With our current Elsevier contract due to end in December 2021, the University is working with Jisc, Universities UK and other universities across the UK to negotiate a new multiyear agreement for access to Elsevier ScienceDirect.
ScienceDirect costs the UK HE sector £50 million per year and accounts for 25% of our Library’s entire content budget. Unlike other major academic publishers, Elsevier has not supplied an agreement that covers both provision of content and Open Access publishing costs.
It is important that we agree a deal which aligns with Aberdeen 2040 and our commitment to open research and inclusivity. Equally, the agreement must be affordable and sustainable. The higher the cost of our large ejournal publisher subscriptions, the less we have available to invest in other research collections and the books being requested for reading lists.
The sector is entering negotiations with Elsevier with the intention of securing a read and publish agreement which provides for both access and open publishing at an affordable price. Such agreements comply with Plan S proposals, which our major funders are expected to implement. Such a deal also removes the need for individual APCs which reduces the administrative burden on researchers and professional services.
To achieve a successful outcome which supports our strategic objectives, we need to take a clear and firm stance and to be clear about our needs so they are properly reflected in a new agreement.
We are now gathering information in support of planning and analysis to inform an institutional response to negotiations and to make sure that our needs are properly represented. It is really important that researchers at Aberdeen at all levels have a chance to share their views. Simon Bains, University Librarian, is very happy to hear views and questions and also invites interest in joining a consultative group to respond to developments in the negotiations and assist in communicating updates across the University. See his recent invitation in the Staff Newsletter.
Membership and terms of reference for the national groups that set direction for this work can be seen on the Jisc Collections website. Our University Librarian sits on the UUK/Jisc Content Negotiation Strategy Group.