A message from Provost Bob Blouin and University Librarian Elaine Westbrooks

Dear members of the Carolina community, 

We are writing to let you know that, despite more than a year of sustained negotiations, the publisher Elsevier has failed to provide an affordable path for UNC-Chapel Hill to renew our bundled package of approximately 2,000 e-journal titles. As a result, we will not renew this package when it expires on April 30, 2020. Instead, the University Libraries will subscribe to a much smaller set of individual Elsevier titles. 

You can find the new list of subscribed titles online at https://library.unc.edu/collections/elsevier-subscribed-titles.  

Background 

For two decades, Carolina has licensed a large package of e-journal titles from Elsevier. During this time, subscription costs have increased steadily. Extending our current license would now cost $2.6 million annually, a price that is unaffordable and unsustainable. 

This problem is not unique to Carolina. Last year, the University of California system terminated its Elsevier subscriptions entirely after failing to reach a satisfactory agreement. Other leading universities worldwide have greatly reduced their Elsevier subscriptions. 

In 2019, the University Libraries launched the Sustainable Scholarship initiative to share information with the University community about the growing cost of scholarly information and about Carolina’s commitment to affordability, sustainability, transparency and open access. 

This spring, the University Libraries launched a campus survey to solicit important information about researcher use of Elsevier titles. That information, along with data about actual use, costs and other factors, has informed the decisions about which titles to retain. 

Going forward 

The University Libraries is committed to providing you access to Elsevier content through both new and existing channels. All members of the Carolina community may use the following services at no charge:  

  1. 24-hour document delivery via Interlibrary Loan – The University Libraries’ ILL service will provide access to journal articles within 24 hours, delivered directly to your email. 
  1. Two- to four- hour expedited document delivery service – For faculty and graduate students who need faster access, the Libraries has implemented an expedited delivery service that will freely deliver articles in two to four hours, even outside of business hours.   

Visit https://web.lib.unc.edu/carolinablu/ (or https://illiad.lib.unc.edu/NOH/ for Health Affairs affiliates) to learn more.  

As we transition to these new ways of providing access to Elsevier titles, we wish to ensure that faculty and students at Carolina have the resources they need. We welcome your feedback at journalfeedback@unc.edu  

Please note that this subscription decision does not limit your ability to publish, edit or peer review for Elsevier or any other publisher. However, if you are interested in helping to curb the cost of scholarly publication, we invite you to learn about ways that you can take action. 

We would like to thank the staff of the University Libraries, the Administrative Board of the Library, Faculty Council and all those who have helped us reach this important decision on behalf of Carolina.  

Sincerely,  

Bob Blouin
Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost  

Elaine L. Westbrooks
Vice Provost for University Libraries & University Librarian  

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