UC/Elsevier Agreement

The University of California’s four-year agreement with Elsevier is now in effect (April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2025).

  • Reading access to most Elsevier journals has been restored (some are still in process). If you have difficulty accessing an article from off campus, please ensure you are connected to the Library VPN or UCDH VPN Cisco AnyConnect. If you continue to encounter problems, contact us at 530-752-1978 or hslborrow@ucdavis.edu.
  • When publishing in an Elsevier journal, you will see open access as the default selection (you can opt out). UC’s 15% discount on the article publishing charge (APC) and the library’s $1,000 contribution toward it will be automatically reflected in the payment system. If you do not have research funds to pay the remainder of the APC, you can request that the library pay the full amount.

Learn More

Author webinar: On Friday, April 9 we invited UC Davis authors to learn more about the agreement and how the shared payment system for open access publishing in Elsevier journals will work. A recording will be posted here in the coming days.

Learn more below and on the UC Office of Scholarly Communication website.


Contact us at elsevierquestions [at] ucdavis.edu.

Looking for a particular journal? Search the UC Office of Scholarly Communication’s full list of titles included for reading access and open access publishing (link will open a spreadsheet in Box).


  • Nearly all Elsevier journals are available for members of the UC community to read under the agreement. However, due to the large volume of journals for which permissions must be changed as the agreement goes into effect, reading access to some titles is still in process.
  • Journals not included in the agreement include a small number of societies that have chosen to exclude their journals from publishing and/or reading under transformative agreements.
  • UC’s systemwide agreement also does not include the Clinics medical journals; UC Davis is exploring which of these we will subscribe to separately for our campus in the coming weeks.
  • If you cannot access a particular journal or article, please contact us at 530-752-1978 or hslborrow@ucdavis.edu.


  • Eligible journals: The agreement provides for open access publishing of UC research in nearly 2,300 Elsevier journals. The Cell Press and Lancet families of journals will be integrated by midway through the four-year agreement.
  • Author eligibility: The open access publishing agreement applies to corresponding authors who are UC affiliates (e.g., faculty, researchers, clinicians, staff, graduate students) publishing in an Elsevier journal.
  • Eligible types of articles: All article types are covered by the agreement as long as they have the option for paying an article publishing fee (APC) for open access.  These include: full length articles, short communications, short surveys, reviews, data in brief, case reports, microarticles, original software publications, video articles, insights and protocols.
  • Library support: All articles with a UC corresponding author will be published open access by default, with the library automatically paying the first $1,000 of the open access fee (also known as an article publishing charge or APC). Authors will be asked to pay the remainder of the APC if they have research funds available to do so.
  • Discounts: UC has negotiated a 15 percent discount on the APCs for most Elsevier journals; the discount is 10 percent for the Cell Press and Lancet families of journals. Additionally, most per-page and color charges have been discontinued under this agreement. All discounts apply immediately from the start of the agreement.
  • Full funding for those who need it: To ensure that all authors have the opportunity to publish their work open access, the library will cover the full amount of the APC for those who do not have sufficient research funds for the author share.
  • Author’s choice: Authors may opt out of open access publishing if they wish; in most cases this will transfer the copyright for the article to Elsevier instead of the author retaining copyright.

About the financial model: As with UC’s other recent open access agreements, the Elsevier agreement integrates library and author payments into a single, cost-controlled contract. This shared funding model enables the University to reallocate a portion of the libraries’ journals budget to help subsidize authors’ APCs, making it easier and more affordable for authors to choose to publish open access. This transformative agreement offers UC more value for its dollar, and supports the university’s goal of enabling free and open access to UC research. This model should be more sustainable, assuming everyone does their part.

Open letters to the UC Davis academic community

UC reaches open access agreement with Elsevier
(March 16, 2021)

Springer Nature open access agreement and Elsevier update
(June 16, 2020)

Update and poll on UC’s negotiations with Elsevier and other publishers
(January 23, 2020)

Elsevier journals status update
(October 22, 2019)

Discontinuation of Elsevier journal access for 2019 articles
(July 10, 2019)

Update on access to Elsevier journals
(June 26, 2019)

Important Update on UC Negotiations with Elsevier
(Feb 28, 2019)

Update on UC Negotiations with Elsevier
(Feb 1, 2019)

Update on UC Negotiations with Elsevier
(Dec 28, 2018)

Open Letter to the UC Davis Academic Community
(Nov 28, 2018)

In the News

Column: UC achieves another big win in its long battle with major scientific publishers
(Los Angeles Times, March 16, 2021)

University of California’s showdown with the biggest academic publisher aims to change scholarly publishing for good
(The Conversation, July 15, 2019 — by UC Davis University Librarian and Vice Provost of Digital Scholarship MacKenzie Smith — update to piece initially published March 7, 2019)

In act of brinkmanship, a big publisher cuts off UC’s access to its academic journals
(Los Angeles Times, July 11, 2019)

University of California defiant as Elsevier cuts journal access
(Times Higher Education, July 11, 2019 — free registration required)

University of California’s break with the biggest academic publisher could shake up scholarly publishing for good
(The Conversation, Mar 7, 2019 — by UC Davis University Librarian and Vice Provost of Digital Scholarship MacKenzie Smith)

The real cost of knowledge
(The Atlantic, Mar 4, 2019)

UC drops Elsevier
(Inside Higher Ed, Mar 1, 2019)

UC takes on publishing giant, fights for open access to publicly-funded research
(KQED Forum, Jan 3, 2019)

Opinion: UC is leading fight for open access to research
(San Jose Mercury News, Dec 30, 2018)

Heavyweight showdown over research access
(Inside Higher Ed, Dec 13, 2018)

In UC’s battle with the world’s largest scientific publisher, the future of information is at stake
(Los Angeles Times, Dec 7, 2018)