UC System Inks Five Year Deal with Elsevier, Stops Price Inflation
After an intense negotiation, the University of California system
has renewed its bundled deal with
leading STM publisher Elsevier--and UC is paying less than before., UC officials announced a
five-year agreement with Elsevier, through the California Digital Library (CDL). According to Elsevier
officials, the agreement will provide over 300,000 University of California (UC) undergraduates,
graduates, researchers, faculty and staff--as well as any California citizens using UC libraries-- with
access to Elsevier content, including all Cell Press titles. Cell Press had become the target of a
boycott initiated by two UC faculty members, Peter Walter and Keith Yamamoto, over pricing issues.
The deal is a shot in the arm for Elsevier's "big deal" bundled package, which had come under
increasing fire in 2003.
Although UC officials declined to release the actual dollar figures,
a letter sent to UC faculty stated
that the deal "accommodates the University's deteriorating budget situation," and that the
"negotiated price arrested for now the price inflation that has been common in this market."
Amplifying those statements, UC Santa Barbara University Librarian Sarah Pritchard said that the
new price was less than the price UC paid last year. Pritchard said that about 200 titles were
trimmed from the package, but that many of those titles were not subscribed to in print and there
were new additions, such as Cell Press. As usual with the bundled deal, there are inflationary caps
for each year of the five-year contract. "At the end of five years, we will be paying fractionally more
than we were paying last year," Pritchard said. While the deal was renewed, she added, it doesn't
mean back to business as usual. In the letter to faculty announcing the deal, she pointed out, UC
officials also noted that the "economics of scholarly journals publishing are incontrovertibly
unsustainable," and vowed action on alternatives. Pritchard said the deal was endorsed by the UC
Academic Senate, and that the deal would be beneficial to her library. "There's a lot of advantages
to the group deal," she explained. "If we had to subscribe individually, we'd have a two-thirds loss
in content." That loss would have been smaller on larger campuses, such as UCLA and UC Berkeley,
she noted, adding that the UC system's 11 library directors worked together to compromise on the
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