Note: this is a copy of the “UC and Elsevier” page on this site as it appeared March 6, 2019, maintained as an archive. March 2021 and October 2019 versions are also available.

For current information about UC and Elsevier, see the actively maintained page.

UC terminates subscriptions with Elsevier in push for open access to publicly funded research

As a leader in the global movement toward open access to publicly funded research, the University of California is taking a firm stand by deciding not to renew its subscriptions with Elsevier. Despite months of contract negotiations, Elsevier was unwilling to meet UC’s key goal: securing universal open access to UC research while containing the rapidly escalating costs associated with for-profit journals. The Academic Senate issued a statement endorsing UC’s position. Learn more.

The University of California is re-negotiating its systemwide licenses with some of the world’s largest scholarly journal publishers, including Elsevier, to provide additional open access options for UC authors.

In these negotiations, UC is seeking a single, integrated contract with each publisher that covers both the university’s subscriptions and open access publishing of UC research in their journals — what are often known as “publish and read” agreements.

Top 3 Things to Know About
Accessing Elsevier Articles 

What UC Faculty are Saying

“We all agree that open access is a good thing. It increases the visibility of our research, and it’s something the taxpayers deserve.”
— Karen Bales, psychology professor at UC Davis and chair of the campus Academic Senate research committee, as quoted in the Los Angeles Times

“We are interested in using text-mining to learn from the scientific literature. OA articles can be more readily obtained, analyzed, and curated. Those which are part of traditional subscriptions cannot be readily studied in this way.”
— Steven Brenner, a professor of plant & microbial biology at UC Berkeley, as quoted in The Daily Californian

“Every time a sensible person gets a simple explanation of the current system, the reaction is disbelief — that smart people have been doing this stupid thing for so long, and it’s been so, so expensive.”
— Don Moore, professor at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, as quoted by the UC Berkeley Library

“At first they weren’t exploitatively priced. But the publishers noticed the demand was inelastic and they could get away with selling these things for much higher prices.”
— Ted Bergstrom, a professor of economics at UC Santa Barbara, as quoted in the Los Angeles Times

“Obviously we would prefer no disruption, but we have a network of colleagues and systems in place from which we can request articles. It’ll be an inconvenience, sure. But I think we understand the importance of what they’re trying to achieve.”
— Stephen Floor, assistant professor, department of cell and tissue biology, UC San Francisco, as quoted in Inside Higher Ed

Learn More

Editorial: UC open access fight exposes publishing rip-off
(The Mercury News, March 6, 2019)

The Real Cost of Knowledge
(The Atlantic, March 4, 2019)

UC terminates its subscriptions to 2,500 journals in a battle over copyrights and access
(Los Angeles Times, March 1, 2019)

The costs of academic publishing are absurd. The University of California is fighting back.
(Vox, March 1, 2019)

UC Battles With Publishing Giant Over Free Public Access to Research
(KQED, January 9, 2019)

Opinion: UC is leading fight for open access to research
(The Mercury News, December 30, 2018)

Heavyweight Showdown Over Research Access
(Inside Higher Ed, December 12, 2018)

In UC’s battle with the world’s largest scientific publisher, the future of information is at stake
(Los Angeles Times, December 7, 2018)

On Publishing and the Sneetches: A Wake-up Call?*
(American Society for Cell Biology, November 7, 2016)

Media Inquiries

UC welcomes media inquiries about the Elsevier negotiations. Please contact:

Jessica Nusbaum
Director of Communications and Marketing
UC Davis Library
(530) 752-4145


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