Kevin McCarty
KU Libraries

University of Kansas Libraries sign transformative open access agreements with Elsevier, Cambridge University Press

Fri, 02/17/2023

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LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Libraries have signed a pair of renegotiated deals aimed at supporting open access and broadening the reach of KU-generated research. Through a pair of transformative read-and-publish agreements with Elsevier — the world’s largest scientific publishing company — and Cambridge University Press — the world’s oldest university publisher — KU Libraries have increased the number of scholarly journals available for reading to KU students and researchers and will cover the costs of open access article processing charges (APCs) for eligible articles by KU corresponding authors, broadening the potential reach of the work.

In a three-year agreement with Elsevier, the KU community will maintain existing access to more than 2,000 journals, while covering APCs for KU corresponding authors who opt in to publish articles as open access. Historically, publishers have used a subscription model in which authors publish in a journal and their content remains behind a paywall for journal subscribers only. In an open access publishing model, articles are available to all readers regardless of subscription status, often under a Creative Commons license that enables sharing and reuse. While not all open access is supported by APCs, they have become a common model. Subscription journals that publish some open access articles on payment of an APC are referred to as hybrid open access.

The new agreement, negotiated over the last 12 months for KU’s Lawrence, Edwards and Medical Center campuses, waives APCs for approximately 265 open access articles in eligible hybrid journals in each year of the deal, numbers based on total projected publishing output. The agreement also provides a 10% discount on the APC for articles published in Elsevier’s gold open access journals. Titles excluded from the agreement include Cell Press journals, The Lancet titles and a limited number of society journals.

In its deal with Cambridge University Press, KU Libraries as part of the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) negotiated an unlimited read-and-publish deal that includes both hybrid and gold open access titles. The deal expands existing read access from a little more than 100 titles to a total of 488 titles. KU corresponding authors from the Lawrence and Edwards campuses may publish openly at no cost by choosing to do so during the publication process.

“A lot of teamwork and creativity went into negotiating these deals for our campus. While we expect to continue to rethink how libraries work with publishers as we move forward in a dynamic scholarly communications environment, I’m pleased that we reached agreements that are more financially sustainable, provide our campus with access to important scholarly resources and increase the reach and impact of KU scholarship,” said Scott Hanrath, interim co-dean and associate dean of research engagement. “I’m proud of our team and what they’ve achieved for the University of Kansas.”

The deals follow other initiatives at KU aimed at supporting sustainable scholarship, including institutional support for open access publishing from the KU One-University Open Access Publishing Fund and other negotiated publishing deals with the Association for Computing Machinery, Public Library of Science (PLOS), Taylor & Francis, the Electrochemical Society (ECS) and the recently announced PeerJ pilot program.

“Openly accessible work has been found to have more impact and supports KU’s institutional priority of fueling research and discovery,” said Josh Bolick, head of the David Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright. “The work that is being created here is important; getting it out from behind a paywall means it can reach the broadest possible readership, and that’s good for the institution. It’s good for the reader in that people who don’t have subscriptions aren’t excluded from the work. It’s beneficial to the authors as it eliminates a barrier to open publishing.”

Sara E. Morris, KU Libraries’ head of collections strategy and development, said, “These deals make knowledge generated at KU available to everyone. The pandemic has demonstrated that free information gets used. This is great for citizens of the state of Kansas and the world. These agreements impact any researcher, whether faculty or grad student, at the University of Kansas. It provides the opportunity for their work to be shared with a greater audience and at no cost to them.”

For more detailed information on KU’s agreement with Elsevier, a landing page on Elsevier’s website has been created. More information about the Cambridge agreement as part of the GWLA can be found on a landing page on Cambridge’s website. Learn more about KU Libraries’ commitment to Open Access and Scholarly Communication in the Sustainable Scholarship section of the libraries’ website.

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