TAMU-CC Secures Savings and Academic Resources in Historic Deal for Subscription Journal Access

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and 43 other Texas universities and medical research libraries working together as the Texas Library Coalition for United Action (TLCUA) have negotiated a historic deal with Elsevier – the world’s largest publisher of scientific journals. The deal, finalized in 2022, will take action this spring and cultivates more sustainable and equitable journal subscription models while also promoting increased access to faculty publications. The deal resulted in TLCUA combined savings of more than $4.75M annually, with TAMU-CC achieving approximately a 30% reduction in costs.

Dr. Catherine Rudowsky, TAMU-CC Dean of University Libraries, said the deal aids the university financially, works toward a sustainable publishing business model, promotes the rights of authors, and benefits the future of research.

“At the onset of the negotiations, authors’ rights and copyright, along with striking non-disclosure agreements, were top priorities for our institution,” Rudowsky said. “Making strides in these areas is a win for all of us as it furthers the movement toward a more sustainable and equitable publishing model.” 

Elsevier and TLCUA have agreed to partner on a pilot project which will explore reverting copyright of articles back to the authors after an agreed upon time. Traditionally, with some publishers such as Elsevier, authors sign over full, life-long rights to their own intellectual property. Reverting copyright recognizes the intellectual contributions of the authors and allows information to be shared more readily.

Additionally, TLCUA negotiated a license template that removed non-disclosure agreements, restrictions on sharing usage data, and 44-year-old limitations on interlibrary loans. These negotiated points expand library collections and improve how libraries share information.

Another priority for TAMU-CC was furthering the feasibility of open access publishing. As part of the negotiations, all TLCUA member authors who choose to publish their work under an open access license in an Elsevier journal will have discounted article processing charges, known as APCs. APCs allow for an article to be published openly, making it available to everyone regardless of a subscription. This broadens exposure to the article and the research, creating a society in which information is more readily accessible, regardless of institutional affiliation or status.

“As an R2 institution with increased research and publications, we must be part of the conversation to create more sustainable publishing business practices that allow information to be more readily available,” Rudowsky said. “This deal provides significant cost savings, but just as importantly, it leads to a better information ecosystem. We cannot solve the world’s biggest problems by limiting access to research and the information outputs of that research.”

The TLCUA was founded in 2019 in an effort to evolve the relationship between libraries and publishers. Rudowsky served on the TLCUA Steering Committee, representing A&M System regional schools.

“We have a conscientious faculty, many of whom want to publish openly to share their research for the betterment of society, but many current publishing models don’t readily support this,” Rudowsky said. “This new license makes strides in these efforts, knowing there is still work to be done. The TLCUA will continue working together to effect change toward more sustainable publishing models that include more open access to information and research.”