California universities and Elsevier make up

Two years after a high-profile falling out, the University of California (UC) system and the academic publishing giant Elsevier have patched up differences and agreed on what will be the largest deal for open access publishing in scholarly journals in North America. The deal is also the world’s first such contract that includes Elsevier’s highly selective flagship journals Cell and The Lancet, writes Jeffrey Brainard for Science.

The deal meets demands made by UC when it suspended negotiations with Elsevier in 2019. It allows UC faculty and students to read articles in almost all of Elsevier’s more than 2,600 journals, and it enables UC authors to publish articles that they can make open access, or free for anyone to read, by paying a per-article fee. Elsevier says it will discount those open access fees, and UC says it will subsidise their authors.

The impasse had been closely watched as a bellwether for whether US universities would join what has become a worldwide push toward immediate open access to scientific articles. Elsevier is the largest scholarly journal publisher, and UC is among the top institutions in research spending. Their rapprochement reflects a recent shift in Elsevier’s business strategy toward one friendlier to such deals, which other commercial publishers have been quicker to embrace. It also appeared to reflect the clout that UC’s size affords: the 50,000 journal articles produced annually by researchers on its 10 campuses represent 10% of US output.
Full report on the Science site