It’s All About Content “Leakage”: Analysis of the UC Elsevier Deal

Roger Schonfeld once again provides an excellent analysis, this time on the drivers of recent Elsevier deals:

…California, through its cancellation, has nevertheless maintained its position unambiguously. It does not need ongoing journal subscriptions through ScienceDirect. Put another way: A major customer’s perceived value in the product offering has declined. Elsevier apparently no longer has the pricing power it once could assert.


The source of the value decline is no mystery. Joe Esposito argued more than a year ago that ‘Sci-Hub is an unacknowledged reserve army prepared to enter the battle with publishers,’ noting elsewhere in the piece that time “is not on Elsevier’s side.”

But Sci-Hub is not alone. Sci-Hub is one of a series of services through which content is ‘leaking’ out of publisher sites through to users. While some of these sites are illicit and pirate, others like SSRN and institutional repositories are accepted parts of the ecosystem, and still others are like ResearchGate, whose intentions vary by observer.

Read more at: Schonfeld, R. (2019). Is the Value of the Big Deal in Decline? The Scholarly Kitchen.

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