Library Coalition Agreement with Elsevier Results in Lower Costs, Greater Access

man in glasses works on laptop in front of bookcases in classic library space

AUSTIN, Texas—Texas Library Coalition for United Action (TLCUA) is pleased to announce that it has concluded negotiations with Elsevier, and all TLCUA members have signed or are finalizing new agreements for subscription journal access.

In 2019, 44 public and private university campuses across Texas joined together to form TLCUA to think creatively about access to faculty publications and the sustainability of journal subscriptions. TLCUA has negotiated with Elsevier, the world’s largest publisher of scientific journals, including The Lancet and Cell and over 2,500 other journals covering topics in medicine, biology, psychology, engineering, business and more. The TLCUA effort aligns with other libraries across academia that have sought to evolve the relationship between libraries and publishers and find new ways to thrive together. 

All TLCUA members will receive a discount on journal subscriptions–some as high as 30%–while still maintaining significant amounts of access to journals and combined, will realize a savings of over $4.75M annually. Beyond initial cost savings, Elsevier agreed to a maximum annual increase of 2% over the course of the license agreement, with some years as low as 0%, which is significantly lower than industry standard. 

“Impacts of our agreement with Elsevier will be realized this fiscal year through lower costs, and more importantly over the coming years with researchers across the globe accessing more open content,” says Alexia Thompson-Young, Assistant Director of Scholarly Resources of the University of Texas Libraries. “Elsevier and the Texas universities can take pride in these positive impacts for years to come.”

TLCUA and Elsevier have agreed to partner on a pilot project to revert ownership of journal articles back to original authors—and not just those at TLCUA-member institutions. Currently, authors transfer copyright of their work in exchange for that work being published. This pilot will provide for rights to go back to authors after a period of time that will be collaboratively determined with Elsevier. A subset of Elsevier journals will be chosen to study the impact of the copyright reversion pilot for authors and its applicability more broadly to STEM (scientific, technical, engineering and medical) publishers. 

Further, all TLCUA-member authors who choose to publish their work under an open access license will have access to discounted author publication charges (APCs). TLCUA also negotiated a license template that removed non-disclosure terms, restrictions on sharing usage data, and 44-year-old limitations on interlibrary loans (i.e., CONTU Guidelines) to expand library collaboration and improve how libraries can share information on journal usage.

"Our collaborative effort with partner institutions across Texas has resulted in a step forward towards shifting a relationship to a more mutually-beneficial model,” says Vice Provost and Director of the University of Texas Libraries Lorraine Haricombe. “By addressing cost challenges and opening content to larger audiences, we will all benefit from the multiplier effect it will have on inclusive and equitable access to new knowledge creation and innovation.”

Initial workshops to define the parameters of the pilot project will begin soon. TLCUA has begun exploring their next negotiation priorities and other projects that can benefit from state-wide collaboration.
TLCUA represents more than 660,000 students and 44,000 faculty. This consortium is one of the largest and most diverse library consortia in the United States.  Faculty in the Coalition member libraries account for 7.2% of all research output in the United States and about 6% of all U.S. research published by Elsevier. The economic impact of Coalition members is significant with annual expenditures exceeding $275 million.

Current TLCUA members are:

  • Angelo State University
  • Baylor University
  • Lamar University
  • Prairie View A&M University
  • Rice University
  • Sam Houston State University
  • Stephen F. Austin State University
  • Sul Ross State University
  • Tarleton State University
  • Texas A&M International University
  • Texas A&M University (College Station)
  • Texas A&M University-Central Texas
  • Texas A&M University-Commerce
  • Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
  • Texas A&M University-Kingsville
  • Texas A&M University-San Antonio
  • Texas A&M University School of Dentistry
  • Texas A&M University-Texarkana
  • Texas Medical Center
  • Texas State University
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock)
  • Texas Tech University Health Science Center El Paso
  • Texas Tech University Health Science Center Lubbock
  • The University of Dallas
  • The University of Houston
  • The University of Houston Clear Lake
  • The University of Houston Downtown
  • The University of North Texas
  • The University of North Texas Health Science Center
  • The University of Texas at Arlington
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • The University of Texas at Dallas
  • The University of Texas at El Paso
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio
  • The University of Texas at Tyler
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
  • The University of Texas Permian Basin
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • West Texas A&M University

For more information, contact Dr. Jeffrey Spies, TLCUA lead negotiator (+1-219-979-6676;
Coalition media release at the TLCUA website.