In early 2019, OSU Libraries began to prepare for its negotiations with the global publisher Elsevier for a possible 2020 contract renewal. The preparation has focused on discussing scenarios with contract partners at the University of Oregon and Portland State, examining Oregon State’s usage of Elsevier content, and gathering data about OSU faculty who are Elsevier editors and authors.

Just last week, the University of California System terminated its subscriptions with Elsevier after months of negotiations failed. The UC system is not the first large research institution or system to walk away from a big deal with a major STEM publisher, but this event has certainly caught the attention of higher education institutions across the United States and Canada. According to a UC system news release, the decision to end negotiations resulted in large part because “Elsevier was unwilling to meet UC’s reasonable contract terms, which would integrate subscription charges and open access publishing fees, making open access the default for any article by a UC scholar and stabilizing journal costs for the university.” 

In the past decade, Oregon State has supported multiple initiatives to broaden access to the campus intellectual output. OSU’s efforts were highlighted by the passage of a university-wide open access policy in 2013. Our initiatives were also connected to long-held concerns about how to provide access to content while confronting persistent journal inflation that exceeds annual budgetary increases.

Looking ahead, OSU Libraries will begin working with the Faculty Senate Library Committee and the senior administration at OSU to share information about Elsevier usage and costs as well as desired contract terms. We recognize the need to reach out to the OSU research community to keep faculty and graduate students informed, so we expect to host conversations and forums in the coming months to discuss the issues and possible outcomes. Please look for invitations to stay informed and be engaged in OSU Today and on the Libraries’ website.

Should you have questions or concerns, please contact Faye A. Chadwell, the Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian, at


Posted - March 05, 2019