Pressing ‘pause’ on Elsevier subscription | News | dailyemerald.com

“On Nov. 17, 2022, University of Oregon Executive Vice President Janet Woodruff-Borden said UO will pause its subscription journal package with Elsevier Publishing Company at the end of 2022 in an email announcement….

UO partnered with Oregon State University and Portland State University, who also subscribe to Elsevier’s journal package, to negotiate prices with Elsevier. All three universities ended their subscriptions after failing to reach an agreement….

The three universities were looking to cut the cost of each of their subscription packages by 50%, which Elsevier was aware of going into negotiations, Bowman said….

 

Part of the disagreement between Elsevier and universities was that Elsevier was charging the same price, even though many of its articles were open access, Dave Fowler, a collection management librarian at UO, said. In other words, anyone could have access to certain Elsevier published content without paying a subscription to Elsevier….

Because of the contract lapse, students and faculty may experience delays in having access to requested Elsevier articles, Salaz said. “In the long term however, we are confident that students, researchers and scholars everywhere will benefit from a system that doesn’t exploit academic labor for excessive profit,” she said….”

Negotiations with Elsevier stall, contract to expire Dec. 31 | Around the O

“The University of Oregon’s contract with academic publisher Elsevier will be allowed to expire as the two sides have so far failed to reach an agreement on a new deal and negotiations have stalled.

The current contract with Elsevier expires Dec. 31. After that, the UO will no longer have access to new 2023 Elsevier-published subscription content.

The university will retain access to the content of 189 of the most used and subscribed journals that were published up to Dec. 31. The UO also will retain access to 609 journal back files with pre-1994 content that were purchased several years ago….”

Elsevier negotiations suspended – library plans and alternative ways to access articles « The Erlenmeyer Flask

“You have probably just read the Provost’s announcement that we are suspending our negotiations with Elsevier for the remainder of this year.  We did not make this decision lightly. Our Elsevier contract represents more than one-fifth of our entire collections budget at OSU, and we know that this decision will be disruptive. We do think that this action is an important step towards the sustainable future we described, and the Faculty Senate affirmed, in our Principles Guiding Negotiations with Journal Vendors. 

We are taking steps to ensure that everyone in our OSU community can continue to get the resources they need to do their work from the library. I’m going to outline some of these steps here, and I encourage you to consult this resource guide for more information.  There you will find important background, information on using alternative services to access articles, and a FAQ about the Elsevier negotiations. Check back often, this resource guide will be regularly updated….”

Elsevier negotiation update 11/2/2022 — UW Libraries

“At $2.6M per year and an annual 2.5% increase, the Elsevier journal package is the most expensive annual expenditure for the University of Washington (UW) Libraries. For context, the total UW Libraries collections budget for the Seattle campus is approximately $16 million, and we spend about $13 million on ongoing subscriptions. Immediate access to 2,500 Elsevier journal titles published in the current year represent about 15% of the Libraries annual collections budget. Moreover, these high ongoing costs undermine the primary mission of the University of Washington — the preservation, advancement and dissemination of knowledge.

The Elsevier journal package reinforces the scholarly publishing model based on paywalls and rationing of access, inequitable opportunities for publishing, and excessive pricing and annual price increases that undermines a scholarly ecosystem where the open sharing of knowledge is critical to accelerating change for the public good. In spring 2022, the UW Faculty Senate voted to approve a Class C Resolution expressing its support for UW Libraries’ Principles in Licensing Scholarly Resources focused on the tenets of sustainability, access and equity, and support for scholarship and teaching. These principles guide negotiation priorities and empower the UW Libraries to discontinue negotiations that conflict with these principles. More importantly, the principles clearly articulate our intentions:

“We are shifting spending away from purchasing content from proprietary, closed, for-profit scholarly information providers and increasing investments to create and support community-owned infrastructure and shared digital resources.”

The negotiating team, comprised of UW faculty and librarians, began meeting with Elsevier during summer 2022, and communicated the UW Libraries fiscal realities (see Subscription Review 2020-21) and UW faculty contributions as authors of Elsevier articles (see FCUL 10/12 slide 7). The response and proposals received during our negotiations convey a commercial, proprietary, profit-seeking, and unsustainable relationship by Elsevier at the expense of UW.

