UC Berkeley Library

Elsevier journal negotiations

Content section: 

Latest news
What you need to know
Questions? Contact us
Access to Elsevier articles
Alternative ways to access Elsevier articles
Publishing in Elsevier journals
UC’s stance on open access
Learn more

UC/Elsevier negotiations continue; full access to articles during January

The University of California and Elsevier are continuing discussions in January in a good-faith effort to conclude negotiations by January 31. As part of both parties’ good-faith efforts, in January UC and Elsevier have agreed that access will be extended to the University of California during this time, to allow one more month to conclude discussions.

Open letter to the UC Berkeley academic community: Potential changes to UC’s relationship with Elsevier in January 2019

TO: The UC Berkeley academic community

FROM: Paul Alivisatos, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Barbara Spackman, Chair, Academic Senate - Berkeley Division
Jeff MacKie-Mason, University Librarian and Professor

RE: Potential Changes to UC's Relationship with Elsevier in January 2019

December 19, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

The University of California is renegotiating its systemwide licenses with some of the world’s largest scholarly journal publishers, including industry giant Elsevier. Through these negotiations, UC is seeking to constrain the excessive costs of journal subscriptions and to make it easier and more affordable for UC authors to publish their research open access.

If we are unable to reach an agreement with Elsevier before our current contract ends on December 31, we may lose access to future articles in Elsevier’s journals through their ScienceDirect platform. UC scholars will still be able to use ScienceDirect to access most articles with a publish date before 2019 because UC has permanent access rights to them.

UC intends to continue negotiating in good faith. It is up to Elsevier to decide whether to continue to provide UC faculty and students with full access during the period of negotiations. Should access be reduced, the Library is prepared to assist in obtaining access to needed content through other means, such as interlibrary loan. Read more.

What you need to know

What’s happening? As each of its multiyear contracts with large scholarly journal publishers comes to an end, UC is working to hold down the rapidly escalating costs associated with for-profit journals and to align our journal contracts with UC’s stance in support of open access. To that end, UC is seeking a single, integrated contract with publishers that covers both the university’s subscriptions and open access publishing of UC research in their journals, making open access the default for any article with a UC corresponding author.

Why Elsevier, why now? UC is negotiating with Elsevier now because the UC’s previous multiyear contract with Elsevier is up for renewal. That contract expires Dec. 31, 2018.

What will happen if a new Elsevier contract is not signed by Dec. 31? Nothing will change right away. As part of both parties’ good-faith efforts, in January UC and Elsevier have agreed that access will be extended to the University of California during this time, to allow one more month to conclude discussions.

Questions?

The systemwide Office of Scholarly Communication website provides more information on the Elsevier negotiations, including an extensive FAQ for researchers and the public.

Email us at scholarly-resources@lists.berkeley.edu.

Contact your UC Berkeley subject librarian.

Accessing Elsevier articles

  • Nothing may change. As long as the parties remain engaged in good-faith negotiations, Elsevier may decide not to disrupt UC access to its journals.
  • No matter what happens with the negotiations, UC scholars will still be able to use ScienceDirect to access most articles with a publish date before 2019 because UC has permanent access rights to them.
  • If access is at any point disrupted, the UC Berkeley Library will still work with researchers to get them the articles they need through other means, such as interlibrary loan.

Alternative access to Elsevier articles

If there is a period when UC is without a contract and Elsevier does interrupt our access to new content via ScienceDirect, here are some other ways to access the articles you need.

Some options may be more suitable than others depending on how soon you need an article and whether you need the final published version. If you have difficulty finding a suitable version of an article yourself, the UC Berkeley Library can help you get the final published version via interlibrary loan.

As a reminder, UC will continue to have access on ScienceDirect to all articles with a publish date before 2019 for which our prior subscription included perpetual rights.

Alternative Access Graphic

Graphic: How to get alternative access to articles.

Install browser plugins:

  • Open Access Button: Use the website or browser plugin to get free, legal research articles and data delivered immediately or automatically requested from the author.
  • Unpaywall: If you install the browser plugin, a green tab with a padlock icon will appear in your browser with a direct link to the full-text article if a free version is available. Draws on a database of 10 million legal, open access, full-text research papers, compiled by the nonprofit Impactstory.

Find open access content:

  • PubMed Central: Full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature.
  • UC's eScholarship: Postprints, working papers, monographs, electronic theses, and dissertations; student capstone projects; and seminar/conference proceedings by UC-affiliated authors.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals: More than 12,000 journals, with more than 9,000 searchable at the article level.

Check the subject-specific repositories:

Note: The UC Libraries do not endorse using Sci-Hub for article access.

Search:

  • Google Scholar: If there is an open version of an article (10-20 percent of Elsevier articles), you can often find it via Google Scholar. To make searching more convenient, add the Google Scholar Button to your browser; then select the title of a paper, from any webpage, and click the Scholar button to find it.
  • 1findr: An alternative to Google, this search tool also notes the availability of open access versions in its search results.

Use your network:

Most publishers will allow responsible sharing of your own publications. One way to get an article is to contact an author and ask for a PDF of a reprint. The author’s name and institution (if available) are usually shown on the preview page of the article.

Ask for help:

The Library participates in a global resource sharing network whose mission is to support your research. Our interlibrary loan staff are available and happy to assist you. Please feel free to reach out to your UC Berkeley subject librarian with questions.

  • Online: If you cannot locate the material you need, use the Interlibrary Borrowing Service Request Form:
    • Select periodical or book.
    • Supply as much information as you can, including where you found the material listed.
    • Use the notes field to provide additional information (for example, the chapter or pages needed).
  • In person: Visit Interlibrary Services at 133 Doe Library, where the staff can assist you with your request.

Questions? Email us at scholarly-resources@lists.berkeley.edu.

Publishing in Elsevier journals

  • If the negotiations are successful, UC’s proposed model will make it easier and more affordable for UC faculty to publish their work open access in Elsevier journals.
  • No matter what happens, UC authors retain the right to publish in the journal of their choice.
  • By providing article processing charge (APC) support through the UC Libraries as well as an opt-out option, the UC is working hard to ensure that authors have maximum flexibility in determining where and how they want to publish.

UC’s stance on open access

As UC renegotiates its licenses with scholarly journal publishers such as Elsevier, we have an opportunity to align our journal licensing agreements with the university’s goal of advancing open access. As stated in the UC’s Presidential Open Access Policy:

The University of California is committed to disseminating its research and scholarship as widely as possible … (and) recognizes the benefits that accrue to its authors as individual scholars and to the scholarly enterprise from such wide dissemination, including greater recognition, more thorough review, consideration, and critique, and a general increase in scientific, scholarly, and critical knowledge.

The Academic Senate affirms this commitment in its Open Access Policy:

As part of a public university system, the Faculty is dedicated to making its scholarship available to the people of California and the world.

The Council of Vice Chancellors (COVC) wrote a letter to the Chairs of the Council of University Librarians (CoUL) and the University Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication (UCOLASC) expressing support for the Elsevier negotiations in a Letter of Support. The UC Systemwide Library And Scholarly Information Advisory Committee (SLASIAC) also sent a Letter of Support to Provost Michael Brown.

Learn more

  • The systemwide Office of Scholarly Communication website provides more information on the Elsevier negotiations, including an extensive FAQ for researchers and the public.
Questions? Ask Us!