January 22, 2022

University of California’s Direct Access to New Elsevier Articles Has Been Discontinued

From the University of California, Office of Scholarly Communication:

The University of California has been out of contract with Elsevier since January. UC ended negotiations for a new journal subscription contract on February 28, with the support of the systemwide Academic Senate. The publisher continued to allow access to new articles via ScienceDirect for several months; however, UC’s direct access to 2019 Elsevier articles (and older articles in some journals) is now being discontinued. (Note: The process for discontinuing access is complex, so access may vary by journal and/or campus until Elsevier’s rollout of the changes is complete.)

Over the coming months, the UC Libraries will be carefully evaluating the impact of losing access to new articles on ScienceDirect, and will do our best to ensure that members of the UC community have access to the articles they need

From an Open Letter to the UC Berkeley Academic Community by Jeff MacKie-Mason, University Librarian and Professor:

What is affected: Members of the UC community no longer have direct access to:

  • 2019 articles in all Elsevier journals
  • Older articles in certain journals (download the list)

What is not affected: Articles published before 2019 in most Elsevier journals (covering about 95% of historical usage) should continue to be available via ScienceDirect.

Direct to Full Text Open Letter

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

On Wednesday, professors and students across the University of California who tried to read articles published in any of 2,500 scholarly journals since Jan. 1 got an unpleasant surprise: They couldn’t.

Elsevier, the world’s largest publisher of journals — from the famous Lancet to the less known Journal of Psychosomatic Research — had cut UC off.

“We are sorry for the inconvenience and we hope to continue to work with the University of California to find a solution,” the Dutch publishing company announced in a statement Wednesday, after telling UC Tuesday evening what it planned to do at midnight.


“For a world-class university system that prides itself on the quality of its research, that cancellation represents a real challenge,” Elsevier’s Senior Vice President Gemma Hersh, a member of the negotiating team, said in a statement.

“With access now turned off, the librarians are now proposing researchers instead use inter-library loans, which could take anywhere from one to four days to provide the article,” said Hersh. “One senior library official has repeatedly pointed to illegal sources of articles, including a Russia-based piracy site.”

The UC libraries are prepared to help them get the materials they need in other legal ways,” said Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, university librarian at UC Berkeley and co-chair of the UC system’s publisher negotiations task force. “While it may take a few minutes to a few days longer to get an article via other legal means (including but not limited to interlibrary loan), the libraries have also been putting systems in place over the past several months to expedite urgent article requests when needed.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: “Publishing Giant Elsevier Has Shut Off the University of California’s Direct Access To New Articles. Here’s How That Affects You.” (July 10, 2019)

UPDATE: Full Text of Statement From Gemma Hersh, Elsevier

As of midnight last night, Elsevier implemented the California Digital Library’s request to end University of California’s systemwide access to the world’s largest collection of scientific and medical literature – ending a mutually-beneficial partnership which has for decades supported UC researchers as they advance science and medicine.

See Also: Open Letter to Members of the UC Berkeley Community: “Imminent Change to Elsevier Access Library Communication (June 27, 2019)

See Also: infoDOCKET Roundup With UC/Elsevier Coverage Back to February 2018

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.