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Press Release on Cornell University Senate resolution on Elsevier

Dear Liblicense,

The following resolution was passed by the Cornell Faculty Senate on
Friday.  Not only does the senate support the library's decision to return
to title-by-title selection with its Elsevier titles, but also recommends
that the library reduce its total serials expenditures from currently
about 21% to no more than 15%.  Below is the press release.  The full
resolution can be found at:

--Phil Davis


Press Release--For Immediate Release

For more information, contact Ross Atkinson, ra13@cornell.edu

December 19, 2003

Cornell Faculty Support Library Negotiations with Elsevier

Ithaca, NY -- In November 2003, after several months of negotiations,
Cornell University Library (CUL) announced its decision not to renew its
subscription with publisher Reed Elsevier for a bundled package of more
than 900 journals. On December 17, Cornell faculty present at a meeting of
the University Faculty Senate gave unanimous support to a resolution that
commends the library's effort to bring its serials subscription costs
under control and specifically endorses the library's decision to switch
to title-by-title purchasing of Elsevier journals.

The library made the decision to move from Elsevier's bundled plan, in
which charges for electronic access to the journals are lower but no
cancellation is allowed, to a plan that permits purchasing of Elsevier
journals on a title-by-title basis. Library administrators have said that
CUL could no longer justify paying an increasing price each year for
Elsevier's bundle of serials when a significant number of titles in the
package received hardly any use at Cornell.  In 2003, CUL's Elsevier
subscription included 930 online and print journals--primarily science
publications.  Although these titles represent less than 2 percent of the
total number of serials to which Cornell subscribes, the $1.7-million
contract with Elsevier for the bundle amounted to more than 20 percent of
the library's journal subscription expenditures.  The Faculty Senate urged
the library to work with the faculty to reduce that ratio in the near
future to 15 percent.

Charles Walcott, dean of the university faculty, said "It is essential 
that research universities take back control of the knowledge we create. 
We think this resolution is an important first step in that direction."

In its resolution the Faculty Senate recognized that current trends in 
serials pricing are clearly unsustainable.  It went on to state that the 
increasing control by large commercial publishers over the publication and 
distribution of research "threatens to undermine core academic values 
promoting broad and rapid dissemination of new knowledge and unrestricted 
access to the results of scholarship and research."  The Senate encouraged 
the library to take an aggressive approach in negotiating new pricing 
models with commercial publishers and called upon the library and the 
faculty to investigate and support alternative methods to commercial 
publishing for the exchange of scholarly information.

In spring 2004, the Faculty Library Board will provide the Senate with 
further information and recommendations on such alternative publishing 
options. The full text of the December 17 Cornell Faculty Senate 
resolution can be found at 
Additional information about Cornell's negotiations with Elsevier is 
available at the library's Issues in Scholarly Communication website: