UC Walks Away from Elsevier

March 06, 2019

The University of California recently walked away from negotiations with academic publisher Elsevier. This move could represent a major dramatic change in the relationship between universities and publishers. We discuss publishing costs, and the role of publishers in higher education.


Timothy Gill is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. He is currently working on a book, The Future of U.S. Empire in the Americas (Routledge). Twitter: @timgill924

Gabriel Rossman co-hosts The Annex. He is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He wrote Climbing the Charts: What Radio Airplay Tells Us about the Diffusion of Innovation (2015, Princeton) Twitter: @GabrielRossman

Joseph Nathan Cohen co-hosts The Annex and directs the Sociocast Project. He is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the City University of New York, Queens College. He wrote Financial Crisis in American Households: The Basic Expenses That Bankrupt the Middle Class (2017, Praeger) and co-authored Global Capitalism: A Sociological Perspective (2010, Polity). Twitter: @jncohen

This episode was produced by Lisseth Moreno and Joseph Cohen.

1 comment on “UC Walks Away from Elsevier

  1. Hi, I just heard the discussion about journal publishing, and while I learned some interesting things about the sociology professor perspective, you badly needed a librarian as part of this discussion. Three corrections out of many that were needed: 1. Elsevier is Dutch, not French, so the pronunciation is ELL-suh-veer, not el-SEH-vee-yea. And 2. libraries have been managing tons of individual subscriptions with single-journal publishers for decades. It’s not a problem, because there are companies we (I am an academic serials librarian) call “serials jobbers” that we and the journal publishers pay small fees to, to act as subscription managers. The biggest is EBSCO, but there are many others. And 3. you don’t have to pay a lot to actually manage your editing or digital serial content – there are content management systems like OJS that are open source, so you only have to pay a small website hosting fee to self-host your journal content. OJS also helps open access journal editors with the manuscript review and editing workflow. And if you don’t want to be responsible for self-hosting the final product, you can pay a company to host your journal for you without paying them to be your publisher. EBSCO, Highwire, and Ingenta are three companies that come to mind that will provide the hosting/access services for online journals without any involvement in the editorial/publishing process.

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