How to survive without subscribing to scientific journals

How to survive without subscribing to scientific journals

Digital tools and social networks help students and researchers find articles online

Bárbara Malagoli

Fabrício Marques

Issue # 278 – apr. 2019

Universities in many countries are searching for new ways to improve access to scientific literature, having suspended expensive and potentially abusive subscription contracts with major publishers. In order to at least partly meet the information needs of their students and researchers, institutions are increasingly turning to libraries and social media networks to obtain restricted content, as well as using tools that help locate articles available through open access. The University of California (UC), USA, for example, announced in February that it was ending its US$11-million-per-year contract with Dutch publisher Elsevier, through which its 273,000 students and 68,400 professors and researchers were able to access papers from 2,400 journals. Responsible for around 10% of all scientific output in the USA, UC had been trying to secure a new agreement with Elsevier that would have covered all charges paid by its researchers to make articles available via open access as well as the annual subscription fees. Elsevier insisted on maintaining the traditional setup for most of its journals, charging subscription fees and article publication charges separately, including extra fees when the author wants to publish their paper freely online…