Elsevier Discontinues UC Access to New Journal Articles

Update: July 10, 2019

The University of California has been out of contract with Elsevier since January, but until now the publisher continued to allow access to 2019 articles via ScienceDirect. As of July 10, 2019, UC’s direct access to new Elsevier articles has been discontinued.

What is affected: Members of the UC community no longer have direct access to:

What is not affected: Articles published before 2019 in most Elsevier journals (covering about 95% of historical usage) should continue to be available via ScienceDirect.

Please note that the process for discontinuing access is complex, so access to specific journals or articles may fluctuate until Elsevier's rollout of these changes is complete. 

The systemwide faculty Senate has encouraged stakeholders across UC to use alternative access methods or contact their campus library for assistance in obtaining articles, and to refrain from any new independent subscriptions to Elsevier journals at this time. “By ‘holding the line,’” the Senate leadership writes, “the UC can help change the system of scholarly communication for the betterment of all.”

Please note that this action will affect access to journals only. It will not affect access to e-books, reference and patient care resources, or non-journal research tools.

Alternative Access Methods and Additional Resources

To access most articles published in Elsevier journals prior to January 1, 2019, use ScienceDirect. The UC has permanent access to about 86% of titles covered by UC’s expired contract; a complete list (Excel spreadsheet) is available online.

To access articles published in Elsevier journals on January 1, 2019, or after, use one of the following methods.


Delivery speed

Access to final published article?

Cost to UCLA/UC

Interlibrary loan or UC e-Links

2-4 days

Regular turnaround time. Urgent delivery in 24 hours M-F in patient care emergencies.



Open repositories

Immediate, if article is available





Browser extensions


Immediate, if article is available




Contact the author

Depends on author responsiveness



If you have questions or would like further assistance, contact your UCLA Library Subject Librarian.

Find an open access version through browser extensions:

  • Open Access Button: Enter an article’s URL, DOI, title, or other information on the OA Button website to find free, legal, open access versions. Or install the Chrome or Firefox extension, then click on it from a paywalled article to initiate a search for an open version and, when available, instantly get free access. When free access is not found, the service can contact the author directly to help them make the article available.

  • Unpaywall: Directly search an open, legal database of millions of millions of open access scholarly articles. Or install the Chrome/Firefox extension to connect to open access versions of paywalled articles. It is integrated with services including UC-eLinks and Web of Science.

Search a general or subject-specific open repository:

Searching for articles through Google Scholar will find them in well-indexed repositories. The repository versions will be those deposited by the authors and may include versions prior to peer review.

Request the article through a UCLA Library or UC Libraries service:

These can obtain closed content as well as link to open content.

  • UCLA Library interlibrary loan service: If you need an article urgently for patient care purposes, include “Patient Care Emergency” in the Notes field on your request. The turnaround time for these urgent requests is twenty-four hours Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • UC e-Links

Contact the author:

Most publishers allow authors to responsibly share their own publications. Contact the author and ask for a PDF of a reprint. The author’s name and institution are usually shown on the preview page of the article.

  • Some authors are open to receiving requests for articles via social networking sites for researchers such as Academia.edu, ResearchGate, Mendeley, and HumanitiesCommons.
  • Make a request to the author via Twitter using the hashtag #icanhazpdf, along with a link to the article.

What happens next?

We will be carefully evaluating the impact of losing access to new articles on ScienceDirect over the coming months, and will do our best to ensure that you have access to the articles you need. Meanwhile, UC is hoping to reenter formal negotiations with Elsevier if the publisher indicates that they are willing to discuss a contract that integrates our goals of containing costs and facilitating open access to UC research.