Members of the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) set bold negotiation objectives for the 2020 renewal with Elsevier: significantly reduce costs, increase open access, and ensure transparency of the agreement. After eleven months of negotiating, CRKN’s Content Strategy Committee (CSC) is announcing a renewal of the Elsevier ScienceDirect license, which includes:
- A 12.5% reduction for 2021, followed by a 0% change for 2022, and a 2% increase for 2023. The renewed agreement maintains access to all journals in the Freedom Collection, including former Academic Press journals, and members’ subscribed titles, with no loss of perpetual access rights. This results in cost savings of US$17.4 million over three years (when compared with a three-year contract with anticipated 2% annual increases).
- A 20% discount on Article Processing Charges (APCs) for both hybrid and gold open access journals. Cell Press, Lancet, and some other society-owned journals are excluded.
- No confidentiality or non-disclosure clause which ensures transparency and allows the terms to be shared.
These results point to an assertive and coordinated approach on behalf of CRKN members, driven by CRKN’s Licensing Principles and a multipronged strategy to increase access to research. Emboldened by the public results of the 2019 negotiation between Couperin, the French national consortium, and Elsevier, where a reduction of 13% over four years was achieved, CRKN’s CSC sought to achieve similar results. The transparency with which Couperin could speak about their new agreement with Elsevier was instrumental in providing significant leverage to CRKN’s negotiation position.
In Canada, we work collectively and collaboratively to meet shared goals. In 2020, CRKN convened a Stakeholder Alignment Group (SAG) to ensure stakeholders were involved in the negotiation process. In the first negotiation meeting with Elsevier, members of the SAG, including university presidents, representatives from the Tri-Agency, Canada Research Chairs, Canada Foundation for Innovation, U15, Universities Canada, as well as the Chief Science Advisor of Canada and the Chief Scientist of Quebec reinforced CRKN negotiation objectives, delivering a strong message of unity with CRKN and its members. Thank you to the members of the SAG, whose engagement in this process was critical to achieving success.
“A significant cost reduction of the Elsevier ScienceDirect license frees up collection budgets to make meaningful reinvestments in open access initiatives and infrastructure,” says Dr. Guylaine Beaudry, University Librarian, Concordia University and Chair of the Content Strategy Committee. “As stated in our licensing principles, we can recognize the value publishers bring to the scholarly communication system while also unequivocally rejecting unsustainable price increases, open access restrictions, and other practices that limit access to research or benefit a minority in the research ecosystem.”
“It was critical to deliver significant cost savings to our members while also increasing open access options,” says Clare Appavoo, Executive Director, CRKN. “Sustainability is at the core of our licensing program, and this decrease in costs sets the stage for a future where more content is available as open access,” continues Ms. Appavoo. “Our success with this negotiation is shared with other libraries and library consortia globally who have fought for transparency. I sincerely hope that our success can be leveraged in ongoing negotiation and approaches.”
The 2021-2023 CRKN-Elsevier ScienceDirect license includes 70 participants for a total contract value of US$95.5 million over three years.
CRKN gratefully acknowledges the collaboration of the membership throughout these negotiations, particularly by providing CRKN with a mandate to continue negotiations into the 2021 calendar year. Our ability to apply leverage to achieve our objectives is strengthened by the unity of the membership, and we would like to extend thanks to all members for their unwavering support. In particular, thanks to the entire Content Strategy Committee, including the Elsevier negotiation CSC sub-group: Guylaine Beaudry (Concordia University), Pamela Jacobs (University of Guelph), Dianne Keeping (Mount Allison University), Denise LaFitte (University of Alberta), and France Paul (Université de Sherbrooke). The CRKN-Elsevier ScienceDirect license is available on the CRKN website.
For more information, please contact:
Rebecca Ross, Senior Director, Strategy and Engagement, firstname.lastname@example.org