Imminent change to Elsevier access

To: UC Santa Cruz Academic Community

From: Elizabeth Cowell, University Librarian Kimberly Lau, Chair, UC Santa Cruz Academic Senate Karen Ottemann, Chair, UC Santa Cruz Senate Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication

The University of California has been out of contract with Elsevier since January but, so far, the publisher has continued to provide access to new articles via ScienceDirect. Although Elsevier has not yet provided us with official notification, we now have reason to believe that the publisher will shut off that direct access in the first half of July, after the July 4 holiday.

When that happens, we will no longer have direct access to 2019 articles (in all Elsevier journals) and the backfiles of certain journals (download the list). Everything else will still be accessible on ScienceDirect. Once the shut off is confirmed, we will publish a notice on the Office of Scholarly Communication website


Last year, the University of California entered negotiations for a new agreement with Elsevier that would not only continue UC’s access to its online journals, but also achieve the faculty-supported goals of containing journal subscription costs and providing for open access publication of UC research. Unfortunately, in late February the negotiations stalled. In the months since, Elsevier has continued to provide access to new articles via ScienceDirect without a contract in place. 

Other ways to access Elsevier articles

The library is prepared to help you access articles that are no longer available via ScienceDirect. Information about other ways to access Elsevier articles is also available on the library’s website, which provides guidance on how to:

  • Use the interlibrary loan (ILL) request form. Any request for content no longer licensed through Elsevier will automatically be placed into a rush queue. ILL requests made in Melvyl or via UC-eLinks will also be expedited.  

  • Use tools like Google Scholar, Unpaywall and Open Access Button to quickly find open access copies, when available.

  • Email the corresponding author listed in the abstract to request a copy.

  • We are here to help. Contact our Interlibrary Loan staff at so we can best facilitate your needs.

We will be carefully evaluating the impact of losing access to new articles on ScienceDirect over the coming months, and will do our best to ensure that you have access to the articles you need. Meanwhile, UC is hoping to reenter formal negotiations with Elsevier if the publisher indicates that they are willing to discuss a contract that addresses our goals of cost containment and open access.

If you have any questions or need help accessing an article, please don’t hesitate to contact the library at any time.