As a result, the Libraries will be unable to maintain immediate access for all titles in  our current list of 2,500 Elsevier journal titles on ScienceDirect. There is no choice but to begin identifying which journals need to be available for immediate access to meet patient care needs as well as long term use for research, teaching, and learning. The Libraries will continue to provide faculty, students and staff access to published articles through alternative access options such as PubMed Central, Google Scholar, and interlibrary loan — most requested articles are delivered within a few hours or business days….”

[Letter to Oregon State U colleagues on cancellation of Elsevier]

“OSU’s librarians, together with colleagues from the University of Oregon and Portland State University, have been working for several months to negotiate their respective contracts with Elsevier, one of the world’s most profitable scholarly information providers. I’m writing to provide an update on the status of those negotiations.

Upon the recommendation of the negotiations team, OSU is suspending negotiations for the remainder of this year. This means that as of January 1, 2023, OSU will no longer have immediate subscription access to Elsevier journals. We will take this action for the reasons outlined below. My provost and executive vice president colleagues at UO and PSU have each indicated they are taking similar action and will no longer have immediate subscription access to Elsevier journals at the new year for similar reasons….”

Full article: Unsub in Real Life: Using Unsub as Part of Serials Decisions and Negotiations

Abstract:  This presentation introduced attendees to the benefits and limitations of Unsub, a data analysis tool designed by OurResearch. In this presentation, OurResearch co-founder, Heather Piwowar, demonstrated the use of Unsub for analyzing usage and cost data on a library’s “Big Deal.” The other two presenters, Jessica Harris of the University of Chicago, and Eric Schares of Iowa State University, discussed how they used the tool at their libraries to make collection development decisions for their libraries’ journal subscriptions.

Inequities of Article Processing Charges: How the Oligopoly of Academic Publishers Profits from Open Access | Zenodo

“Since the early 2010s, more than half of peer-reviewed journal articles have been published by the so-called oligopoly of academic publishers: Elsevier, SAGE, Springer-Nature, Taylor & Francis and Wiley. These companies make immense profits from publishing scholarly journals, traditionally through subscriptions from academic libraries, the reader pays model. With more and more libraries cancelling so-called ‘Big Deals’, these publishers have expanded their revenues by making authors pay article processing charges (APCs) for open access (OA) publishing. The author-pays model creates inequities and barriers that exclude many from publishing, such as underrepresented groups or researchers from less-resourced countries. This presentation demonstrates the growth of gold and hybrid OA articles published in oligopoly journals indexed in the Web of Science and provides evidence of the amount of APCs paid in Canada and globally. It highlights the inequities of the author-pays model and discusses alternative routes to OA.”

Boycott heralds Chinese publishing shake-up | May 3, 2022 | Times Higher Education (THE)

“China’s top research organisation has suspended its use of the country’s largest academic database, causing some scholars to question whether its stranglehold on the sector might be loosened. Several research institutes under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have pulled out of its subscription to the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) due to mounting subscription fees, local news outlet Caixin reported. According to reports, CAS made the decision over mounting costs. In 2021, CAS paid ¥10 million (£1.2 million) to access the database, with a similar amount expected for 2022. Academics said the reasoning behind the move – long-simmering frustrations over fees – was understandable enough. But they wondered what its knock-on effects could be in a market largely controlled by a single, powerful player. Roughly 90 per cent of China’s journal articles are listed on CNKI, according to estimates.  Futao Huang, a professor at the Research Institute for Higher Education at Hiroshima University, suggested that CNKI’s monopoly was under threat. While he said it was “extremely difficult” to predict what could happen, a reduced role for CNKI “might open up the market to new players”, including open access platforms, which allow readers to access papers for free….

Fei Shu, a senior researcher in the Chinese Academy of Science and Education Evaluation at Hangzhou Dianzi University, argued that “oligopoly” was a more fitting term for the country’s research database market, but he was also sceptical that a move away from its biggest player would result in a proliferation of openly accessible journal articles. “In my perspective, some other research institutions will follow the CAS and stop [their] subscription if they cannot get a deal with CNKI,” similar to when Western sectors boycotted Elsevier in the past, he said. “However, it has little to do with open access. In China, due to [its] censorship, OA is not favoured and promoted by the government. I don’t believe that this situation will change in a short term.””

https://web.archive.org/web/20220504111208/https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/academys-database-boycott-may-herald-chinese-publishing-shake

Full article: The Buyback Dilemma: How We Developed a Principle-Based, Data-Driven Approach to Unbundling Big Deals

