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Elsevier negotiations

Plan B: access to articles if "no deal"

We are actively working with other education institutions towards successful negotiations with Elsevier. However, we have to prepare for the scenario where a deal is not agreed, negotiations breakdown, and we no longer have access to Elsevier journals.

In the event that no acceptable deal can be negotiated, we will not lose access to all Elsevier content. Through a combination of post-cancellation access (PCA) rights, inter-library loans, and open access articles, you will have access to over 85% of Elsevier’s content.

There will be four routes to Elsevier content:

From the Library

We will still have access to Elsevier content that we have already paid for, through our post-cancellation access rights. In the immediate aftermath of a no-deal this is likely to supply the majority of articles found through search tools and literature searching.

Document Supply

You can request articles via the Document Supply Service, and we will obtain the article from another library.

We are implementing a new system for document supply, called RapidILL, which will make inter-library loans easier to access with quicker turn-around times. We are working with colleagues in other UK libraries and library networks to co-ordinate how we supply Elsevier content in the event that access to journals is restricted.

The Document Supply Service is available to:

  • current staff and students of the University
  • retired staff still working for the University
  • NHS staff employed by Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust who are registered with the Library.

Open Access route helped by browser plug-ins

Articles that authors have made open access could be available from a number of different sources. Tools such as Library Search and browser plugins can help you find open access versions of articles whilst you search online.

Library Search

Library Search makes open access content available in the search results via direct links to the open access version. It includes content from major publishers and portals such as the Directory of Open Access Journals.


We subscribe to the LibKey Nomad browser plugin, which also integrates with Library Search. LibKey provides one-click access to open access PDFs and includes UnPaywall data to deliver OA versions, which is one of the largest databases of open access content available. 

Open Access Button

The Open Access Button browser plugin and website provides free access to research articles that are openly available, searching thousands of resources. If it cannot find an open version it helps you to request a copy from the author.

From your network

A direct request to an author for a preprint or author-accepted manuscript version of their article can reap results.

Social networks

Some authors are open to receiving requests for articles via social networking sites where researchers share their work, such as Academia, ResearchGate, Mendeley, or Humanities Commons.

You could also use Twitter to make a request using #icanhazpdf with a link to the publication you need.

Ask the author

The author’s name and institution (if available) are usually shown on the preview page of the article, contact them via email to ask for a PDF of a preprint.

Open access repositories

Open access repositories like White Rose Research Online often have a “request a copy” button.