ABOVE: UC Berkeley

The University of California has ended its subscription to journals published by Elsevier, citing a failure to reach an agreement that would lower fees and prioritize open access to its scholars’ work, the UC system announced yesterday (February 28). The decision to stop paying for access to Elsevier’s journals came after eight months of contract negotiations. 

The university system’s previous contract with the publishing giant expired on December 31, and the research heavyweight, accounting for nearly 10 percent of research output in the US, aimed to secure a deal to pay a one-time fee that covered both journal subscriptions and the processing fees to make UC researchers’ articles open access for all readers. 

See “University of California and Elsevier Locked in Negotiations

The break with Elsevier is part of UC’s push for free access to publicly funded research. “I fully support...

Last year, groups of research labs and universities in Sweden and Germany canceled their subscriptions with Elsevier over open access. This stand by UC makes it one of the first and largest US institutions to do so. 

See “North American Universities Increasingly Cancel Publisher Packages

“It’s hard to overstate how big [UC’s move] is for us here in the US,” Heather Joseph tells Science. Joseph is executive director of the DC-based Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, which advocates for open access. “This gives institutions that are on the fence about taking this kind of action a blueprint,” she says.

Although they lose access to articles published after the contract expired, UC scholars can still retrieve much of Elsevier’s previously published content because of contract terms for “post-termination access,” according to Nature. And libraries in the UC system may provide other means of access to newly published Elsevier articles as they would for other content not covered by a subscription, Science reports.

See “Sweden Cancels Agreement With Elsevier Over Open Access

Interested in reading more?

The Scientist ARCHIVES

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?