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Elsevier Subscription Renewal

UK universities and Elsevier agree three-year Read & Publish deal to support transition to Open Access for UK Research

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Elsevier and UK universities, led by Jisc, have established an agreement to enable continued reading access for UK researchers and to enable open access publishing. When publishing in eligible Elsevier journals, authors will be able to choose to publish open access at no additional cost to the author.

This agreement is effective until the end of December 2024 and significantly reduces the total sector spend:

  • it provides a reduction on subscription spend to all UK universities;
  • it ensures a discount on Article Processing Charges, and a cap on price increases for open access publishing in Elsevier's portfolio of fully open access titles.

Key highlights of the Read & Publish agreement

Authors who publish under this agreement can:

  • Publish their peer-reviewed research open access in hybrid journals, at no charge to the author.
  • Publish their peer-reviewed research in fully gold open access journals at a discount on the list price APC.

The author must be the submitting corresponding author affiliated with the University of Edinburgh, and the articles must have an acceptance date between 1 Jan 2022 and 31 Dec 2024.

Negotiation objectives and outcome

The sector's negotiations with Elsevier began in March 2020. The negotiations have been led by the sector and facilitated by Jisc. The main priorities established at the start of the sector’s negotiations with Elsevier are:

  1. Support full and immediate open access to research
  2. Reduce and constrain costs
  3. Build confidence that the charges for the Elsevier agreement are fair and reasonable
  4. Deliver full compliance with funder policies and improvements in service

The agreement provides unlimited and immediate open access to Elsevier ScienceDirect’s publications, as well as significant savings on total sector spend. This means that, alongside the sector’s other open access agreements, 80% of UK research can be made open access at no cost to authors through 'Read & Publish' transformative agreements.

'Read & Publish' transformative agreements

A Read & Publish agreement is where institutions pay one fee to read paywalled content and to enable their authors to publish OA in a journal or group of journals. Typically, the "read" element of the fee is based on current subscription spend and the "publish" element of the fee is based on recent APC spend or recent published output. The Library has signed up to 20 agreements with publishers which enables researchers to seamlessly publish their work open access in over 10,000 journals. A full list can be consulted in the link below:

Read & Publish journals

Other ways the Library is supporting Open Access

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of open research, and these Transformative Agreements are an important way for UK universities and authors to publish their research open access at no cost to researchers and at a sustainable cost to their institution whilst supporting funder and government policy. However, there is growing evidence that this kind of OA model can disadvantage scholars from low and middle income countries and less wealthy institutions. This is at odds with our institutions commitments to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

As a counterpoint we are trying to back free-at-point-of-use open access publishing (sometimes known as Diamond open access). The Library has set up a service to host open access books and journals called Edinburgh Diamond:

Edinburgh Diamond: Library supported open access publishing

Diamond open access logo
Edinburgh Diamond: Library Supported Open Access Journals

We host around 20 open access journals based at the University of Edinburgh that are free for authors to submit publications to. The Library absorbs the cost of publishing and offers this service free to University staff members. This helps solve a local problem, but doesn't address the global issues. With this in mind the Library tries to support as many 'diamond OA' initiatives, like Subscribe2Open where publishers flip their journals to become fully open access, but are supported by continuing Library memberships. We support initiatives like the Open Library of Humanities, and international pre-print servers like arXiv, by paying annual membership fees, for example: 

Open Library of Humanities

If you have any suggestions where you think the Library could further support open access publishing (for example preprint servers or academic-led publishing initiatives) please get in touch with the Scholarly Communications Team and we may be able to find funding to support them.


Elsevier-UK Institutional Agreement (

Jisc-Elsevier ScienceDirect national journal negotiations (

Scholarly Communications Team

Contact details



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  • You can book a one-to one video consultation with an expert from our team. If you want to find out more about open access (journals, funding, policies etc ), Copyright & Intellectual Property, General publishing activities (request an ISBN or DOI), or research metrics (using Web Of Science or Scopus) please contact our team via email to book a session at a time that suits you.