Publisher Elsevier Halts UC’s Access to New Articles

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Berkeley’s University Library was a key player in negotiations with Elsevier. Photo by J. Pierre Carrillo for the University Library.

Starting July 10, Elsevier, the world’s largest provider of scientific, technical and medi­cal information, has shut off the University of California’s direct access to new articles. Its 2,500-journal portfolio in­cludes such highly-regarded publications as The Lancet and Cell.

But with the UC Berkeley Library’s help, researchers can still access articles from Else­vier journals in other ways.

Last summer, UC began ne­gotiating with Elsevier over its subscription contract with the publishing giant. The univer­sity’s goal was to tamp down costs and to provide default open access publishing of UC research. The desired outcome was that, unless the author requested otherwise, the re­sults of publicly-funded UC research would be made pub­lic — free and accessible to everyone.

But in February, UC an­nounced it had ended talks with Elsevier, as the publish­ing giant and UC were far apart on key issues. The UC’s decision to terminate subscrip­tions with Elsevier was hailed far and wide as a big win in the movement toward open access. However, it also made a shutoff imminent.

Fortunately, the UC Berke­ley Library has developed a plan to help connect research­ers with the materials they need, even while direct access to new articles is suspended. A special web page includes a graphic and a video that explain how to access Elsevier articles.

“The library’s mission has always been to provide access to the world’s knowledge,” says UC Berkeley Librarian Jeffrey MacKie-Mason. “No publisher — no matter how big — will stand in the way of that.”

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