Elsevier negotiation update

After the initial meeting with Elsevier representatives, our joint negotiating team (from OSU, PSU, and UO) decided to focus first on some issues that we thought would be quickly resolved, to create space to work on the pieces of the agreement that would be more challenging. A small group has been working on those quicker issues. With our next face to face meeting coming up on August 3, 2022, we thought this would be good time to update our OSU community on the progress so far.

We are structuring our negotiations around the sustainable scholarly communication principles that were endorsed by the OSU Faculty Senate in May 2022. Some of the principles are already embedded into our existing agreement with Elsevier. We are focusing our energy on 4 areas where we believe change is needed:

Authorized users:

We are working productively on defining language that will work with OSU’s systems. We expect this will be resolved soon.

Open access:

Our discussions here have focused on this statement from our negotiating principles: “If the publisher has the technical ability to do so, they will directly deposit scholarly articles into Oregon State University’s ScholarsArchive@OSU repository”. We have not been able to make progress on this so far, and will be devoting a future face-to-face meeting to this issue.


This one is mixed. Elsevier has agreed to remove the confidentiality clause from our final agreement. However, transparency is also connected to price, and that piece is more complicated. We are asking for “a fair and sustainable price to publishers for value-added services, based on transparent and cost-based pricing models.” We will be focusing our August 3rd face-to-face meeting on this issue.

The 3 Oregon libraries are suggesting a new model based on usage, calculated at the article level. This would be a significant shift from all of our previous contracts, where costs have been calculated at the journal level. We believe that our proposed model is the most transparent way to define costs. We also believe that our proposed model recognizes the value that Elsevier’s platform adds to researcher workflows, while it gives all three libraries a transparent and clear way to explain to our communities what we are paying for. If we are not able to come to agreement on this approach, we will be asking Elsevier to develop a counter-proposal that transparently connects costs to value.

User data:

We are working productively on language that will define protections for user data (data created when researchers use licensed materials and Elsevier’s platform).

Sharing and Fair Use:

Our discussions here have focused on expanding our ability to share licensed materials with other libraries. This will also be the subject of a future face-to-face meeting.

Opening position – Elsevier negotiation

With librarians from the University of Oregon and Portland State, we met with representatives from Elsevier on Wednesday, May 18. This meeting focused on introductions and logistics. We also shared opening positions and contextual information.

OSU/UO/PSU Opening Position:

  • Remove content fee entirely from the [3] contracts.
  • Reduce our Cell Press spend by 75%.
  • Reduce each institution’s spend by 50% without changing current read and/or subscription access.
  • Keep inflation rate between -2.5% and 2%.
  • Replace language in section 7.8 of the current contract to say: The parties agree as of now that this Agreement and its terms may be made publicly available on the Customer’s website, Open APC, and in the ESAC Registry no earlier than 30 days after the Customer and the Publisher have signed the agreement.”
  • Provide written notice to our institutions if Elsevier wants to sell or give our [user] data to a 3rd party or another RELX entity, if they are compelled to give our data; or if they have a data breach.
  • Remove the geographic restriction for Inter-library Loan.
  • Move institutional authored or co-authored articles and book chapters from pay-wall to open access on an annual basis, releasing 5 additional years for each year of our contract.
  • Work with each institution to redefine authorized users (Note – this is asking for a change in the labels used for authorized users to match local terms).

Shared Values – Elsevier negotiation

We traveled down to Eugene on Wednesday, May 18 to meet with representatives from Elsevier. We are collaboratively negotiating with librarians from the University of Oregon and Portland State. In our discussions prior to this meeting, we identified several shared values. These values align nicely with the values articulated in OSU Libraries’ negotiating principles.


Our universities’ contributions to Elsevier’s product are ongoing and substantial. However, historical pricing models do not reflect: The academic labor of authors, reviewers and editors; The value of the APC’s paid by our authors; The increasing amount of open access content in Elsevier packages; or the fact that we continue to pay, year after year, for older materials that have depreciated in value. For each of our institutions, readership trends contradict any claim that the practice of adding titles we did not request adds value. We will prioritize agreements that provide fair and transparent pricing for the content our communities need.


As Oregon’s largest public research universities, our missions include service to the state of Oregon. We will prioritize investments that ensure broad access to the research we produce and to the resources we license.


Inquiry depends on the right to use and share information. We are committed to agreements that uphold authors’ rights to use and share their own research, and to deposit articles in institutional repositories. We are committed to agreements that support our right to share resources with libraries, and that support efforts to build sustainable infrastructure to support sharing.


As public institutions with broad service missions, and as libraries acting on behalf of those institutions, we must be transparent and accountable to our communities. We will prioritize agreements that reflect this commitment. We are committed to a transparent negotiation, we will not sign non-disclosure agreements, and we will share details whenever possible to be accountable to our local and professional communities.