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Dear Colleagues

This email is to update you on the state of play regarding the current negotiations to renew the deal to secure access to Elsevier’s ScienceDirect journal package. UK universities currently have a five-year deal which is due to expire at the end of 2021. Negotiations are taking place throughout this year, coordinated by Jisc, which aim to agree a further five-year deal. Crucially, this deal will aim to combine costs for ‘Read’ (the traditional subscription element) and ‘Publishing’ (Article Processing Charges), aiming for a net reduction in expenditure. UK universities currently spend more than £50m annually with Elsevier on subscription costs and APCs – in 2020 the Bodleian spent £1,174,706 on Elsevier subscriptions and £543,874 on APCs paid to Elsevier, on behalf of the University.

As part of these negotiations, Jisc, on behalf of the UK HE sector is seeking full and immediate open access for UK authors publishing in any Elsevier journal, including hybrid journals, as part of a negotiated ‘transformative’ Read and Publish deal. This would make it easier for academics to make their articles open access, ensuring compliance with the requirements of the major UK and other research funders.

The Bodleian Libraries is coordinating our response by working in close partnership with the academic Divisions, reporting to the Open Access Steering Group and Research and Innovation Committee. This process involves a detailed analysis of our use of, and publishing levels in, Elsevier titles. It is important that we agree a deal which represents good value for our staff, students, and researchers, with broad access to the journals that our academic community needs, and allowing our scholars to publish their work in the journals they need to, but which also reflects the University’s commitment to open access and open scholarship. Equally, the deal must be affordable, sustainable and align with UKRI and other funder open access requirements.

If we are to achieve a successful outcome, we need to take a clear, firm, and evidence-based stance. We are hopeful that a deal can be reached, but we are preparing carefully for a range of scenarios, working closely with other research-intensive universities. The final decision about the deal will be made by Research and Innovation Committee on behalf of the Oxford academic community.

Further information can be seen on our Oxford and Elsevier webpage. This will be regularly updated with FAQs, details of planned events, and information specific to the deal at Oxford (some information held behind SSO). We encourage you to bookmark this page, check in regularly - and do contact me or your subject librarian if you have any queries in the meantime.

Best wishes,

Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian

25 August 2021