More on the UC and Elsevier Split

On February 28, the University of California (UC) announced that it would not be renewing its subscription with Elsevier. In its negotiations, UC was trying to ensure that research produced by its campuses would be freely available to researchers around the globe immediately. According to UC, Elsevier was proposing to charge UC authors large fees on top of the existing multi-million dollar contract the University had for access to Elsevier journals. In a stance in support of open access, UC decided to walk away from Elsevier entirely. The UC Academic Council released a statement on the same day, supporting the efforts to negotiate to ensure open access to research. Elsevier released a statement in response via twitter. In the statement, Elsevier expresses disappointment that the negotiations were broken off by UC and says that it put forward a proposal to support the multi-payer open access requests by allowing researchers the choice to publish for open access as well as a “scaled path to reduce costs for each campus library.”  Berkeley News interviewed University Librarian Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, who served as the co-chair of the negotiation team for UC. According to MacKie-Mason, UC wanted to reduce costs (the University was paying $11 million in subscriptions to Elsevier each year) and ensure open access for UC authors publishing with Elsevier. UC was asking for a contract that integrated a paid subscription fee with the open access publishing fees, which is a new approach. The offer by Elsevier agreed to do this, but at a much higher cost of around $30 million more per three year contract. The main idea is to makeup the loss in subscriptions by moving to a market that charges for the publishing, rather than for the reading as it works now. MacKie-Mason pointed out that although UC is the first University system to cut ties with Elsevier in the U.S., the Max Planck Society, University Alliance in Sweden, and University Alliance in Hungary have already done so.