Publisher Elsevier stops UC’s access to new articles

Berkeley’s University Library was a key player in negotiations with Elsevi

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

Starting today (Wednesday, 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."