In Defence of Elsevier

I beg the OA community to remain reasonable and realistic.

Please don’t demand that Elsevier agree to immediate CC-BY. If Elsevier did that, I could immediately start up a rival free-riding publishing operation and sell all Elsevier articles immediately at cut rate, for any purpose at all that I could get people to pay for. Elsevier could no longer make a penny from selling the content it invested in.

CC-BY-NC-ND is enough for now. It allows immediate harvesting for data-mining.

The OA movement must stop shooting itself in the foot by over-reaching, insisting on having it all, immediately, thus instead ending up with next to nothing, as in the past.

As I pointed out in a previous posting, the fact that Elsevier requires all authors to adopt the CC-BY-NC-ND license is a positive step. Please don’t force them to back-pedal!

Please read the terms, and reflect.


Accepted Manuscript 

Authors can share their accepted manuscript:


◦ via their non-commercial personal homepage or blog.
◦ by updating a preprint in arXiv or RePEc with the accepted manuscript. 
◦ via their research institute or institutional repository for internal institutional uses or as part of an invitation-only research collaboration work-group.
◦ directly by providing copies to their students or to research collaborators for their personal use.
◦ for private scholarly sharing as part of an invitation-only work group on commercial sites with which Elsevier has an agreement.

After the embargo period 

◦ via non-commercial hosting platforms such as their institutional repository.
◦ via commercial sites with which Elsevier has an agreement.

In all cases accepted manuscripts should:

◦ Link to the formal publication via its DOI.
◦ Bear a CC-BY-NC-ND license ? this is easy to do, click here to find out how. 
◦ If aggregated with other manuscripts, for example in a repository or other site, be shared in alignment with our hosting policy.
◦ Not be added to or enhanced in any way to appear more like, or to substitute for, the published journal article.

How to attach a user license

Elsevier requires authors posting their accepted manuscript to attach a non-commercial Creative Commons user license (CC-BY-NC-ND).  This is easy to do. On your accepted manuscript add the following to the title page, copyright information page, or header /footer: © YEAR, NAME. Licensed under the Creative Commons [insert license details and URL].

For example: © 2015, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International 

You can also include the license badges available from the Creative Commons website to provide visual recognition. If you are hosting your manuscript as a webpage you will also find the correct HTML code to add to your page

On Wed, May 27, 2015 at 12:37 PM, Kathleen Shearer wrote in GOAL:

In its recently released ?Sharing and Hosting Policy FAQ?, Elsevier ?recognize(s) that authors want to share and promote their work and increasingly need to comply with their funding body and institution’s open access policies.? However there are several aspects of their new policy that severely limit sharing and open access, in particular the lengthy embargo periods imposed in most journals- with about 90% of Elsevier journals having embargo periods of 12 months or greater. This is a significant rollback from the original 2004 Elsevier policy which required no embargos for making author?s accepted manuscripts available; and even with the 2012 policy change requiring embargoes only when authors were subject to an OA mandate.

With article processing charges (APCs) that can cost as much as $5000 US dollars for publishing in one of Elsevier?s gold open access titles or hybrid journals, this is not a viable option for many researchers around the world. Furthermore, the rationale for lengthy embargo periods is to protect Elsevier?s subscription revenue. We do not believe that scientific, economic and social progress should be hindered in order to protect commercial interests. In addition, there is currently no evidence that articles made available through OA repositories will lead to cancellations. 

Elsevier?s new policy also requires that accepted manuscripts posted in open access repositories bear a CC-BY-NC-ND license. This type of license severely limits the re-use potential of publicly funded research. ND restricts the use of derivatives, yet derivative use is fundamental to the way in which scholarly research builds on previous findings, for example by re-using a part of an article (with attribution) in educational material. Similarly, this license restricts commercial re-use greatly inhibiting the potential impact of the results of research.

Elsevier?s Director of Access & Policy, Alicia Wise states that they ?have received neutral-to-positive responses from research institutions and the wider research community.? Yet, since the ?Statement against Elsevier?s sharing policy? was published just one week ago (on Wednesday May 20, 2015), it has been signed by close to 700 organizations and individuals, demonstrating that there is significant opposition to the policy.

Elsevier has indicated that they ?are always happy to have a dialogue to discuss these, or any other, issues further.?  We would like to offer the following concrete recommendations to Elsevier to improve their policy:

1 Elsevier should allow all authors to make their ?author?s accepted manuscript? openly available immediately upon acceptance through an OA repository or other open access platform.
2 Elsevier should allow authors to choose the type of open license (from CC-BY to other more restrictive licenses like the CC-BY-NC-ND) they want to attach to the content that they are depositing into an open access platform.
3 Elsevier should not attempt to dictate author?s practices around individual sharing of articles. Individual sharing of journal articles is already a scholarly norm and is protected by fair use and other copyright exceptions. Elsevier cannot, and should not, dictate practices around individual sharing of articles.

We strongly encourage Elsevier to revise their policy in order to better align with the interests of the research community. We would also be pleased to meet to discuss these recommendations with Elsevier at any time.

Kathleen Shearer, Executive Director, COAR
Heather Joseph, Executive Director, SPARC