Elsevier and the UK

Partnering with the UK research community

For 140 years, Elsevier has had a proud tradition of serving the UK research community. We’d like to tell you about the ways we do this, so we have gathered some examples here:

Growing from our roots in publishing, with titles such as The Lancet and Cell in our portfolio of 2,600+ journals, Elsevier offers knowledge and valuable analytics that help our research and health partners make breakthroughs and drive societal progress.

We do this by facilitating insights and critical decision-making for customers across the research and health ecosystems and applying artificial intelligence technologies like machine

We serve governments, academic and corporate researchers, research leaders, scientists, doctors, nurses and health educators and their students to help them achieve better outcomes with evidence-based data and analytics.

Elsevier is also proud to support the research community through our partnerships with UK universities. These include sponsoring research projects, PhD studentships, fellowships, support for early career researchers, and initiatives to enhance inclusion and diversity in research, and awards to recognise and celebrate the world-class research that happens in the UK.

We have publicly committed to ensuring that research can be published open access with Elsevier should a researcher or institution choose that route, and we are hopeful that our current negotiations with Jisc will enable this in a sustainable way for all parties.

Elsevier operates five sites across the UK and employs over 1,500 people. We are part of RELX, a FTSE 20 company headquartered in London.

Supporting the UK’s world-class research and innovation base

The UK’s research base is indisputably world-leading. The UK punches well above its weight, accounting for 2.5% of the world’s R&D funding and 4% of the world's researchers, but over 6% of the world’s research articles and nearly 14% of the most highly cited articles. In terms of research output, the UK ranks third in the share of articles globally, behind the US and China, but first in quality amongst comparator countries.

As a publisher of quality research with more than 2,600 journals, and as an information analytics provider, Elsevier is committed to supporting the UK's knowledge economy and its research base. We believe that the combination of quality content and technology is a key driver of a collaborative, inclusive and transparent world of research where researchers can share knowledge and build on each other’s work to advance science and health outcomes.

Our contributions focus on four principal areas:

  1. Analyses of research performance, including impact, using and developing our analytics capabilities.
  2. Promoting inclusive research, including open science and inclusion and diversity and improving research.
  3. Ensuring reproducibility of research and safeguarding the integrity of scientific record.
  4. Partnering with academia, NGOs and corporate R&D in research collaborations.

We continue to support education, training, careers and participation in science, technology and medicine. As a business and working in partnership with the communities we serve, we will continue to drive inclusion and diversity across all fields of science

Using data and AI to support UK research

RELX focuses a significant amount of R&D investment on developing content and technology and applying data science and artificial intelligence. The UK is a strategically important centre for our digital product development.

Elsevier's global advanced technology hub is located in London, enabling us to access the UK's extensive and growing technology talent. It also facilitates our partnerships with leading mathematics and computer science departments of UK universities.

Over the last decade, we have partnered with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to provide data and analytics that present an objective view of how the UK performs globally, with reports in 2011, 2014 and 2017. BEIS now uses our data to produce further reports, including the International comparison of the UK research base, 2019. In 2021, we published the report 'A performance based assessment of the Welsh research base’, which looks at the research produced by Welsh universities, partnerships and other institutions between 2010 and 2018

In 2011 and 2014, Elsevier supported the UK's Research Excellence Framework (REF), and in 2021, we were proud to support the UK’s first ever Knowledge Excellence Framework (KEF). Elsevier has helped over 56,000 researchers and 155 institutions as a data provider and partner in many prestigious rankings, customised reports, and national assessment exercises.

We are also working with the research community to make data-driven decisions at an institutional level: 19 of the 24 Russell Group Universities use our analytics tools, including SciVal and Scopus, and we have worked with them to develop our tools to meet their needs more specifically.

We recently worked with The Welsh Government Office for Science on a report to evaluate Wales’s research performance in areas related to the Sustainable Development Goals. The report demonstrates Wales’ research strength overall and in particular related to the SDG’s targeting the planet, and is available here.