Abstract:  [University of Saskatchewan] is a publicly funded, medium-sized research intensive medical doctoral university in Canada. Like other academic libraries, we have been coping with the rising costs of Big Deal journal packages in the context of shrinking budgets and variable currency fluctuation between the Canadian and American Dollar. When faced with a need to cancel two Big Deal packages in order to balance our budget, we undertook a data-driven, principles-based approach. We discuss the context at [University of Saskatchewan], and the principles and steps we used to successfully determine which packages to cancel, and how to determine titles for re-subscription within a limited budget. We discuss how we compiled and used data that addresses scholarly (citation), pedagogical (downloads), and reputational (survey responses) concerns, and share the formula we developed. We also share some lessons learned and recommendations and ideas for future Big Deal assessment.

 

Recommendations for Providing Alternative Access After a Big Deal Cancellation – SPARC

“As Big Deals start to disappear, the desire that motivated them—easy and instant access to massive amounts of content—doesn’t. In response to cutting subscription access, many institutions put in place ‘alternative access’ strategies to provide pathways to accessing content that was previously available via subscription.

In this resource, we’ll explore some of the major parts of alternative access as part of SPARC’s efforts to help our member libraries save money and secure better deals in negotiations with publishers….”

Changes in Access to ClinicalKey | Dana Medical Library

“The University Libraries are disappointed to announce that ClinicalKey, a large collection of biomedical books and journals, will no longer be available to the UVM community, starting on Friday, October 22nd. Unfortunately, negotiations with Elsevier, the publisher behind these resources, came to an unfruitful conclusion. Our budget cannot bear the quadrupled price increase Elsevier proposed…”

How might we reduce our dependency on legacy publishers such as Elsevier? | Unlocking Research: Open Research at Cambridge

To coincide with our first townhall event on the Elsevier negotiations, Professor Stephen Eglen offers his perspective on the University’s future relationship with the publishing industry. Prof. Eglen is Professor of Computational Neuroscience in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge.

I’m often asked why I single out Elsevier when discussing spurious publishing practices*. The simple reason is that they are the single largest publisher that most institutions deal with. Other legacy publishers adopt similar practices, outlined below, that I disagree with. However, given that Elsevier tends to take about 40% of our journal subscription costs, it is worth focusing on. Even finding out these costs required an extensive set of FOI requests over several years, revealing a large disparity in costs between UK Universities. However, I do not blame Elsevier for the current situation – they are a successful business with shareholders to satisfy. Their consistent high operating margins (~ 30%) indicate that they are very capable. However, this comes at a price, e.g. their current median gender pay gap in 2020/21 was 36%, compared to 11.1% at the University of Cambridge, and 7.3% at Springer Nature.

[…]

How might we reduce our dependency on legacy publishers such as Elsevier? | Unlocking Research: Open Research at Cambridge

To coincide with our first townhall event on the Elsevier negotiations, Professor Stephen Eglen offers his perspective on the University’s future relationship with the publishing industry. Prof. Eglen is Professor of Computational Neuroscience in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge.

I’m often asked why I single out Elsevier when discussing spurious publishing practices*. The simple reason is that they are the single largest publisher that most institutions deal with. Other legacy publishers adopt similar practices, outlined below, that I disagree with. However, given that Elsevier tends to take about 40% of our journal subscription costs, it is worth focusing on. Even finding out these costs required an extensive set of FOI requests over several years, revealing a large disparity in costs between UK Universities. However, I do not blame Elsevier for the current situation – they are a successful business with shareholders to satisfy. Their consistent high operating margins (~ 30%) indicate that they are very capable. However, this comes at a price, e.g. their current median gender pay gap in 2020/21 was 36%, compared to 11.1% at the University of Cambridge, and 7.3% at Springer Nature.

[…]

Michael Williams on the Elsevier negotiations: What’s our ‘Plan B’? | Unlocking Research

“As negotiations continue between Elsevier and the UK university sector, institutions need to position themselves to ensure that we have a realistic alternative access solution if the decision is to not sign an agreement. But what would happen in the event of a non-renewal scenario? This post explores how we at Cambridge University Libraries are preparing for Plan B and the alternative access solutions we will be providing….

At Cambridge we are doing our best to engage our research communities with the Elsevier negotiation so that any decisions around the deal and potential implementation of Plan B will only take place following communication and engagement with research-active members of the University. If we need to implement a Plan B, it should not come as a surprise; it will be planned and communicated in advance….”