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Technical Services Division 11.21.2019

In December 2020, the Auraria Library’s subscription to Elsevier journals comes up for renewal. Currently, the Library subscribes to all of Elsevier’s journals though the ScienceDirect platform. That’s over 2,700 scholarly journals that cover dozens of disciplines and research areas. The Library subscribes to Elsevier resources through the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries, a group of 15 academic libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. Renewing contracts with publishers is something that libraries routinely do. But this renewal is different and we want to let you know why. 

  1. First, Elsevier is Auraria Library’s most expensive subscription. It is also one of the most expensive subscriptions for the other Colorado and Wyoming libraries in the deal. At the same time, Elsevier has one of the highest profit margins in the industry at 37%. As costs to read Elsevier journals increase that means there is less money to spend on other resources, like streaming videos and books that students, faculty & staff need for their learning, research and teaching needs. The prices Elsevier are charging are unsustainable. 
  2. Second, a lot of you use Elsevier journals, whether you know it or not. Because they cover a wide variety of subjects and are well-regarded research journals, they are downloaded often. 
  3. And finally, you may have seen Elsevier in the news recently because colleges, university systems, and even whole countries are canceling their Elsevier subscriptions. In early 2019, the University of California (UC) system did just that. You can read about it more here. UC wanted to make sure that the research their faculty were publishing in Elsevier journals would be Open Access, but UC and Elsevier were unable to come to an agreement. 

The term Open Access refers to scholarly research that is online and freely accessible. Open Access research does not require a subscription fee or payment to read, use, or cite it. Open Access allows for greater access to researchers’ work and allows authors to retain rights to their publications. You can read more about how Auraria Library supports Open Access here.

Because of these cancellations, and because of our upcoming renewal, the Auraria Library wants to keep the Auraria campus community informed about potential changes in the subscription. To this end, Auraria Library representatives have attended faculty meetings at CU Denver, MSU Denver, and CCD to share information about this renewal. Additionally, as the renewal comes closer, we will post updates on contract negotiations to the Library website.  

If you would like more information, have questions, or would like Auraria Library to give a presentation about Elsevier or scholarly publishing in general, please contact: Sommer Browning, Auraria Library’s Associate Director of Technical Services at

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