Supporting early career researchers in STEM

Researchers at Lancaster University

  • Since 2011, Elsevier has partnered with the US-UK Fulbright Commission to support early-career researchers (ECRs) based in the UK. Through annual Fulbright Awards, this partnership continues to help established ECRs advance in their careers.
  • Through the Elsevier Early Career Researcher UK Awards, we have recognised and rewarded 35 researchers for making a significant contribution to their field and having a positive effect on society.
  • Through our gift to Oxford University, we have provided the Mathematical Institute with the opportunity to establish new fellowships for early-career mathematicians.
  • Since 2017, we have supported seven Centres for Doctoral Training across five UK universities: Lancaster, Imperial, Southampton, Cambridge and Oxford.

Elsevier's UK research

As well as publishing the research of others, Elsevier seeks to contribute to significant topics of the day and provide analysis of data which will advance the thinking of others. Examples include:

Supporting open access

Advancing open access infographic

Open access is an integral part of our commitment to a collaborative, inclusive and transparent world of research where authors, researchers and academic institutions can share knowledge and build on each other's work to advance outcomes. We offer a wide range of open access options to fit the diverse needs of researchers around the world. We listen to our customers and collaborate with them to achieve their research goals. We do so without ever compromising the things they trust us for: quality, rigorous peer review and research integrity.

In 2020 UK researchers published more than 17,000 articles in Elsevier journals; about 6,000 of these were open access. The UK is currently on track for more than 85% of all articles to be published via gold open access by 2022, with Elsevier expecting to account for more than 20% of these.

Learn more about how Elsevier is advancing open access

Supporting inclusion and diversity

Elsevier CEO Kumsal Bayazit gives a townhall for employees.

At Elsevier, we are committed to playing our part to contribute to progress in inclusion and diversity. Last year, we launched Elsevier’s Inclusion and Diversity Advisory Board.

Through the creation of this board, we resolve to:

  • Work with research leaders, funding bodies and higher education institutions to drive gender and racial & ethnic equity across the STEM academic career path.
  • Work with academics, publishers, and funders to promote greater gender and racial & ethnic diversity and inclusion as well as geographic representation in editorial boards, peer review and scientific conferences while supporting publication and inclusive participation in research.
  • Promote inclusion and diversity best practices to help foster diverse and inclusive future generations of STEM graduates.
  • Encourage enhanced sex and gender-based analysis and reporting in research studies.
  • Work with our network of stakeholders to influence and address inequality in the communities we serve.
  • Publish an annual report to highlight areas of progress and summarize the actions of the I&D Advisory Board.

Read more about Elsevier’s I&D Advisory Board

Read Elsevier’s reports on gender in research

Working with Jisc

In 2017, JISC collections, the licensing service provider for the UK's research institutions, and Elsevier signed a five-year landmark agreement to boost research access and collaborate on open science.

Jisc Collections, representing UK universities, and Elsevier have commenced formal negotiations towards a transformative agreement that will enable open access publishing for UK researchers and universities. This agreement will support 157 institutions with the objective of enabling researchers to publish their articles open access, thereby sharing their latest research immediately and globally at the point of publication. The agreement will also give the UK’s research community continued access to the subscription articles in Elsevier’s journals  .

We are confident an agreement will be reached given that both Jisc and Elsevier have demonstrated their ability to collaborate and reach agreements that deliver open access options. For example, Jisc has successfully negotiated 30 open access agreements with publishers of all sizes, and over the past two years, Elsevier has negotiated 17 transformative agreements, each one tailored to the diverse needs of customers around the world.

Consistent with Jisc’s priorities, Elsevier is committed to supporting UK higher education’s transition to open access while ensuring the associated costs are both fair and reasonable, with cost reduction options for the UK research community.

These shared goals are at the forefront of our discussions, and through collaboration and determination on both sides, we are confident we will reach an agreement swiftly. In doing so we believe that the extraordinary work of the UK’s world-class research community can continue to have a significant impact in advancing research globally and improving health outcomes.

