Discovery of Scholarly Open Access Content: University Library and Elsevier

Looking for access to scholarship without having to sign in? This guide provides pathways to finding scholarly open access content and highlights major initiatives with digital humanities and open scholarship

Current Status of Elsevier Subscriptions and Alternative Access

Starting in January 2024, the Library has come to an understanding with Elsevier to offer a reduced number of the most used titles back to our campus. Our new agreement was negotiated in conjunction with Oregon State University Libraries to provide access to 130 titles that are important to the educational and research missions of our respective institutions. 

The contract will be in place through December 2025. We will continue to provide access to non-subscribed titles using interlibrary loan and article delivery mechanisms.  


In March 2022, Interim Library Dean Michael Bowman distributed an update regarding negotiations with the scholarly publisher Elsevier for journal access beginning in January, 2023. The Elsevier journal package is by far the biggest expenditure made by the University Library for content. 

This negotiation was undertaken with Oregon State University and the University of Oregon to leverage journal cost containment and access across all three Oregon Universities. The goals of this negotiation were to achieve the following:

  • Transparent and fair product pricing that appropriately reflects an ongoing shift to open publishing and data sharing. 
  • Respect for rights of authors to retain reasonable rights to share and preserve their own published works, and support for the immediate deposit of accepted manuscripts into the appropriate library or disciplinary repositories.

Elsevier’s proposals have not come close to addressing these reasonable concerns, and the pace of negotiation has been delayed by their slow response times and repeated postponement and rescheduling of negotiation meetings. At this time, the three Oregon Libraries agree that further negotiation this year will not be productive. The Libraries are notifying Elsevier on November 18th that they are pausing negotiations. All three Oregon University Libraries intend to re-open negotiations in 2023 and will continue to gather feedback and input from our campus communities to inform our position. In the meantime, Portland State University Library and its two partners face a lapse in contract, as do other universities in similar situations. We concur with our colleagues from the University of Washington Libraries that: “The Elsevier journal package reinforces the scholarly publishing model based on paywalls and rationing of access, inequitable opportunities for publishing, and excessive pricing and annual price increases that undermines a scholarly ecosystem where the open sharing of knowledge is critical to accelerating change for the public good.”

What does this mean for you: 

  • In the short term, our current contract with Elsevier will end on December 31, 2022. At that time, and until any new agreement is reached, we ceased to receiving access to new 2023 Elsevier-published content.
  • We will retain access to the content of our 150 most-used subscribed journals, published from January 1997 up to and including December 31, 2022.
  • PSU will have access to all new Elsevier content published on an open access basis, including: all publications in fully open SCOAP3 journals such as Physics Letters B; 50% of new Cell Press articles and 100% of Cell Press articles older than 12 months; and all articles in any journal with a corresponding author affiliated with one of these institutions covered by a blanket OA publishing agreement.
  • PSU will be able to access closed/subscription Elsevier articles through the interlibrary loan service (ILL), with most requested articles delivered in one business day. 
  • PSU will not have subscription access to new Elsevier content published on a closed/subscription basis from January 1, 2023, onward, until a new agreement is reached.

For any comments, further information, or specific  questions, please send an email to:

Negotiations with Elsevier

Elsevier and other Academic Libraries

The following links provide context to where other major academic universities ended up with their Elsevier negotiations:

NERL and Elsevier Northeastern Research Library Consortium and Elsevier reached an agreement for piloting back file flips to open access of content

SUNY and Elsevier SUNY reduced title access to 248 core titles and achieved a 10% APC cost break on article publishing for SUNY authors in Elsevier journals

Texas Universities Coalition and Elsevier Over 40 research libraries in Texas spent 18 months to achieve the result of their historic deal costing $23 million for 800 titles shared among the participating academic libraries

UC Libraries and Elsevier The California Digital Library were unable to reach a deal  with their initial negotiations and it took an extended timeframe to reach an agreement during which the UC campuses lost access to journals and eventually achieved a subscription deal that provided for open access publishing by UC authors

UNC Libraries and Elsevier The UNC Libraries ended up reducing both their expenditure and access to Elsevier journals

UW Libraries and Elsevier The University of Washington Libraries have declared an impasse in their negotiations are are expecting to enter January 2023 with a loss of access to journal content

UW Libraries Signs one year Contract with Elsevier The University of Washington Libraries has reduced the title offering to Elsevier content and signed a one year agreement that results in their saving $650,000 from their previous Elsevier deal