mobile menu decorative search icon decorativeSearch the site

Elsevier ScienceDirect negotiations

The Library subscribes to a rich collection of digital resources which are essential to support the research, teaching and learning needs of the University community. The largest of these subscriptions is with Elsevier and is due for renewal in December 2021.

Transitional agreements

Graphic of the UK

As part of our long-term commitment to open access publishing, the Library has signed up to an increasing number of transitional agreements with academic publishers. These agreements gradually convert our subscription costs to support open access publishing whilst maintaining access to paywalled content:

Driving this change is a requirement from most major research funders that grant-holders provide open access to the outputs of their research and not share their work behind expensive subscription paywalls.


Elsevier is the largest academic publisher in the world; around one out of every five UK articles is published in an Elsevier-owned journal. The current Elsevier agreement is also our most expensive annual subscription at £1.6m.

Elsevier is unusual in that they have not yet established a transitional open access agreement with UK universities as other major publishers have. Within the current agreement, the University must pay an additional charge of between £120 - £7,800 per article to ensure immediate Open Access.

Hybrid Open Access statement

To limit our overall open access publishing costs, and to support the long-term transition to predominantly open access publishing models, the University no longer pays open access charges outside of transitional deals.


Next steps

The current subscription-only agreement with Elsevier is due for renewal in December 2021, with negotiations led by a UUK/Jisc Negotiations Team on behalf of the sector. The aim of the negotiations is to secure a transitional agreement with Elsevier supporting immediate 100% open access publishing, and maintaining access to paywalled content for a reduced fee.  Find out more:

The Library is coordinating the University's contribution to those national discussions, and working with representatives from all academic disciplines via the Open Research Strategy Group. Professor Colette Fagan (Vice-President for Research) is also representing the University as a member of a UUK/Jisc group which is providing overall governance for the negotiations.

Get in touch

As the negotiations progress we would like to hear your views, or answer any questions you might have about the process.

Please contact us at