UD and Elsevier: FAQs

Why did UD terminate its subscriptions with Elsevier?

In response to a University-mandated budget reduction brought about by the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Library needed to quickly and strategically reduce spending on books, journals, and databases during the 2020-2021 academic year (FY21). As of November 9, 2020, the reduction to the collections budget was set at $3.4 million; that represents a reduction of 28% (see the Nov. 13, 2020 message from Trevor Dawes, Vice Provost for Libraries and Museums and May Morris University Librarian.) Eighty-eight percent (88%) of the collections budget is allocated to subscriptions (journals, ejournals, databases), most of which renew each year on January 1.

To meet this reduction requirement, the decision was made in early November to cancel the subscription to the Elsevier ejournal package. This was announced to the campus community on Nov. 6, 2020, with the full support of Provost Robin Morgan.

What Elsevier articles can I still access via ScienceDirect?

UD’s contract for Elsevier journals ended on December 31, 2020. Therefore, we do not have access to new articles published after that date. Researchers will need to use other methods (see below) to access articles published from January 2021 onward. ScienceDirect can still be used to access articles published prior to 2021 or journals that are published as open access. To determine which years are available at UD, you can search the E-Journals portal. An Excel list of the affected journal titles will also be available.

How can I access Elsevier articles in other ways?

UD Library staff are prepared to help you get the articles you need. Our Alternate Methods of Accessing Journal Articles guide provides instructions for how to access articles in other ways. For example, UD researchers can use tools like Google Scholar, Unpaywall, and Open Access Button to quickly find open access copies, which are free to read online, when available; email the corresponding author listed in the abstract to request a copy; or use the Interlibrary Loan Request Form to get it from the library.

Some Elsevier journals or select articles are freely available (open access). Consult the ScienceDirect web page for information and access.

Is there still a way for me to stay up-to-date with the latest articles published in an Elsevier journal?

You can use ScienceDirect Alerts to discover newly published articles in specific journals by setting up alerts, or get notified of new articles that match your search queries. If the journal is not one of Elsevier’s open access titles, you will need to use one of the methods described in our Alternate Methods of Accessing Journal Articles guide.

Will UD consider resubscribing to Elsevier Journals?

When funds are available we will consider resubscribing to individual titles, but we will not reinstate the full ScienceDirect package.

Why are scholarly journal subscriptions so expensive?

Because the publishing of so many academic journals is consolidated under the control of so few publishers, there is a lack of competition and market forces at play. As a result, subscription costs rise faster than many consumers — in this case, scholars and academic institutions — can sustain. Meanwhile, these rapidly escalating subscription prices generate large profit margins for commercial publishers.

Can I continue to edit, review for, or publish in Elsevier journals?

Yes. It is up to you to decide which journals you edit or review for, and where you choose to publish your research.

Still need help?

If you’re having trouble finding an open access copy of an article or using the Interlibrary Loan service, library staff are available to help.  For immediate help use the Ask the Library chat service or contact your subject librarian.

Where can I express my concerns about the journal and database cancellations?

We appreciate your understanding as we all work through these rather challenging times together. The Library, Museums and Press remains firmly committed to supporting your research and teaching at the University of Delaware. Please reach out to Trevor Dawes, Vice Provost for Libraries and Museums and May Morris University Librarian, Erin Daix, Interim Associate University Librarian for Acquisitions and Collections Services,  or your subject librarian if you have any concerns.