The University of St Andrews and Elsevier

The contract between academic publisher Elsevier and UK universities for ScienceDirect was renewed in March 2022 after a year of negotiations. Following extensive consultation, UK universities unanimously accepted Elsevier’s seventh proposal, which meets the challenging negotiation requirements set by the sector:

  • Make all eligible articles published with Elsevier open access.
  • Keep access to all content still behind a paywall without giving up any associated rights.
  • Remove the additional £7.2 million of spend on Open Access publishing charges.
  • Reduce spend on subscriptions (£43 million) by 15%.

At a total cost to the UK universities sector of £38.6m, the agreement will enable unlimited and immediate open access for corresponding authors publishing in Elsevier’s subscription journals, including the Lancet and Cell Press hybrid titles, which to date have been dealt with separately in deals struck internationally. The agreement maintains access to paywalled content without foregoing any associated rights.

Summary of the agreement for St Andrews

Read: Continuation of existing access and post cancellation rights. St Andrews researchers retain access to all current subscribed content.

Publish: Unlimited publishing for eligible authors in Core Hybrid, Cell Press and The Lancet hybrid titles. The Open Access team can support researchers with eligibility checks. Separately, the agreement also provides a 15% discount on APCs and a cap on price increases for publishing in Elsevier’s fully open access journals.

Fee: A substantial reduction on our combined Read and Publish spend in 2021.

Term: 1st Jan 2022 - 31st Dec 2024; 1% increase in year two, 2% in year three (inflation is predicted to run higher). There will be a review in year three to evaluate and renegotiate terms.

Compliance: Compliant with funder policies, including the new UKRI Policy. Ongoing engagement with the Elsevier Negotiation Team on rights retention to remove barriers to publishing and supporting mechanisms for enabling all compliant routes under way.

The agreement with UK universities is the world’s largest open access agreement and is unique in the level of savings and open access coverage. The strong engagement and support from academic colleagues throughout the negotiations were vital in helping us achieve this successful outcome. The UK Elsevier agreement sets a new standard for what we can achieve in negotiations with major suppliers when we work collectively as a sector and in partnership with Jisc. We intend to build on our collective success in these negotiations to challenge other major suppliers to deliver greater value to UK institutions and work towards the development of a more open and transparent publishing market.

For further information please contact Deputy Director Libraries and Museums, Jennifer Louden or Head of Open Research, Jackie Proven

For details on eligibility for the Elsevier and other publisher deals, see information from the Open Access team.