UC negotiations with journal publisher

To: UC Santa Cruz Faculty

From: Chancellor George Blumenthal

I would like to add my voice to those from throughout the University of California calling for a significant change in our university's relationship with Elsevier, the world's largest publisher of academic journals.

Elsevier publishes more peer-reviewed academic journals than any other company in the world. Our contract with Elsevier, which currently consumes about a quarter of UC's journal subscription budget, gives UC students, staff, and faculty access to every article the company publishes. And there are a lot. Elsevier last year published more than 400,000 articles in about 2,500 journals.

But the model is dysfunctional on a number of fronts. We support Elsevier several times over — giving them our research, serving as editors, reviewing articles for them, then paying to access our research online. This model also leaves some of our research behind paywalls, limiting the access of others.

As UC is currently in negotiations to renew its contract with Elsevier — the current pact ends Dec. 31 — it is imperative we use this opportunity to alter our relationship. UC has always stood for open, global access to knowledge. By breaking down paywalls for scholarly journals, or at least significantly lowering costs, we can help force the creation of a more open system of knowledge-sharing. Wider access to information facilitates research, ultimately enabling advancements in a host of fields.

Because UC accounts for nearly 10 percent of all academic publishing in the United States — more than any public educational institution in the country — we have an opportunity and a responsibility to lead this push. Faculty members can decline to review articles. Researchers can decide to publish their work elsewhere.

We need a contract that makes access to research more affordable. We need more open-access scholarship. I hope you will join in me voicing support for this effort.

For more information on the negotiations and how they might impact UC's access to information, please visit the webpage put together by UC Santa Cruz library staff. It includes links to press coverage on the negotiations, as well as a Q&A created by UC's Office of Scholarly Communication.