Elsevier Negotiation at Oxford

“UK universities have a five year ‘big deal’ with Elsevier which runs to the end of December 2021. This deal gives Oxford staff and students access to more than 1,800 journals. Throughout this year, we are working in partnership with Jisc and with other UK universities to reach an agreement for the next five-year ScienceDirect (Elsevier) deal, commencing in January 2022.

This is an important negotiation since it seeks to combine subscription costs and open access publishing costs in line with Plan S funder requirements and the Jisc requirements for transitional open access agreements. UK universities spend more than £50m annually with Elsevier, yet it is the last major publisher to strike a transformative deal which combines access and publishing spend whilst constraining costs.

The Bodleian Libraries are working with the Open Access Steering Group and Research and Innovation Committee. It is important that decisions are made based on evidence, and data about usage and publishing levels in Elsevier journals will help to inform our approach. Additionally, we will take a consultative approach in partnership with academic divisions. This page will be regularly updated as negotiations proceed throughout this year, including details of any information events that are planned.”

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.

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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….”

Principles and Standards for OA Arrangements Between Libraries/Consortia and Smaller Independent Publishers

“The transition to Open Access requires change on the part of all stakeholders, and it is particularly crucial that there is active cross-stakeholder alignment focused on enabling smaller independent publishers to transition successfully. In recognition of this, cOAlition S and ALPSP have asked us to convene groups to work on shared principles, data, licenses, and workflows as outlined in our recent report (see https://www.coalition-s.org/open-access-agreements-with-smaller-publishers-require-active-cross-stakeholder-alignment-report-says/).

We are seeking expressions of interest in engaging with this work. Ideally, we would like a diverse array of people knowledgeable about the topic, who can represent their communities and influence working practices, and backed by organisations willing to communicate, champion, implement and maintain the outputs that will emerge from this work….”

Dr. Jessica Gardner on the ongoing negotiation between Cambridge and Elsevier | Unlocking Research

This post by Dr Jessica Gardner, Cambridge University Librarian, introduces the context for the ongoing negotiation between Cambridge University and the publisher Elsevier. It is the first in a series of posts on the negotiation from members of the Cambridge community.

UK Universities and Elsevier negotiations: July update

“UK Universities, which includes the University of Leicester, on behalf of their researchers, are currently negotiating for an open access (OA) agreement with Elsevier. The two core objectives are:

 

To reduce costs to levels they can sustain
To provide full and immediate open access to UK research. …

50% of all UK research output is now covered by a transitional agreement…”

ESAC Blog – ESAC Initiative

On June 30th, 2021, the OA2020 and ESAC communities came together in a joint Community of Practice Call under the topic “Transformative agreements: one objective, a variety of approaches”. The meeting kicked off with a presentation by Ignasi Labastida, Head of the Research Unit at the University of Barcelona’s Learning and Research Resources Centre (CRAI), […]

Thornton | Elsevier Title Level Pricing: Dissecting the Bowl of Spaghetti | Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication

Abstract:  INTRODUCTION This study will explore the issue of pricing opacity associated with prices paid by academic libraries that have recently unbundled from the Elsevier Big Deal journal package. Additionally, this study will provide metrics for assessing the fair market value (FMV) of unbundled journal packages. The pricing metrics will assist academic libraries in negotiations of subscription and open access agreements. METHODS Pricing information was gathered from five academic libraries. The data was analyzed to arrive at two key metrics (adjustment from list price and the average cost per journal) for establishing comparables, i.e., prices paid by similarly sized institutions, to assess the collective FMVs for unbundled Elsevier journal packages. RESULTS & DISCUSSION The study results show that significant variations existed in the way institutions were charged for content. Additionally, the comparables show wide variations among institutions when measured by the overall adjustment from list price and the average cost per journal. CONCLUSION The pricing metrics developed in this study, adjustment from list price (ALP) and average cost per journal (ACJ), will help libraries assess their final net prices for individual journal subscriptions. The results will be useful to administrators, collection development personnel, and negotiating teams in understanding the prices paid by other institutions for unbundled journal packages to determine FMVs.

 

Practical Idealism: UC’s Approach to Open Access

MacKenzie Smith, University Librarian and Vice Provost of Digital Scholarship at the University of California, Davis, provides the following commentary on UC’s recent transformative agreements with Elsevier and other publishers.

Negotiating Open Access Journal Agreements: An Academic Library Case Study | Hosoi | Pennsylvania Libraries: Research & Practice

Abstract:  The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an opportunity for academic libraries to advance open access (OA) to scholarly articles. Awareness among faculty on the importance of OA has increased significantly during the pandemic, as colleges and universities struggle financially and seek sustainable access to high-quality scholarly journals. Consortia have played an important role in establishing negotiation principles on OA journal agreements. While the number of OA agreements is increasing, case studies involving individual libraries are still limited. This paper reviews existing literature on publisher negotiation principles related to OA journal negotiations and reflects on recent cases at an academic library in Pennsylvania, in order to identify best practices in OA journal negotiations. It provides recommendations on roles, relationships, and processes, as well as essential terms of OA journal agreements. This study’s findings are most relevant to large academic libraries that are interested in negotiating with scholarly journal publishers independently or through consortia.

 

Negotiating Open Access Journal Agreements: An Academic Library Case Study

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an opportunity for academic libraries to advance open access (OA) to scholarly articles. Awareness among faculty on the importance of OA has increased significantly during the pandemic, as colleges and universities struggle financially and seek sustainable access to high-quality scholarly journals. Consortia have played an important role in establishing negotiation principles on OA journal agreements. While the number of OA agreements is increasing, case studies involving individual libraries are still limited. This paper reviews existing literature on publisher negotiation principles related to OA journal negotiations and reflects on recent cases at an academic library in Pennsylvania, in order to identify best practices in OA journal negotiations. It provides recommendations on roles, relationships, and processes, as well as essential terms of OA journal agreements. This study’s findings are most relevant to large academic libraries that are interested in negotiating with scholarly journal publishers independently or through consortia.

Enabling smaller independent publishers to participate in Open Access transformative arrangements: a commitment from key stakeholders – ESAC Initiative

The ongoing transition of scholarly publishing to full and immediate Open Access is a process that requires all stakeholders to adapt.

Alignment amongst research funding organizations, publishers and research performing organizations – with their research communities, their libraries and library consortia – is particularly needed to enable smaller independent publishers to transition to open access publishing models. These publishers are highly valued by the research community for their activities in promoting excellence in research, for the scholarly communication services they provide, and for the key role they play in ensuring a diverse, open scholarly publishing landscape.

Ouvrir la Science – The Committee for Open Science

“The mission of this committee is to propose the directions that Open Science should take and to teach the subjects on questions of Open Science, as well as to animate and accompany the actions associated with it, in a fluid structure that simplifies the expression of ideas, suggestions and contributions, and their transmission to the different working groups.

The Steering Committee for Open Science ensures the implementation of a policy supporting open publications and research data. The committee’s missions are:

To ensure the coordinated implementation with higher education and research of a national plan aimed at making all publications and research data openly available;
To enable the development of open science skills in the scientific community;
To coordinate national action in the field of open science on the European and international levels;
To define the principles and directions to be adopted concerning the assignment of financing from the national fund for open science and how it is used;
To define the principles and directions to be adopted for negotiations with the main scientific publishers;
To propose all actions likely to strengthen or promote the access to knowledge or research data to ministers of higher education and research and all public authorities….”