Harvard University

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  • Letter to the Harvard faculty from Sidney Verba, Director of the University Library, December 9, 2003.
    • Summary: The letter announces Elsevier cancellations, which took effect January 1, 2004. The cancellations were "driven not only by current financial realities, but also —and perhaps more importantly— by the need to reassert control over our collections and to encourage new models for research publication at Harvard....Elsevier journals are by far the most expensive....Elsevier's 2004 contract proposal to NERL was not responsive to Harvard's objectives....Of greatest concern to the Digital Acquisitions Committee and to the University Library Council was the lack of any option by which Harvard could prune its holdings and reduce its level of spending. Libraries wishing to cancel subscriptions could do so, but only by incurring steeply increased fees that obliterate any potential savings —while Elsevier's revenues continued to rise....Toward this end, we have foregone the NERL Elsevier license in 2004 in order to regain control over Harvard library collections in a manner that responds to the University's academic programs. Instead, the libraries will purchase online access to Elsevier journals individually and selectively....Declining the bundled agreement and intentionally reducing our outlay for Elsevier titles will ultimately give us the ability to respond to the marketplace unfettered by such artificial constraints....We believe this action can be a springboard for a vigorous and sustained effort to foster new models of research publication at Harvard. This effort could take many forms, all of which will require the active involvement of Harvard's research community. On many levels, Harvard is changing the ways in which it does business."
  • Jeffrey Aguero, Libraries to Cut Academic Journals, Harvard Crimson, November 24, 2003.



  • February 12, 2008 - In a move to disseminate faculty research and scholarship more broadly, the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted today to give the University a worldwide license to make each faculty member's scholarly articles available and to exercise the copyright in the articles, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit.
  • May 7, 2008 - In a move that will disseminate faculty research and scholarship as broadly as possible, the Harvard Law School faculty unanimously voted last week to make each faculty member’s scholarly articles available online for free, making HLS the first law school to commit to a mandatory open access policy.
  • Harvard University Library Office for Scholarly Communication See this link for more info.