The existing Jisc-Elsevier ScienceDirect Journal Collection agreement started in 2017 and will end in 2021; it is the UK's most significant subscription agreement with an academic publisher. In 2020, UK researchers published more than 17,000 articles in Elsevier journals; about 6,000 of these were open access.

In 2020, Elsevier globally published nearly 81,000 gold or pay-to-publish OA articles, an increase of 65% over 2019, making it one of the largest open access publishers in the world. Nearly all of Elsevier's 2,600+ journals enable OA publishing.

Statement in response to official announcement of UKRI Policy

Elsevier fully supports open access as part of our commitment to ensuring that quality research can be published, shared and built upon to accelerate progress for society. We will work with the research community to enable UKRI-funded researchers to comply with UKRI’s new open access policy, through route 1. For more information on Elsevier’s support for UK research and innovation click here.

Frequently asked questions

Jisc and Elsevier are committed to establishing a transformative agreement for universities across the UK. Our negotiations have made an excellent start in moving towards this joint goal. We look forward to further constructive conversations with the intention of the new contract being in place for the beginning of 2022.

The current JISC Elsevier ScienceDirect Journal Collection agreement started in 2017 and will end on 31st December 2021.

In 2020, Elsevier received about £45 million in subscription fees from UK university subscribers to read content published in 1,808 subscription journals.

Yes, UK researchers can (and do) already publish open access in Elsevier's journals. While we currently offer UK institutions a prepay discount scheme for their researchers, we recognise that institutions are concerned with two sets of costs for reading and for publishing, and would like budget certainty for the future. This is one of the reasons we are working with Jisc on a transformative agreement in the UK to support those researchers who choose to publish open access to do so, while supporting institutions in making this transition.

Yes. Due to the ongoing and unprecedented financial turbulence facing UK universities in 2020, Elsevier and Jisc agreed that all 157 subscribers to the ScienceDirect Journal Collection Agreement would be provided with a one-time relief credit for the value of 10% of an institution’s total subscription and hybrid open access spend. Institutions were able to use this relief credit against their 2021 subscription spend, or to create a draw-down pot to be used for APCs in hybrid journals, or a mix of both.

Our overarching principle remains to price below the market average while delivering above-average quality, and publicly available data shows this is the case. Based on our data and article volume growth, UK universities, on average, pay the lowest cost per use compared to other major scientific publishers to access articles with 40% higher-than-average quality. Our figures show that Elsevier's subscription article volume has grown at close to 5% annually, compared to the market average of 2.5%, over the last 10 years. Alongside this, the quality of the articles we publish has continued to increase and is 40% higher than the industry average. The value of Elsevier's agreement with UK universities was recognised by the UK negotiating body, Jisc Collections, in this statement.

In 2020, Elsevier approached Jisc about switching their existing contract to a transformative agreement supporting their open access ambitions. However, it was mutually agreed to leave this element for inclusion in the new 2022 contract. We are fully committed to reaching a transformative agreement, as we have done with 17 other institutions/consortia globally.

Our commitment to the UK — fast facts

  • In 2020, UK researchers published more than 17,000 articles in Elsevier journals via the existing subscription contract. About 6,000 of these were open access.
  • Our UK Research Factsheet was produced for government departments, funders and researcher leaders to better understand the UK research ecosystem.
  • Our existing partnership with Jisc has helped us find new ways to support the UK research community and accelerate the implementation of open science
  • 20 UK-based academic societies entrust Elsevier to publish 40 journals on their behalf and promote the latest findings globally.

Explore more

Open access journals
Find an overview of OA journals published by Elsevier.

View the list of gold open access journals

Open access books
Find out about our open access book publishing options.

Read more about open access books

Open Archive
Elsevier provides free access to archived material in selected Elsevier journals.

View the list of Elsevier open archive journals

Journal Embargo Finder
Search tool to find the embargo period for your Elsevier journal.

Find journal embargo periods