*Updated to include meeting details*


  • Our subscription to ScienceDirect (Elsevier) expires at the end of 2021 

  • Jisc is negotiating a new deal on behalf of the UK HE community 

  • The new deal needs to support Open Research and constrain costs 

  • Exeter is feeding into this process and scenario planning for the future 

Elsevier is the last of the big journal publishers not to have a transformative open access journal deal with the UK HE community. The current deal expires at the end of 2021 and UK HE Libraries are currently negotiating via Jisc for a deal that supports Open Research. Costs are increasing significantly as we pay to publish open access in the same journals that we pay subscriptions for; Elsevier currently offers no means of offsetting these costs against each other. The negotiations are led by Jisc and involve senior academic leaders. UK universities currently spend at least £50m annually with Elsevier on ScienceDirect and open access publishing fees and in 2019, the RELX Group (owners of Elsevier) made a 31% profit.  Several countries and institutions around the world have already been through these negotiations. We know from the experience of other countries that if a deal is not reached, access may be lost. Therefore we are currently collecting data and evaluating our position, including investigating alternative access arrangements for material that is needed for research and education at Exeter. You can read more about what happened in Germanythe NetherlandsSweden and the University of California online. 

At Exeter we are taking part in regular consultations with Jisc and sector colleagues, including the Russell Group. We would welcome your input to this process. If you would like to talk to us about the impact of this deal on your department or you would like to take a more active role in supporting the library in this, we would love to hear from you. In other countries, this has taken the form of refusals to engage in peer review, boycotts of Elsevier, resigning from editorial boards and also media outreach; for an example, see this blog post from Professor Stephen Eglen. For more information, please contact your liaison librarian. We are holding an open meeting for all staff to discuss the negotiations on Tuesday 2nd November. University staff can register to attend online. We will continue to post any further updates here.