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UC Support Statement

UMass Amherst Libraries Support UC System’s Termination of Elsevier Contract

The UMass Amherst Libraries support the University of California (UC), as well as MIT, Temple University, Florida State University, and other U.S. and European universities who are working on transforming the way libraries license and provide access to scholarly content. We particularly applaud our colleagues in California who dared to take a strong stance in moving toward a more sustainable future. Our Libraries are joining others in stating support: University of Virginia, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and University of Minnesota.

The UC system terminated license negotiations with Elsevier earlier this year over an inability to come to consensus over a transformative agreement that would control runaway journal costs, favor Open Access, and benefit university faculty authors. UC developed a cost-neutral approach to moving journal licensing to a more sustainable, accessible, and open model. In February, after determining that they would not be able to reach an agreement with Elsevier, UC terminated license negotiations. In doing so, UC established a service continuity plan so that faculty, students, and researchers will still be able to obtain journal articles once they lose access to the over 2,500 journals that Elsevier publishes. 

Elsevier is the world’s largest scholarly publisher, reporting annual profit margins between 30 and 40 percent. Journal subscription costs have seen enormous increases over the last 20 years, significantly outpacing the growth in university library budgets. Libraries worldwide are looking for ways to reform the current scholarly publishing system in order to sustain future access to scholarly research outputs.

The UMass Amherst Libraries have a UMass system-wide license to Elsevier journals which will be up for renewal at the end of 2022. UMass librarians are working together to determine next steps in light of ongoing changes in the scholarly publishing landscape. Recent developments, like UC’s termination of negotiations with Elsevier, provide an opportunity for our libraries to reimagine the future. As mindful stewards of the financial resources that the University and State provide to the Libraries, we will seek innovative and creative ways to provide access to needed resources in the most affordable and accessible way possible.

Endorsed May 2, 2019 by the University Libraries Administration Team: Simon Neame, Dean of Libraries; Steve Bischof, Associate Dean for Library Technology; Leslie Button, Associate Dean for Research and Learning; Terry Carroll, Director for Administrative Services; Sally Krash, Associate Dean for Content and Discovery