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Elsevier and SELL

Renewal Negotiations between Elsevier and the SELL Consortium

Recently the SELL consortia group posted a document to the several lists
which commented upon some aspects of the renewal negotiations currently in
progress between some SELL members and Elsevier.  Negotiations are, by
definition, concerned with differences of opinion, and it would not be
appropriate for us to comment in detail on matters which are still under

Discussions with SELL members are continuing and a public analysis of
progress would not be helpful or professional.  Nevertheless, the posting
raised some points of general interest where Elsevier would like to
provide some clarification of our position on archiving and pricing.

It remains Elsevier's policy that customers who cancel their electronic
subscription to any of our titles retain online access rights for the
years to which they subscribed. If a customer cancels their ScienceDirect
(SD) subscription altogether they retain access rights to what they have
bought either online or through a tape provided for mounting locally.  In
either case a charge is made to cover costs.

For the past five years it has been Elsevier's policy worldwide that our
annual print price increases should be among the lowest 25% in the
industry. During this time our online and print customers (and their
front-line researchers) have benefited from better access to Elsevier
information and better value for scarce resources.  In the interests of
fairness our prices are structured to reflect the varying level of value
and usage within particular organisations.  And within these general
policies local negotiations always reflect local and regional priorities
and circumstances. We have seen increased levels of access and usage
worldwide and in every type of library.

As has been widely publicized, Elsevier has changed our pricing policy for
consortia to allow members to choose their own titles and structure their
own collection based on their understanding of their institutions'
research needs.  The change was to take into account the varying concerns
of consortia worldwide, and in response to feedback from customers who
told us that they were unhappy with a system that impaired their ability
to manage their own collections.

What we call the Unique Title List (UTL) provides for considerable choice
but it is also much more complex in its operation, and has implications
for costs and prices because there is additional value in access to titles
that were not available before to consortium members.  The difficulties at
the heart of the ICOLC posting all reflect the difficulties inherent in
working through new pricing models and applying them to local
circumstances, priorities and constraints.

UTL and other payment models will naturally change and evolve as we and
our customers become more experienced in the complexities of pricing
online information access, and in the meantime we shall continue to work
with the SELL consortia in order to reach a compromise that all sides can
live with. Open and constructive two-way communication is an important
part of this learning process and one that we take very seriously indeed.

T. McSean
Library Relations Director
Office:  +44 1865 843630
Mobile: +44 7795 960516