Elsevier Negotiations

Status (Updated 04/06/2020): The University Library has concluded its journal negotiations with Elsevier for 2020. The new agreement moves the Library away from Elsevier’s overpriced and financially unsustainable Big Deal journal package and back to individual journal subscriptions.

The Library already subscribes title by title to journals from other large commercial publishers, so the new Elsevier agreement is in alignment with the Library’s overall journal subscription strategy, which gives the Library much greater control over spending and content.

The Agreement

The new agreement includes 428 journals. Selection decisions were based on criteria such as,

  • the number of articles published by Iowa State authors in the journal,
  • the number of times the journal’s articles were cited by Iowa State authors,
  • the percentage of the journal’s articles available open access,
  • subscription price, and
  • article downloads from the journal.

The list of retained titles is available here as a pdf.

The new agreement achieves two of the Library’s three negotiation goals. It reduces cost, and it does not include confidentiality language and can be publicly shared. The last goal, making progress on open access, was not met. However, Elsevier has agreed to continue working with the Library on this issue in 2020. The three Elsevier negotiation goals aligned with the Library’s Principles for Advancing Openness through Journal Negotiations, which were endorsed by the Library Advisory Committee and Faculty Senate in 2019

Thank you very much to the faculty, staff, librarians, and administrators from Iowa State who supported and worked on the negotiation.

Access Options

We are committed to providing you access to Elsevier content through the library website and through our Interlibrary Loan service.

  • For journals: Try using our journal title search. Or, access ScienceDirect through this ISU Library enabled link.
    • From any ScienceDirect journal page, there is an option to sign up for alerts – this will notify you when new articles are published.
    • To enable this feature, you will need to register for a free account (see link in upper right of page header to either Register or Sign-in).
    • Once you have signed in, in the middle of the page – under Explore journal content is a link to Set Up Journal Alerts).
  • For articles: Use your favorite index/database. They will link out to the article page online. If full-text is not available for the article you need, please request it through Interlibrary Loan.
    • ISU students, faculty, and staff can request Elsevier articles at no cost.
    • We will fulfill requests as quickly as possible and strive for a 24-hour turnaround.
    • Include the article DOI for faster delivery.


If you have any questions about the new Elsevier agreement, please contact Ed Goedeken, goedeken@iastate.edu


  • The previous 3-year journal agreement expired December 31, 2019
  • Negotiations began in spring 2019 and continued into early 2020
  • ISU Negotiation team: Curtis Brundy (AUL Collections, Library), Brent Swanson (Library), and Jamie Albertsen, (ISU Procurement)

Learn More