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Library Subject Guides

Open access: Latest news and trends: Subscription cancellations

Why are libraries cancelling subscriptions?

"Today, five corporate publishers control a majority market share of academic journals. Consequently, they control production, distribution, impact measures, and, most importantly, pricing. For years, the academic community has been trying to work with publishers to lower skyrocketing journal costs. However, the centralization of journals into fewer hands has created substantial power differentials between academic institutions and corporate publishers in journal price negotiations."


The tipping point

In 2019 the University of California cancelled their subscription with Elsevier. They wanted to accomplish two main goals:

(1)   Enable universal open access to all UC research; and

(2)   Contain the excessively high costs associated with licensing journals.

In March 2021, the University of California and Elsevier successfully negotiated a deal.

These negotiations show the difficulty of securing universal open access to research while containing the rapidly escalating costs associated with for-profit journals.

What's happening now?

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