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Editorial Snapshot: University of California reaches open access agreement with Elsevier

- G.A., Senior Editor

As a major university system that includes ten separate campuses, the University of California is responsible for approximately 10 percent of the entire academic publishing output of the United States. Despite the high profile that comes with such output, the University of California has taken a leadership role in the push for increased open access, frequently citing the growing cost of journal subscriptions as a major problem for institutions and researchers.

In February 2021, the University of California announced that it would not renew paid subscriptions to journals published by Elsevier after negotiations between the University and publisher failed to reach an agreement on increasing open access of articles published by scientists affiliated with the University of California. This announcement was seen as a misstep by Elsevier and one with potentially dangerous financial consequence for the company.

In March 2021, the University announced that an agreement had been reached with Elsevier. The agreement doubles the number of articles with lead authors from the University of California that are made immediately available through open access. Importantly, this 4-year agreement sets open access as the default mode of publication for these articles, rather than requiring authors to request open access.

Over the next 4 years, it can be expected that the University of California will seek further expansion of open access for its research output. Given that Elsevier was able to increase the availability of open access for this agreement, they are likely working to ensure that future expansion of open access can be offered with ensuring that their costs and profitability are carefully considered.

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