Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Organizations Around the World Denounce Elsevier’s New Policy That Impedes Open Access and Sharing

by Prue Adler | 202-296-2296 | | on May 20, 2015

open times infinity (link to statement against Elsevier sharing policy on COAR website)
image CC-BY-SA by Libby Levi for
On April 30, 2015, Elsevier announced a new sharing and hosting policy for Elsevier journal articles. This policy represents a significant obstacle to the dissemination and use of research knowledge, and creates unnecessary barriers for Elsevier published authors in complying with funders’ open access policies. In addition, the policy has been adopted without any evidence that immediate sharing of articles has a negative impact on publishers subscriptions.
Despite the claim by Elsevier that the policy advances sharing, it actually does the opposite. The policy imposes unacceptably long embargo periods of up to 48 months for some journals. It also requires authors to apply a “non-commercial and no derivative works” license for each article deposited into a repository, greatly inhibiting the re-use value of these articles. Any delay in the open availability of research articles curtails scientific progress and places unnecessary constraints on delivering the benefits of research back to the public.
Furthermore, the policy applies to “all articles previously published and those published in the future” making it even more punitive for both authors and institutions. This may also lead to articles that are currently available being suddenly embargoed and inaccessible to readers.
As organizations committed to the principle that access to information advances discovery, accelerates innovation and improves education, we support the adoption of policies and practices that enable the immediate, barrier free access to and reuse of scholarly articles. This policy is in direct conflict with the global trend towards open access and serves only to dilute the benefits of openly sharing research results.
We strongly urge Elsevier to reconsider this policy and we encourage other organizations and individuals to express their opinions.


  • COAR: Confederation of Open Access Repositories
  • SPARC: Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, USA
  • ACRL: Association of College and Research Libraries, USA
  • ALA: American Library Association, USA
  • ARL: Association of Research Libraries, USA
  • ASERL: Association of Southeastern Research Libraries, USA
  • AOASG: Australian Open Access Support Group, Australia
  • IBICT: Brazilian Institute of Information in Science and Technology, Brazil
  • CARL: Canadian Association of Research Libraries, Canada
  • CLACSO: Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales, Argentina
  • COAPI: Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions, USA
  • Creative Commons
  • Creative Commons, USA
  • EIFL: Electronic Information for Libraries, Netherlands
  • EFF: Electronic Frontier Foundation, USA
  • GWLA: Greater Western Library Alliance, USA
  • LIBER: European Research Library Association, Belgium
  • National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • OpenAIRE
  • Open Data Hong Kong
  • RLUK: Research Libraries UK
  • SANLiC: South African National Licensing Consortium
  • University of St Andrews Library, UK

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at

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