May 27, 2022

Mackenzie Smith Writes “University of California’s Showdown With the Biggest Academic Publisher Aims to Change Scholarly Publishing For Good”

Note: Below, is a link to an updated version of an article originally published on March 7, 2019.

From an an Article Published on “The Conversation” by MacKenzie Smith, University Librarian and Vice Provost for Digital Scholarship, University of California, Davis:

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.

Read the Complete Update Article by MacKenzie Smith

See Also: University of California’s Direct Access to New Elsevier Articles Has Been Discontinued (July 10, 2019)

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

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.