Elsevier Review Q & A

Questions and Answers on the Elsevier Journals Review

Q. Why are we reducing Elsevier journals?

A. The conditions that led to the Subscription Review in 2020-2021 persist. Chronic high inflation in the costs for subscriptions beyond our modest budget increases over the years resulted in the share of the budget dedicated to these subscriptions taking an ever-increasing slice of the pie and limited our ability to support other materials essential for teaching and research such as monographs, datasets, and streaming media as well as directing support for new and emerging areas of study and investing in open access. During the subscription review last year we reduced our spend on individual subscriptions by approximately 20% and reduced our spend on the package of Wiley journals by approximately the same 20%. This spend reduction with Elsevier and the accompanying reduction in immediate access journals is a continuation of this effort to restore balance in our budget, ensure we can support the full breadth of research and teaching at the University of Washington, and build support for open scholarship and open research.


Q. How did you decide which journals to continue subscription access in 2023?

A. We started with usage and publishing metrics using the UnSub package analysis tool. We looked at metrics such as usage, UW authoring and citations, and post cancellation access. Starting with this ranked list we consulted with representatives from the Schools, Colleges, and Campuses at the University of Washington. Taking all the feedback from these representatives into account we revised the ranked list and developed the final list of subscription titles that reached the targeted spend reduction level.


Q. Which Elsevier journals will we continue to have subscription access to in 2023?

A. The list of 2023 Elsevier Subscribed Titles is available to view for anyone with a UW NetID.


Q. What will be the most efficient ways of getting access to content we lose as a result of canceling Elsevier subscriptions?

A. The Alternative Article Access Options details some options for accessing articles from journals to which we don’t have immediate subscription access. The Libraries’ Interlibrary Loan service is ready to retrieve and deliver articles on request. You may also be able to find the article as open access, as approximately 40% of research articles published every year are available open access, especially for very recent articles.


Q. Were you able to accomplish the goal of supporting the UW Libraries' Principles in Licensing Scholarly Resources?

A. Yes. As with the previous contract we do not have an NDA or confidentiality clause in this contract and we posted the agreement on the SPARC Contracts Library. One notable advance to supporting the licensing principles is we secured the ability to supply articles from our subscribed titles to other libraries through interlibrary loan (ILL) without geographic restriction. In earlier contracts, and is still the case with some of our other publisher contracts, there was a restriction against supplying articles through interlibrary loan outside of the U.S. Also related to interlibrary loan, we removed reference to CONTU in the license. CONTU is a guideline that addresses ILL and borrowing libraries and is unnecessary in the contract for the lending library.


Q. What does this phrase mean: “increasing investments to create and support community-owned infrastructure and shared digital resources."

A. We are making a strategic shift from funding closed and paywalled subscriptions to open access agreements and infrastructure. This shift includes seeking out open access agreements that are on a path to open and equitable access to both reading and publishing. We are also seeking out investments in infrastructure to support open sharing of research outputs (articles and data) from University of Washington scholars and authors. We have started this shift with funding from a Provost Reinvestment Fund that is being used to support our ACM and PLOS open access publishing agreements.