Elsevier and Open Access

At Elsevier, we believe in open science and open access to knowledge. We’ve built a wide-ranging portfolio of Open Access publishing options for authors and researchers across all subject areas.

As a result, nearly all of Elsevier’s 2,600 journals already enable open access publishing, including more than 500 fully open access journals, and numerous transformative agreements. We have now applied for transformative journal status for a large number of journals from across our portfolio. These titles, including many by Cell Press, commit to transformative journal criteria. Please see the full list of transformative journals and visit the relevant individual journal home pages for more information.

We are guided by the diverse needs of researchers around the world and remain committed to offering the broadest possible choice to authors for publishing their work with Elsevier. We will ensure that any author who wants to publish open access in any one of our journals, across all disciplines of research, can do so while also meeting their funder’s requirements.

Fast facts on open access

  1. More than 2,300 of our 2,600 journals offer the option to publish open access and make an article freely available.
  2. We help hundreds of institutions around the globe build their own open access programs by providing them with a cloud-hosted infrastructure using Digital Commons. More than 4.3 million open access articles are surfaced via Digital Commons and have been shared nearly a billion times.
  3. We are one of the fastest-growing open access publishers. In 2019, we published over 49,000 gold open access articles, 40% more than the previous year .
  4. In 2019, we launched 100 new gold open access journals, bringing today's total to over 500 Elsevier-published fully OA titles. These sit alongside more than 1,900 hybrid journals that already offer the option to publish open access.
  5. To support the extraordinary efforts of the health and research communities combatting coronavirus, we have created a range of free resources, including textbooks and evidence-based clinical guidance as we have done for other health emergencies. At the time of writing more than 38,000 research articles on COVID-19 and related articles are freely available to read, download and data mine, with more being added each day. There have been more than 94 million downloads of these articles. We've also made this corpus available to available to PubMed Central, the archive of biomedical and life science at the US National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine, and other publicly funded repositories globally, such as the WHO COVID database, for as long as needed while the public health emergency is ongoing.

Infographic: How Elsevier supports open access

Our recent transformative agreements to progress open access

Over the past 12 months, Elsevier has formed numerous pilot agreements around the world that support the open science and open access research ambitions of institutions and university consortia.

Each of these agreements is tailored to the specific needs of our partners, ranging from reading and publishing services, to broader areas such as reproducibility, transparency and collaboration in research. Our aim is to test and learn, to better understand how we can support all our customers’ differing needs.

We may not have all the answers from ‘day one’ but where we are united in our goal, we aim to test, learn and progress in partnership with the communities that we serve.

Collaborating to support open access policies

Elsevier is firmly committed to advancing scientific and healthcare outcomes through more open, reproducible and collaborative scholarly communication and knowledge systems. We collaborate with all stakeholders in this endeavour, including governmental, policy and industry initiatives. We share the goal of making high quality research outputs publicly available. We believe this must be done in a manner that is both fair to the researcher/author and sustainable for the partner publisher, while ensuring that innovative frameworks may be tested in the marketplace because, in our view, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all' model. You can find here our responses to open science and open access policy reviews and initiatives around the world.

FAQ on Elsevier and open access

How does Elsevier support open access?

We firmly believe in open and frictionless access to knowledge for everyone and we are one of the world's leading open access publishers. Almost all our 2,500 journals already offer immediate open access options and we are working to find a sustainable path for extending this to all our titles

In 2019 we published nearly 50,000 open access articles – an increase of 40% on the year before. We work closely with our customers to reach agreements that support their open access goals.

In the last year, we’ve forged numerous transformative agreements with institutions and consortia around the world that help support open access. Those include a first of its kind agreement in The Netherlands, which delivers immediate open access on nearly all Dutch-published research, full access to subscription articles and the joint development of a vendor neutral, interoperable open science infrastructure.

Does Elsevier support public access to tax-payer funded research?

Yes, and we enable this in many ways. We encourage researchers, whether funded by government or other sources, to make the manuscripts that they submit to Elsevier - so-called preprints - publicly available for free immediately. For example, researchers can use our SSRN service, a pre-print server that provides 13.1m annual downloads.

They can also publicly share all working papers and write-ups of their research results. Elsevier's policy on pre-prints is simple: authors can share their pre-print anywhere at any time. In that way, the outputs of government-funded research can be shared immediately to tax-payers and the general public at no additional cost to tax-payers.

In addition, since 2006, we voluntarily deposit all Elsevier-published National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded manuscripts to PubMed Central (PMC), a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. We account for vastly more open access manuscripts on PMC than any other publisher. We also make available manuscripts funded by other US government agencies via CHORUS, a public access initiative of which we are a founding member. We also support authors archiving their accepted manuscripts in repositories such as the one operated by the California Digital Library, and we provide free-to-use platforms and outlets for the public sharing of accepted manuscripts and research data-sets.

What’s the situation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)?

MIT’s decision to end our negotiations and cancel access to ScienceDirect from July 31st is a genuine disappointment, as Elsevier shares its goal of advancing open science for the public good. In the last year, we have completed numerous transformative agreements with institutions in the US and globally that progress open and frictionless access to knowledge. We had wished to do the same with MIT, to jointly build a sustainable path to full open access through a pilot. We want to continue to serve the MIT community in advancing its world-renowned research and hope to find a path forward to support the important work they do before the end of the year.

For more information, read our article on Elsevier’s negotiations with the MIT.

What’s the situation with California Digital Library?

We’re pleased to confirm that Elsevier and the University of California have agreed to re-start formal negotiations. This follows continued informal dialogue in recent months that indicate potential for progress. Elsevier is committed to reaching an agreement that provides open access publishing of the highest quality at good value for the UC system and that supports the important work of its researchers.

What’s the situation with DEAL in Germany?

We remain in close dialogue with the HRK and both sides have publicly expressed a desire to reach an agreement later this year. Whilst both parties are keen to return to the negotiating table, we understand that the HRK has a number of things it needs to work through before negotiations can resume. Chief among these is the issue of adapting the German funding system to prepare for an increasingly publication-based financial model, which has been a matter of some public discussion.

We recognize that, especially during a time of great global uncertainty, flexibility is very important, so we remain ready to move forward whenever the HRK is able to do so.