Elsevier Negotiations Background

Description of the Texas Library Coalition for United Action (TLCUA) and the upcoming Elsevier negotiations.

The Problem: Unbalanced Scholarly Communication System

The current scholarly communications business model creates unsustainable price increases for universities to maintain access to vital research.

Diagram of the scholarly communication lifecycle

Taxpayers fund government funding agencies, such as the NIH or NSA, and universities. These groups then produce research articles using grant funding, fees and tuition that are given to publishers at no cost. Publishers, in turn, sell back access to that research in the form of journal subscriptions.

This system means that universities are essentially paying twice for access to research: once to produce the research, and then a second time for journal subscriptions.

Serials Inflation Rates

Today, publisher's pricing models are based on decades-old print subscriptions, despite the fact that the majority of journals are delivered in an electronic format. 

Each year, libraries pay on average a 4-6% compounding inflation rate on our journal subscriptions. Library budgets cannot keep pace with this rate of inflation. UTSA Libraries are perilously close to initiating a journal cancellation project due to rapid inflation. 

Open Access & Author Rights Background

Open Access (OA) to information – the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need – has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted. It has direct and widespread implications for academia, medicine, science, industry, and for society as a whole.

Open Access refers to scholarly literature that is both:

  • Free of most copyright restrictions
  • Free to access online

Many publishers, such as Elsevier, fund their OA and hybrid-OA journals by charging Article Processing Charges (APCs). These charges can range from several hundred to several thousands of dollars. Authors are largely responsible for paying APCs.

Not all of Elsevier's journals are OA which means that, in those instances, authors must sign away their copyright and ownership of their work to the publisher. In an OA model, authors maintain the copyright to their work.