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Scholarly Publishing and Emerging Trends

A guide detailing changes in scholarly publishing in the current financial landscape

Large international organizations against current publishing practices


Open Access 2020 Executive Statement.  It is an international organization

SPARC Big Deal Tracker...shows the universities who have cancelled

Facts about the sustainability of academic publishing

In the last decade, researchers and academic libraries around the world have signed their names to several international agreements and models for negotiating with Big Deal publishers (ex. Elsevier, Springer, Harrasowitz).  These agreements are directed at toward pricing practices and restrictive contractual agreements.   In addition, these companies support legislation  that would put limits on open access to research.

Libraries, consortia, and institutions have been cutting ties with these publishers for similar reasons. The impact of the pandemic and economic insecurity which has ensued has created a need for an immediate shift.  This fact sheet provides some background on Big Deal Cancellations.

Below are several links to websites which describe the state of publishing and the situation that many universities are now facing.

2020 Update: SPARC Landscape Analysis & Roadmap for Action

2020 Top Trends in Academic Libraries

Impacts of Covid-19 on Academic Library Budgets: Fall 2020

Financial example of Elsevier

Although there are several similar publishers, Elsevier provides an excellent example.

Elsevier is one of the largest publisher of scholarly journals in the world, publishing more than 2,600 titles. Other large publishers are Taylor & Francis, Springer, and Wiley.

RELX, the parent company of Elsevier, had revenues of US $9.8 billion in 2019. (Elsevier’s profits account for about 34% of RELX’s total profits.) By contrast, Informa, Taylor & Francis’ parent company, had revenues of US $3.6 billion in 2019.

RELX reports its profit margins at 31.3% for 2018.

In public accounts, Elsevier has described the value they add to publications through their investment, including “coordinating the review, consideration, added text and references, and production and distribution mechanisms.” In contrast, UC economist Ted Bergstrom concluded through his calculations (including price per citation) that 59% of Elsevier titles were considered a “bad value.” In comparison, the American Physical Society had 0 “bad value” titles based on the same calculations.


Elsevier factsheet: Scholarly publishing - MIT LIBRARIES. (June 2, 2020). Retrieved February 18, 2021, from

Unsustainability of the publisher/subscription model of acquisitions reports

Options for Accessing Open Access Elsevier Titles

Regarding Elsevier journals that we have previously subscribed to, we are working with Elsevier for access via PORTICO, a digital preservations and electronic archiving serves. This will take some time to get everything previously subscribed to turned on in PORTICO.

Some articles may be available via open access. There are several ways to see if the article is available through open access resources.

1) Search Google Scholar via our library's website.

  • By accessing Google Scholar via our website, you will be able to find the resources the library has via subscriptions and database aggregators.

2)  Download the Unpaywall extension to your browser.

  • This free extension will search for a full text copy via open access resources.

3)  Request the article via interlibrary loan

  • NMSU Library participates in several resource sharing networks.  In addition to our other resources to provide access to materials we do not have a subscription, the library has a service which purchases articles on demand from Elsevier and other large publishers.  There is no embargo for these articles purchased via ReprintsDesk.  There is no cost to the individual requesting the item.

To help facilitate the transition from post Elsevier access, the Reference and Research Services Faculty Librarians will help assist with the best options.  


Email with request for assistance

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