Forthcoming Elsevier Negotiations: An Update from Interim Dean Michael Bowman

To our shared campus communities,

The scholarly, commercial publishing marketplace has changed significantly since our last negotiation with Elsevier in 2014. Elsevier started charging researchers article processing charges (APCs) to enable open access publishing in 2013. At the time of our last contract, open access publishing was not yet seen as an integral part of their business model. The main development is that today, of the 2,637 journals currently accepting submissions and listed on the ScienceDirect website, a quarter of these journals, 772, are listed as fully open access supported by APC-based funding, and a further 1,974 journals are listed as containing open access content. We also recognize that in recent years, multiple academic institutions and consortia have secured concessions from Elsevier that reflect this changing landscape, including: reductions in APC charges, retroactive conversion of previously published content to open, or reduction in a library’s overall spend without a corresponding reduction in access.  

Oregon State University Libraries, Portland State University Library, and the University of Oregon Libraries are entering into contract negotiations with Elsevier for journal access in 2023, and for up to three years beyond that. For the sake of transparency, we want to reach out to our respective campuses to provide you with the goals we hope to achieve with this renewal cycle. We join academic libraries and consortia across the United States in ascribing to the core principles for publisher contracts set forth by the MIT Libraries, which are:

  • No author will be required to waive any institutional or funder open access policy to publish in any of the publisher’s journals.
  • No author will be required to relinquish copyright, but instead will be provided with options that enable publication while also providing authors with generous reuse rights.
  • Publishers will directly deposit scholarly articles in institutional repositories immediately upon publication or will provide tools/mechanisms that facilitate immediate deposit.
  • Publishers will provide computational access to subscribed content as a standard part of all contracts, with no restrictions on non-consumptive, computational analysis of the corpus of subscribed content.
  • Publishers will ensure the long-term digital preservation and accessibility of their content through participation in trusted digital archives.
  • Institutions will pay a fair and sustainable price to publishers for value-added services, based on transparent and cost-based pricing models.

To this end, all three institutions would like to reduce our spend with Elsevier by half of the current amounts paid by each institution. We are interested in obtaining a concession that would allow articles published by authors at each institution to be converted from closed to open access. We will be asking Elsevier to remove any limitations on inter-library lending (ILL). We will seek concessions that ensure end-users’ identifiable account information is not utilized inappropriately, and we will seek removal of any language that does not allow us to openly disclose the contract we have negotiated.

The three libraries would be interested in hearing from their respective campus constituencies about any concerns or questions that they may have about these negotiations. For Portland State, please send your feedback to by March 21st.

Ideally, our negotiations with Elsevier will begin in late Spring/early Summer 2022, and conclude by the end of Summer 2022, with a start date for a new contract in January 2023.

Michael Bowman
Interim Dean
University Library
Portland State University