articles that are not available through the libraries' institutional subscriptions: factsheet ‘How to get the article’.



03.05.2021 --- USI signs “read & publish" agreements with Wiley and SAGE

USI has entered two new "read & publish" agreements with scientific publishers Wiley and SAGE, adding to those reached previously with Elsevier, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis and Karger. These agreements were negotiated by swissuniversities and will be implemented by the USI Libraries. They combine full access to the publishers' journals (read) with the possibility to publish free of charge in OA (publish) while minimising cost increases. These are important additions to the Swiss National OA Strategy.


USI researchers can now publish Open Access (OA) articles free of charge in more than 1,450 journals of the publisher Wiley, provided that they are corresponding authors of the article and under contract with USI. The agreement, which extends through December 31, 2024, applies to all articles (primary research and review articles) accepted after April 30, 2021. The affiliation with USI or another Swiss academic research institution participating in the agreement must be indicated during the procedure for managing accepted articles. The agreement applies to all Wiley "hybrid" journals, i.e., not published open access (full list).


A similar "read & publish" agreement was reached also with the publisher SAGE. Corresponding authors affiliated with USI can publish free Open Access (OA) articles in over 900 "hybrid" journals (full list), or get a 20% discount on APCs of Gold Open Access journals. In addition, reading access to all SAGE journals in the Communication collection (FTC) is guaranteed.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that USI, in addition to concluding agreements with individual publishers, finances the publication of Gold OA articles by its researchers, if they are not already funded within a project of the SNSF.
The USI Libraries are available to provide further information on the two "read & publish" agreements, as well as on OA publishing in general. Please contact us by email: [email protected].


29.11.2020 --- Renewal of the "read & publish" agreement with Karger publishers

In 2021, USI researchers will be able to keep on publishing free Open Access (OA) articles in all Karger's journals, provided that they are corresponding authors of the article and under contract with USI. During the article submission process, in the "Open Access Agreements" section, USI shall be referred to as the institution of reference.
Karger publishes over 100 peer-reviewed journals, of which an increasing number in Open Access. The Basel publisher is active with books and magazines mainly in the field of biomedical sciences.
This agreement, negotiated by the Consortium of Swiss University Libraries and already in force in 2020, was the first to be implemented by USI Libraries and was then followed by further agreements with the publishers Elsevier and Springer Nature.
We want to take this opportunity to recall that USI, in addition to negotiating agreements with individual publishers, also funds the publication of Gold OA articles by its researchers, when these articles are not already funded within an SNSF project.
USI Libraries are available for further information on "read & publish" agreements, as well as on OA publication in general. For the moment, please contact us by email: [email protected].