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Elsevier subscription review

Nick Plant urges open access outcome needed in Elsevier negotiations.

Negotiations between the publisher Elsevier and UK Universities have begun, led by a UUK/Jisc Negotiations Team on behalf of the sector. The Elsevier contract is due for renewal in December 2021.

In a recent article for Research Professional News, Nick Plant (Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation) makes the case for a more open research culture, and sees an opportunity to move closer to this with a more equitable and sustainable publishing model:

Ultimately, the most important thing to do with research is share it. We need cultural change for that to happen at its full potential, and publishing deals are a crucial part of that.

The cost of providing access to read Elsevier journals is high. The Library spends more with Elsevier to access journals than with any other publisher. Leeds authors contribute articles to and edit journals for Elsevier, but there is currently no open access agreement with the publisher. This means that to make research openly available, article-level fees must also be paid. These costs put increased pressure on institutional funds and are no longer sustainable.

Other publishers such as Springer Nature, Sage and Wiley are providing integrated contracts, which cover reading articles and publishing open access at a significantly lower cost per article.

The aim of the negotiations is to secure a “read and publish” agreement that supports immediate open access publishing whilst maintaining access to read paywalled content, for a sustainable fee. These “transitional” or “transformative” agreements are supported by Plan S funders with the goal of achieving full and immediate open access.

The pandemic has shown that a highly collaborative and open culture among researchers benefits the global community, and that research should be for the common good and made available in a sustainable way. Now it’s time to make that transformation system-wide.

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation

Negotiations progress

The University Librarian, Masud Khokhar, is a member of the Jisc Content Negotiation Strategy Group which sets the strategy for the negotiations with Elsevier. The Library is analysing the use of Elsevier journals and the publishing costs of open access payments to inform decision-making as negotiations progress.

The first round in the negotiations is happening now. The Library is working closely with the Research and Innovation Board. Plans for a broader University consultation are being developed, to be informed by the outcomes of the initial negotiations.

Keep in touch

In the meantime, we welcome feedback and expressions of interest from anyone wishing to be kept informed.

Please contribute through this form: Open access publishing

Overview of open access agreements

See how and why Jisc approach negotiating open access agreements on behalf of the UK research community: