Statement from University Librarian Elaine L. Westbrooks on the UC System’s Termination of Elsevier Subscriptions – UNC Chapel Hill Libraries

I support and applaud the UC system for taking this bold step to transform scholarly publishing.  

At Carolina, we soon will have our own decisions to make. Our Elsevier Science Direct subscription—which bundles titles of significance with those of less value to our campus—is set to expire December 31, 2019. Other publisher agreements will soon follow. …”

Open access to research remains focus for UC after end to Elsevier negotiations | Daily Bruin

The University of California reaffirmed its commitment to promoting open access to research by terminating its negotiations for a new contract with a scientific journal publisher, UC negotiators and students said.

The UC’s previous contract with Elsevier, a publisher of over 2,500 scientific journals, expired Dec. 31. The UC ended negotiations with Elsevier on Feb. 28, after they had been ongoing for eight months.

Last year, the UC paid more than $10 million in subscription costs to Elsevier. Researchers also paid $1 million per year in additional fees to publish their work in certain Elsevier journals that make articles available to the public for free.

The UC hoped a new contract would reduce costs, make free access to UC research the default and combine subscription costs to read Elsevier journal articles with those extra author publishing fees, said Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, the co-chair of the UC Journal Negotiations Task Force and university librarian at UC Berkeley, in an email statement.

Elsevier offered to meet these terms in exchange for an 80 percent increase in fees, or approximately $30 million more over three years compared to the previous contract, MacKie-Mason said. The negotiators told Elsevier the price increase was still far from their target cost, he said….”

MoveOn Petitions – Support the UC’s “publish & read” proposal to Elsevier

“If you edit, review, or author articles in an Elsevier journal and support the principle that all academic research should be openly accessible to academics, PhDs in industry, policy makers, and the general public who funds research, you’re invited to sign this petition in support of an Open Letter to Elsevier, co-authored by members of Elsevier editorial boards. 


This letter, pasted below and available with links to sources here ( supports a recent proposal by the University of California to renegotiate its terms of subscription with Elsevier, in a deal that would have retained existing journals, editorial teams, and even Elsevier profits, but would have funded Open Access publishing charges for UC authors, making their work openly accessible. Unfortunately, Elsevier rejected this proposal, leaving the UC without an active subscription. We urge Elsevier to reconsider the UC proposal, and we support the University of California’s effort to transform our current academic publishing system to one in which journal subscriptions include fees to fund Open Access for all research….”

‘Researchers: stop signing away your copyright’ | Research Information

“The fundamental problem is we’re in this period of transition from the print to the digital, and also between closed and open access. Those two axes of change are causing a huge amount of pain and uncertainty for everybody in the system, for the library community, for publishers, and for researchers and funders. 

For the library community there’s increased demands on funding, and the transition to open access is taking a long time. While the UK has been pushing ahead with moving towards open access both in green through the REF policy and through gold, we’re still paying the same very large amounts in subscriptions for big deals. Then there are issues around ensuring compliance of funder mandates, and there’s a lot of effort going into monitoring compliance. While we’re still in this mixed model you’re still having to do all the old stuff you did 10 years ago, but you also have this additional burden.

There are also problems with the ebook models, there’s a bit of a wild west out there of different business models. Letting a thousand flowers bloom is all very lovely and encourages innovation, but there comes a point where it causes a huge amount of confusion and angst. Then there’s still the whole discussion about the appetite and practicalities of open access for academic monographs – how we make that transition, who funds it….”

For the Public Good: Our values in a changing scholarly communication landscape | Scholarly Publishing & Open Access

The negotiations between UC and Elsevier are part of an accelerating, worldwide movement to transform scholarly communication, to ensure knowledge is shared broadly and without barriers, and to further enhance inquiry and discovery. We applaud UC’s attempt to explore new and different models for providing access to scholarship. And we stand in support of finding new pathways to build and negotiate transformative models that create collaborative and sustainable long-term solutions. As stated in our Strategic Plan, UW Libraries works to advance research for the public good because we believe that “UW research attains its greatest impact on our most pressing global challenges when we advocate for open, public and emerging forms of scholarship.” “

Norway becomes latest country to ditch Elsevier | Times Higher Education (THE)

Norway has become the latest country to sever its contract with Elsevier in a move that could cost the publisher €10 million (£8.6 million) a year.

It follows Germany, SwedenHungary and the University of California system, which have ditched the publisher over complaints of high prices and insufficient progress towards open access….”


Norske forskningsinstitusjoner har besluttet å ikke forlenge avtale med forlaget Elsevier | Unit

From Google’s English: “The offer from Elsevier is far from fulfilling the requirements of Norway for open access to research articles. Nor is there any movement in the agreement’s period against paying for publishing instead of paying for reading access. The agreement with Elsevier is therefore not renewed for 2019. The Rectorates at BOTT (the universities in Bergen, Oslo, Tromsø and Trondheim) support the decision.

The Government’s goal is for all Norwegian scientific articles financed by public funds to be openly available by 2024. The main objective is to go from paying to read articles via subscription to paying for having articles that are openly available. Unit – The Directorate for ICT and Joint Services for Higher Education and Research has, since the Government’s national goals and guidelines came in 2017, negotiated with Elsevier about an agreement that will ensure such open access to articles published by Norwegian researchers. Unit negotiates and manages agreements on behalf of Norwegian research institutions. The agreement with Elsevier, known as the Science Direct Freedom Collection, has 44 Norwegian participants from universities, university colleges, research institutes and health enterprises. It is the largest deal unit dealer.

  • In order to succeed with the transition to open publishing, the negotiations have been carried out based on a set of principles:
  • Articles with corresponding authors from Norway shall be openly available at the time of publication
  • Open publishing should not increase the total cost of the agreements
  • Full transparency in license terms, costs and business models
  • Permanent access to content published in subscription journal
  • Movement is to be shown against agreements where costs are related to the volume of Norwegian institutions’ publication….”

Norway Joins List of Countries Canceling Elsevier Contracts | The Scientist Magazine®

“Norway has become latest country to cancel its contracts with Elsevier following a dispute over access to research papers. In a statement published yesterday (March 12), the Norwegian Directorate for ICT and Joint Services in Higher Education and Research (UNIT), which represents a consortium of research institutions in the country, rejected Elsevier’s offer to lower some of its costs for Norwegian institutions because it didn’t go far enough to promote free access to published research.

“The offer from Elsevier is far from fulfilling the requirements of Norway for open access to research articles,” the agency says in a statement (translated by Google). “Nor is there any movement in the agreement [about] paying for publishing instead of paying for reading access. The agreement with Elsevier is therefore not renewed for 2019.”

Norwegian institutions had been arguing for a so-called “read-and-publish” arrangement. Currently, most institutions pay both to read articles on Elsevier, which hosts around academic 2,500 journals, and to provide open access to their own articles on the platform. A read-and-publish deal would combine those costs into one and make papers immediately available on publication….”

UC Press Supports University of California’s Stance on Elsevier – UC Press Blog

As the publishing arm of the University of California system, UC Press supports the UC libraries in their cancellation of the Elsevier “big deal” package. As small to medium-sized publishers of largely humanities and social sciences (HSS) journals, university presses (including UC Press) have had to compete for diminishing library resources to support our publishing programs. Due to the growing costs of these “big deal” packages, libraries cannot afford to subscribe to valuable journals from university presses with greater frequency. As a result, crucial HSS scholarship is difficult or impossible to access outside of R1 universities. (R1 is the classification for doctoral universities with “very high research activity” access)….”