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Sustainable Scholarship: Elsevier Negotiations Update

March 30, 2021

The UW Libraries applauds and extends congratulations to the University of California (UC) system. Since walking away from negotiations in 2019, UC faculty have been without immediate access to newly published Elsevier content. On March 16, 2021 the UC announced a new landmark open access deal with Elsevier. For the past two years, the UC have been leaders in exploration and investments into new and different models for providing access to scholarship.

While all research universities have an interest in ensuring that their faculty's research and scholarly work is available openly, not all have taken the same approach as the UC system. Some concerns with the UC model include that it potentially reinforces Elsevier’s dominance in scholarly publishing; shifts unsustainable costs to authors and libraries via Article Processing Charges (APCs); and heightens inequities to less wealthy countries and institutions. We share these concerns and seek opportunities to assess how new models may impact UW Libraries approach with upcoming negotiations.

Last year the UW Libraries successfully negotiated with Elsevier for a three-year journal subscription contract. The Elsevier Negotiation Team, comprised of UW faculty and librarians, focused on bargaining priorities outlined by the Faculty Senate Class C resolution. The 2020-2022 agreement was a success in terms of aligning with our values, lowering costs and achieving greater market transparency, and supporting the research and learning needs of the UW community.

In preparation for future contract negotiations, the Libraries plans to engage a broad group of stakeholders, assemble a new Elsevier Negotiation Team, and request support from the Faculty Senate in 2022. We will continue to share updates through the Faculty Council on University Libraries and Libraries communication channels as this process develops.

For more information, consider reading:

For questions regarding sustainable scholarship and publisher negotiations, please contact: SustainableScholarship@uw.edu


Denise Pan

Associate Dean of University Libraries for Collections and Content