May 24, 2022

Scholarly Publishing: Purdue University Signs New One-Year, $2.9 Million Contract With Elsevier

From The Exponent (Purdue University):

Purdue students and faculty could have lost access to the majority of scholastic research articles available online through Purdue libraries today.

Purdue signed another one-year contract with a publishing company that allows access to journal articles necessary for research for $2.9 million, after being threatened to be cut off in January if the contract was not singed by the end of the month.

Elsevier is one of the largest publishing companies. Purdue uses this company so its faculty and researchers may publish their work in world-renown journals and be able to access the articles later. This is used mostly for scientific and engineering articles. Trustee Bruce White described the way the company is charging and raising rates as “truly a monopolistic operation.”

“What do you think would happen to usage?” White asked. “Because it’s really a question of how fast people need the information if they have to pay for it.”

According to James Mullins, dean of libraries, who works on the contracts with publishing companies, without paying the membership fees to Elsevier, the cost, would be much more to download Purdue faculty and researcher-generated content.


Mullins said most publishing companies increase rates 5 to 7 percent each year, because the companies know they can.


What Mullins said the real problem is that companies know universities like Purdue need the company and will always use them. They have hooked universities by making sure they need the resource to advance their scholarly achievements and keep up with academia.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.