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
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.
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 http://www.arl.org/.
I am a librarian at University of California Irvine. My title is Research Librarian for Chemistry, Earth System Science and Russian Studies and Scholarly Communications Coordinator. My education background includes a B.S. Physics (Carnegie-Mellon, 1988) and M.L.I.S. (University of Texas, Austin, 1994). I have worked at LSU-Baton Rouge and Princeton University prior to UC Irvine.