In an op-ed in Times Higher Education (THE) August 21, Gemma Hersh, Elsevier's SVP of Global Research Solutions, shares Elsevier's perspective following cancelled subscriptions in Germany, Sweden and California. She writes in detail about the obstacles that were encountered, while reiterating Elsevier's support for open access and our hope to find sustainable solutions that work for individual research communities.
Elsevier deeply regrets this situation. We fully support open access. And we recognise the benefits and importance of open access to many research communities. By sharing our perspective, we hope to build support to move things forward globally.
Consortia in Germany, Sweden and California all wanted all their researchers’ output to be published gold open access, which Elsevier fully supported, Gemma explains. However, they also wanted their researchers to be able to access articles published under the subscription model an no extra cost. That was a key obstacle in the negotations with the University of California:
If the world became gold open access overnight, there would be nothing to subscribe to, and CDL would only need to pay to publish UC’s articles. But this is far from today’s reality. To make progress, we need to work on a solution that addresses the fact that the large majority of the world’s published research is not yet gold open access.
Going forward, Gemma says her Elsevier colleagues hope to work closely with each consortium to find solutions that meet their individual needs:
We believe that the most fruitful way to achieve open access is to work constructively, step by step, country by country, based on the circumstances. There is no silver bullet. The challenges are complex, but they can be overcome with creativity, flexibility, commitment and pragmatism.
To keep you informed of our progress with the University of California, we have set up an informational page and FAQ: UC Digital Library and Elsevier.