There has been much complaining from some universities about the price and restrictions of their subscription contracts with publishers. However, few have the negotiating power like the University of California (UC) System, which single-handedly accounts for almost 10 percent of the research output of the United States. This interesting topic came to us from Inside Higher Ed in their article, “Heavyweight Showdown Over Research Access.”

Does this mean access is based on quantity? If quantity refers to the investment amount, the answer just might be yes.

The UC system paid over $10 million this year to the publishing giant Elsevier in journal subscription fees alone. With this kind of purchasing power, when their current five-year contract with Elsevier ends on Dec. 31, officials are threatening to put access to Elsevier journals on hold until the university gets what it wants.

This doesn’t mean they have given up. An Elsevier representative said that the publisher is working hard to reach an agreement with the UC system before its contract expires.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.