This is a copy of the “UC and Elsevier: Why it Matters” page on this site as it appeared in June 2020, maintained as an archive. For current information about UC and Elsevier, see the actively maintained page.

Following UC’s break with Elsevier, messages of support from around the world pour in

On Thursday, Feb. 28, the University of California announced its separation with Elsevier, one of the world’s largest — and most profitable — publishers of academic research. In the days since, messages of support and congratulations have come pouring in from around the world. Here is a sample of the responses, by turns fiery, joyous, and heartwarming.

Statements of Support

Immediate community reactions

“With much admiration to UC for taking this brave stance. I hope and trust that other major and perhaps better-heeled research libraries — looking at you, Harvard and Yale — will follow in your footsteps. I cannot tell you how much this news lifted my spirits today. Bravo, and thank you!”

— David C. Murray, the humanities librarian at the College of New Jersey

“I’m so glad that your team has drawn these lines in the sand with Elsevier and stuck to them. Having been involved in 2001 in a process in which an editorial board resigned en masse from a Kluwer journal and set up its own journal (JMLR), a journal which quickly and sustainably became a top-tier journal in computer science, I am dismayed that it is now twenty years later and we are still beholden to the Elseviers. Maybe this act of yours is the beginning of the end.”

— Michael I. Jordan, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science and statistics at UC Berkeley

“This is such an exciting moment for open access. The UC system’s refusal to pay the exorbitant fees for an Elsevier subscription represents a pivotal point to change the culture of academic publishing — one that individual academics cannot accomplish alone. With this decision, the UCs now join the ranks of Germany and Sweden to stand against Elsevier in pursuit of greater openness of our science and academic work.”

— Stacy Shaw, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology at UCLA

“This is a bold move that University of California took. But a necessary one! With sufficient global alignment through initiatives like OA2020 and Plan S, we are moving towards the tipping point and (will) be able to transform scholar publishing for the better.”

— Marc Schiltz, the president of Science Europe

“I hope that you will be able to convey my gratitude to President Napolitano and the UC faculty leadership and negotiating teams related to the Elsevier contract and open access publishing.

The important, and I would say courageous, actions taken by the UC will have a ripple effect across the planet and improve research and communication of research findings for the rest of time.”

— Joseph E. Kerschner, dean of the School of Medicine at Medical College of Wisconsin

“I was so proud to see UC taking a bold and courageous stand to disrupt the academic publishing world. There are risks involved (as you undoubtedly appreciate), but someone had to take this on.”

— Peter Menell, a professor in the UC Berkeley School of Law and co-director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology

“As a long-time supporter of open science, I am thrilled to see the University of California standing up to Elsevier.”

— Mark Warschauer, a professor of education at UC Irvine

“I just wanted to tell you again how proud I am that the UC stood up to Elsevier, those money-grubbing parasites. I’ve long been thrilled about being at UCI because of the difference we make in students’ lives. … Now I have a new reason to brag about the UC. By standing up to Elsevier, we are doing something real to change this terrible system of profit-driven academic publishing for the better. … I am so glad — just bursting with happiness and pride — that we are using our collective weight and influence to disrupt this insane system where universities subsidize giant, massively profitable corporations.

Thank you, thank you, congratulations and bravo!”

— Barbara W. Sarnecka, a professor of cognitive sciences at UC Irvine

“The united front, from the president’s office to line faculty and librarians, is what makes this outcome so impressive. One can only imagine the blood, sweat, and tears all of you have devoted to these negotiations over the past months. … When UC joint governance works this well, it is truly something to be celebrated! I’m proud to be part of this community.”

— Christine Borgman, a professor of information studies at UCLA


Faculty perspective: Video interview with UC Berkeley Professor Randy Schekman

Faculty perspective: News interview with UC Davis Professor Dennis J. Ventry, Jr.



A ‘transformative agreement’: Social media reacts to UC cutting Elsevier subscription

Page content last updated June 25, 2020


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