Update on Elsevier negotiations from University Librarian Elaine Westbrooks

December 11, 2019

The University Libraries, on behalf of the University, is in license renewal negotiations with the publisher Elsevier.

Although UNC-Chapel Hill’s current contract expires at the end of 2019, negotiations continue in good faith and will extend into 2020. We have every reason to believe that there will be no change in access to Elsevier titles while active negotiations are underway.

Elsevier is the world’s largest publisher of scientific information, and the Library approaches this negotiation recognizing that many of you use Elsevier titles in your research, teaching, and clinical care.

At the same time, the cost of licenses with Elsevier and other major scholarly publishers has risen at an unsustainable rate. Our campus Elsevier subscription alone totaled $2.6 million in 2019. Their current negotiating position would impose a significant increase that exceeds available funding.

Universities around the world are developing new ways to access scholarly content without maintaining ongoing subscriptions to every journal. As we negotiate with Elsevier, we will seek a contract that is affordable, sustainable and transparent, and that helps build a future where more scholarly information is openly available.

Changes to the way we access some Elsevier content are inevitable. For example, the Library expects to obtain and deliver more journal articles to you upon request, rather than by institutional subscription.

We will share more information with you about the status of our Elsevier negotiations in the new year. We also invite you to one of four “sustainable scholarship” conversations where you can learn more about our relationships with Elsevier and scholarly publishers, and where we can hear your feedback. Please RSVP to join us:


Elaine L. Westbrooks

Vice Provost for University Libraries and University Librarian

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