October 7, 2020

UC Poll on Impact of Loss of Access to Current Elsevier Articles Via ScienceDirect

In February and March 2020, UC’s Council of University Librarians (CoUL) launched a brief sentiment poll to gauge the impact of loss of immediate access to current Elsevier content via ScienceDirect on the UC community.

The poll was developed and sponsored by the UC Academic Senate Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication (UCOLASC) and the UC Libraries. This summary was prepared by CoUL and UCOLASC.

The poll was open for five weeks earlier this year and was completed by over 7,300 UC affiliates (37% faculty, 31% graduate students, 9% undergraduate, 8% postdoc, 5% staff, 5% researcher, 5% other). As its purpose was to support the libraries in improving services for and communication with the UC community, the poll was distributed broadly but informally, without population sampling or IRB review. Because it was not a scientific survey, we are unable to share the raw data.

Impact on Research, Teaching, Learning: Regarding the impact of the loss of immediate access to current Elsevier journals on respondents’ research, teaching, or learning: 33% reported significant impact, 44% some impact, and 21% no impact. Unsurprisingly, given Elsevier’s journal portfolio, the proportion reporting significant impact was greater from health sciences-affiliated respondents: 52% significant impact, 40% some impact, 6% no impact.

Access to Articles: Respondents reported they are taking multiple approaches to get the articles they need, including asking a colleague at another institution (37%), finding them online (27%), using interlibrary loan (14%), and asking the author (11%). More than 1 in 4 (27%) report not pursuing any method to get the article.

Support for UC’s Position: Thirty-nine percent of respondents agreed with the statement “I strongly support UC’s goals of cost containment and enabling open access to UC research.” Strong support was less common among health sciences-affiliated respondents (18%). Another 25% (26% of respondents in the health sciences) agreed with the statement, “Despite the inconvenience, I understand what UC is working to accomplish and am managing my work around it.” Only 14% of respondents (24% of respondents in the health sciences) selected, “This is very frustrating. I need fast access to Elsevier articles for my work and UC should do whatever it takes to finalize an agreement as quickly as possible.”

Impact on Relationship with Elsevier: Most reported the situation has no impact on their relationship with Elsevier (68%), but 15% reported it is affecting their decision to publish in Elsevier journals, and 13% their reviewing of Elsevier articles.

Elsevier impact poll summary PDF for download 

July 27, 2020

Restarting Formal Negotiations with Elsevier

Following a series of informal meetings with Elsevier this spring and summer that suggest there may be new potential for progress, UC’s publisher negotiations team is restarting formal negotiations with Elsevier. UC remains committed to its goal of reaching an agreement that provides for open access publishing of UC-authored articles and restores UC’s access to Elsevier journal content, at a reasonable cost. The negotiations will commence by the end of the summer.

July 10, 2019

Elsevier Access Suspended

As of July 10, UC's direct access to new Elsevier articles has been discontinued. At this time UC no longer has direct access to 2019 articles in Elsevier journals or to the backfiles of some lesser-used journals (download the list). Everything else is still accessible via ScienceDirect.

June 26, 2019

Imminent Change to Elsevier Access

As you may know, the University of California has been out of contract with Elsevier since January. Unfortunately, in late February the negotiations stalled. In the months since, Elsevier continued to provide access to new articles via ScienceDirect. Although they have not yet provided us with official notification, we now have reason to believe that Elsevier will shut off direct access soon after the July 4 holiday. When we are notified of the precise shut off date we will publish a notice on the Office of Scholarly Communication website. At that time UC will no longer have direct access to 2019 articles in Elsevier journals or to the backfiles of some lesser-used journals (download the list). Everything else will still be accessible via ScienceDirect.

March 20, 2019

Why UC Cut Ties with Elsevier

The University of California has taken a firm stand on both open access to publicly funded research and fiscal responsibility by deciding not to renew its subscriptions with Elsevier, the world’s largest scientific publisher. 

