Note: Below, is a link to an updated version of an article originally published on March 7, 2019.
This month, academic publisher Elsevier shuttered the University of California’s online access to current journal articles. It’s the latest move in the high stakes standoff between Elsevier, the world’s largest publisher of scholarly research, and the University of California, whose scholars produce about 10% of the nation’s research publications.
Now, UC’s researchers will have to find other ways to get Elsevier journal articles than the online access they have become accustomed to. Many of those articles are already freely available on the web and the rest can be borrowed from libraries or requested from authors. There are also a growing number of tools like Unpaywall, which searches the web for free copies of articles, to help researchers with that transition. But for busy researchers with little time to spare, convenience is king, and they’ll likely soon learn from experience why achieving 100% open access to research articles is so important.
UC’s goals are ambitious and their implementation will be complex. Changing a system this intricate is akin to modernizing the FAA’s air traffic control system – a million planes are in the air at any moment and altering anything can have serious consequences elsewhere. But we have to start somewhere or the whole system is at risk, and UC has placed its bet. We join an expanding global movement, and we believe we’re now on the path to a better system for sharing knowledge in the 21st century.
COMPLETE Coverage: infoDOCKET Roundup With UC/Elsevier Coverage Back to February 2018