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Article Access Alternatives

Elsevier Negotiations

OSU Librarians, working together with colleagues from U of O and PSU, initiated negotiations with Elsevier in May of 2022. This was the first major re-negotiation of contract terms with Elsevier since 2014. In October of 2022, the library negotiating teams unanimously agreed that further negotiations with Elsevier would not be productive. They decided to suspend negotiations for the remainder of 2022.  This means that OSU’s contract with Elsevier ended on December 31, 2022. 

Communications to Campus

Emails from the Dean of Libraries to the OSU community. 


OSU librarians, working with faculty from OSU’s colleges, developed a set of negotiating principles that were strongly endorsed by the OSU Faculty Senate in May of 2022. These principles lay out our shared priorities for the specific provisions we want to see in contracts with scholarly publishers. We believe that these terms are necessary to ensure that the costs of scholarly publishing are sustainable now, and into the future. The initial requests we presented to Elsevier reflect these principles.
After multiple attempts to move negotiations forward, and several delays, we were not able to come to agreement on two main issues:
  1. Cost transparency: As our negotiating principles make clear, we expect to pay publishers for “value-added services, based on transparent and cost-based pricing models.” In this case, we were looking for pricing that: 1) was not based on historical print costs and 2) reflected the increasing amount of open access content included in subscription journals. The negotiating team presented Elsevier with a proposal for a new pricing model, based on actual article usage instead of subscriptions. We expected that this proposal would serve as a starting point for negotiations, and would also demonstrate the kind of price transparency we needed to see in this new contract. Elsevier’s counter-proposal, in our view, did not address this issue of price transparency at all.
  2. Support for Green Open Access: In 2013, OSU faculty adopted an Open Access policy which protects OSU’s authors’ rights to deposit the accepted (post-peer review) manuscript of their research articles into ScholarsArchive@OSU. We asked Elsevier to provide workflows that would streamline and improve this process for articles published in Elsevier journals. Elsevier did not engage in discussions on additional support for Green OA, which is not funded by Article Processing Charges (APC’s), during these negotiations.
No, that is not our plan. By the summer of 2023, we plan to develop a timeline and goals for future negotiations. Our hope is that we can secure a contract providing access to a curated list of essential Elsevier journals at that time. To inform this process, we will look at the article requests we receive after the contract expires, and continue the conversations we have been having with students, faculty, researchers, college leadership teams and university administrators about open and sustainable scholarly communication. We will also reach out to UO and PSU on shared timelines and goals for access moving forward.
This contract only impacts paywalled content in Elsevier journals. You will still be able to access content from Elsevier's open access journals. In addition, many Elsevier journals are “hybrid” journals, which refers to subscription journals that include open-access articles. Those articles will still be accessible, even if OSU no longer subscribes to the journal.
Yes! You can still request articles from Elsevier journals from the library, and we will get them for you. We will use a suite of tools to get you access:
  • Some requests will be fulfilled via our outstanding Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service. OSU was one of the only academic libraries in the country to keep ILL services running throughout the entire pandemic. Our current average time to fulfill an ILL request is 13 hours.
  • Some requests will be fulfilled by finding and retrieving open access content.
  • Some requests will be fulfilled by purchasing articles directly.

You can find out more about your interlibrary loan options, and how to use them, here

No, our systems have the capacity to keep up with these requests. In addition, article-level fulfillment is going to be an increasingly important strategy for academic libraries moving forward. We will be investing as needed to keep these systems robust.
Maybe. The access Elsevier provides to individual researchers varies by title. Your individual license will not allow you to share your article or subscription across the institution. We encourage you to request articles you need from the library.
Different libraries are pursuing different strategies. There are several other libraries that are working with their faculty to develop negotiating principles based on shared values that prioritize sustainability in negotiations with scholarly publishers. Our work at OSU was deeply informed by our colleagues at the University of Washington and MIT. And our understanding of these issues was shaped by colleagues from University of California institutions, the University of Virginia, and the NorthEast Research Libraries consortium.
It could, but we do not expect that to be the norm. We enter into every negotiation expecting that we can and should be able to reach an agreement. Most of the time, that is true. However, it is important to acknowledge that as we use our principles document to guide future negotiations we will be prioritizing terms that we are believe are necessary to create a scholarly communication system that is equitable and financially sustainable for researchers and for libraries. This might mean that we have to pay more to preserve access or we may have to make some reductions. We will continue to engage with the OSU community as we move forward, and we are building a better communication portal to keep campus up to date on future negotiations.

List of Elsevier Journals

Beginning January 1, 2023 Oregon State University Libraries will no longer have current, full-text access to our previously held subscribed title list and to Elsevier's Freedom Collection on the Elsevier ScienceDirect platform. Be aware that this only applies to paywalled content. Open access articles in hybrid journals will still be accessible. To see the list of impacted titles, select one of the links below.

Who Do I Contact With More Questions?

Oregon State University Libraries is interested to hear your questions and feedback regarding the pause in negotiating with Elsevier for paywalled journal access.  We will incorporate frequently asked questions into our existing FAQ

Please share any requests using this feedback form.