February 28, 2019

Outcome of Negotiations with Elsevier

Elsevier was ultimately unwilling to meet UC’s key goalssecuring universal open access to UC research and integrating open access article processing charges (APCs) and subscription fees into a single cost-controlled contract. As a result, UC will not be signing a new contract with Elsevier at this time. Also see the UC Office of the President press release.

February 1, 2019

UC and Elsevier Negotiations Continue

As of February 1, the University of California does not have an agreement with Elsevier. The UC and Elsevier have agreed to continue good-faith discussions for the time being. For now, access is expected to continue. Should we learn of any changes to access at UC, we will notify our community. Alternative access methods to find Elsevier articles are available

SLASIAC Letter to Provost Brown, Dated 12-18-18

The Systemwide Library and Scholalry Information Advisory Committee (SLASIAC) is appointed by and reports to the Provost and Senior Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs. The Committee was established to advise the University on systemwide library policies and strategic priorities; on systemwide long term planning for the UC libraries, including the ten campus libraries and the California Digital Library (CDL); and on strategies to enhance and facilitate the transmission of scholarly and scientific communication in a digital environment.  The letter expresses SLASIAC's unanimous support for the UC Libraries' negotiation with Elsevier to improve open access (OA) and to reduce costs to levels which the University can sustain.

December 21, 2018

UC/Elsevier Negotiations Continue; Full Access to Articles During January

The University of California and Elsevier are continuing discussions in January in a good-faith effort to conclude negotiations by January 31.  As part of both parties' good-faith efforts, in January UC and Elsevier have agreed that access will be extended to the University of California during this time, to allow one more month to conclude discussions.

December 20, 2018

Alternative Access to Articles

The UC Libraries are in negotiations with Elsevier, but the current contract expires 12/31/18.  While negotations are ongoing, Elsevier may cut off access to articles published from 2019 forward, as well as a limited amount of historical content. Learn what your options are if access to this content is no longer available directly on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform. 

December 19, 2018

Update on UC's Negotiations with Elsevier 

A UCSB Library homepage News item.

December 18, 2018

UC and Elsevier 

This UC Office of Scholarly Communication post presents:

  • The top three things to know about accessing Elsevier articles
  • The status of negotiations with Elsevier
  • What faculty are saying
  • Links to recent media coverage of the negotiations

At UCSB Universtity Librarian, Kristin Antelman, is the contact for any questions or concerns.  Please don't hesitate to contact her at kantelman@ucsb.edu or (805) 893-3256.


The UC Office of Scholarly Communication recently posted FAQs on current negotiations of the UC Libraries with large scholarly journal publishers, including Elsevier.  Because UC's contract with Elsevier ends on December 31, 2018, the negotiations may have an impact on how students and faculty acquire Elsevier journal articles published from 2019 forward. The FAQs provide information on UC's overall goals for the negotiations with Elsevier and other publishers, as well as details related to open access, costs, and impacts on authors.  They will be updated regularly as the negotiations proceed. 

As outlined in Championing Change in Journal Negotiations, the UC Libraries, in partnership with the UC Systemwide Library and Scholarly Information Advisory Committee and the Academic Senate's Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication, have established principles for addressing journal affordability and facilitating the large scale transition to open access in order to ensure the widest possible access to the scholarly record. The Council of Vice Chancellors also recognize the urgent need to reduce licensed content costs to levels that the University can sustain, and the desire to make research outputs openly accessible. They commend faculty and librarians for the principles they have established and are applying with current and future negotiations with publishers.

In these negotiations, the 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. UC’s integrated proposal would cover both reading (subscription) charges and open access publishing fees, making open access the default for any article with a UC corresponding author. The aim is to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery by ensuring that research produced by the UC’s 10 public universities will be available, free of charge and immediately upon publication, to readers and researchers around the world. 

Critical background information from university stakeholders include:

To ensure receipt of the latest details, UCSB academics and graduate students can also join the Scholarly Communication and Publishing email list. To join, email sherri.barnes@ucsb.edu. Developments and official updates will continue to be posted on the UC Office of Scholarly Communication website, and this space.

If you have any questions or comments, or would like a presentation on UC's Elsevier negotiations please contact:

Kristin Antelman, University Librarian


(805) 893-3256