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Cambridge University Library

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Academic publisher Elsevier has made a seventh proposal for a read-and-publish deal to the national negotiation team. Whilst negotiations are continuing, Elsevier has agreed to maintain our current read-access to journals beyond the current subscription’s expiry date of 31 December 2021. 


The background 

In October 2021, the UK Higher Education sector was unified in supporting the rejection of Elsevier's previous (sixth) proposal, on the grounds that it did not yet meet the two core objectives of the negotiations ‘to reduce costs to levels which are sustainable, and facilitate rapid transition to full and immediate open access to UK research.’ You can read the full statement by the sector, made on 28 October 2021 by University Alliance, Guild HE Research, Russell Group, and Million Plus. Jisc's response to this statement is also available.  


The seventh proposal - what happens now? 

The national negotiation team believe this seventh proposal is a positive move forward, and there will now be a sector consultation on the proposal. 

At Cambridge, the Journals Coordination Scheme (JCS) Steering Committee will look at the details of the seventh proposal, in discussion with key academic leads already nominated by each School of the University. Their analysis and recommendations will be informed by the very helpful feedback we have received from all of you in our academic community throughout the year. 

Between 1-24 November, a consultation document was sent to Departments, Faculties, Schools and non-School Institutions within the University, gathering feedback on the significance of Elsevier titles for teaching and research within each discipline of the university.   

We have welcomed additional comments at any time from any member of the university, and you can still contribute your thoughts via our feedback form or by emailing  

Throughout the year, your feedback has informed our ‘Plan B’ preparations for alternative access and open access publishing should a deal not be reached. It’s important to stress that no decision has yet been reached and negotiations are still ongoing.    

Many of the rapid developments we have made at Cambridge University Libraries to facilitate finding and accessing material in a ‘Plan B’ scenario have immediate benefits for all our library users. The Lean Library browser extension and Rapid Inter-Library Loans are available to users to make discovery and delivery of non-subscription items as seamless as possible, and we are strengthening and promoting networks for sharing within copyright. We have also outlined a range of pathways for publishing open access.  

It has been our priority since March 2021 to engage our academic community with these negotiations in order that your interests are represented. Thank you for your time and effort in highlighting the factors that are most important to you.  

We will share more details of the seventh offer as soon as possible, and encourage you to visit our Elsevier webpages for the fullest discussion of the situation.   



With thanks to the University of Leeds and Jisc for the use of their materials in preparing this statement.