(November 2018)

Elsevier calls itself information and analytics company. It was established in 1880 as a publishing company. Headquartered in Amsterdam, it is a part of the RELX Group, known until 2015 as Reed Elsevier.


Market position

Share of global article output 2016, open access gold share


Portfolio overview

Imprints, open access gold and hybrid shares by the number of articles


APC price points

Mean values of institutional expenses for Elsevier APCs in 2017 compared to overall mean values in 2017


Publisher approach to the transition to open access

In contrast to other major publishers who have shown a willingness to collaborate with the academic community on models that enable a large-scale transition of subscriptions to open access, Elsevier maintains separate business models for subscriptions and open access publishing. This approach, on the one hand, reinforces the paywall system and, on the other, ensures Elsevier a substantial second revenue stream in the form of hybrid APCs.

Elsevier’s unwillingness to meet the open access goals of Sweden’s Bibsam Consortium and Germany’s Projekt DEAL consortium lead to cancellation of Elsevier contracts. By the end of 2018, cancellation is taken into account by the University of California due to the same reasons.

According to a Charleston advisor report done by Heather Morrison in 2016/17, an Elsevier full flip to OA via APCs seems unlikely as the publisher could not accomplish its current revenues through an APC business model.


Characteristics of the transformative agreements negotiated

Elsevier currently offers no explicit transformative mechanism in its subscription agreements. Nevertheless, libraries and consortia looking to rein in the unchecked revenue stream of hybrid publishing (double-dipping) and take a pro-active approach to the transition to open access have succeeded in gaining some ground, or have walked away from the negotiating table with the resounding support of their indignant research communities.




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