Elsevier (ScienceDirect)


The Irish ScienceDirect agreement 2020-2022 was negotiated by representatives from a consortium of Irish universities, institutes of technology and TU Dublin, with assistance from IReL, THEA and the IUA. Negotiations with Elsevier began in June 2018 and were successfully concluded in February 2020. It gives participating institutions continued read-access to the Elsevier’s Freedom Collection of journals and allows corresponding authors from member institutions to publish articles open access in over two thousand Elsevier journals without publication charges. The agreement will allow an estimated 71% of articles by eligible authors in the relevant Elsevier journals to be open access immediately on publication for each year of the agreement.

All Irish authors with Elsevier will continue to be able to post copies of their articles to their institutions open access institutional repositories. Repositories may also use ScienceDirect APIs to automate downloads of structured metadata (including abstracts) for articles their authors published with Elsevier.

Agreement period: 1 Jan 2020 – 31 Dec 2022

Participating members:

  • Athlone Institute of Technology
  • Dublin City University
  • Dundalk Institute of Technology
  • Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology
  • Institute of Art, Design + Technology
  • Institute of Technology, Carlow
  • Institute of Technology, Sligo
  • Letterkenny Institute of Technology
  • Limerick Institute of Technology
  • Maynooth University
  • Munster Technological University (formerly Cork Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology, Tralee)
  • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
  • Technological University Dublin
  • Trinity College Dublin
  • University College Cork
  • University College Dublin
  • University of Galway
  • University Of Limerick
  • Waterford Institute Of Technology

Publisher page: https://www.elsevier.com/open-access/agreements/ireland

OA quota per year: at least 933 articles per calendar year, with the limited article split between the participating institutions. As of 13 October 2022, many participating institutions have fully used their 2022 OA allocation – eligible authors should contact their library for current information.

Journals eligible for OA publishing:

Eligible authors: 

  • The corresponding author must be affiliated with a participating institution. The corresponding author must ensure their correct affiliation details are known to the publisher. 
  • Requests to publish OA under the agreement are subject to approval by participating members. 

Eligible article types: all article types

OA publishing license: if accepted for publication in the journals included in the Agreement, the corresponding author shall be offered the option of publishing open access under a Creative Commons license (CC BY or CC BY NC ND). Authors shall retain copyright to the journal article.

Further information:


Can I continue to post a copy of my article in an Elsevier journal using the Green Open Access model?

Yes, subject to the journal’s Green policy. For further information, see Elsevier’s Sharing and hosting policy FAQ or the Sherpa-Romeo database of publishers’ Green policies

How long does the agreement last?

1 Jan 2020 – 31 Dec 2022. Only articles accepted for publication on or between these dates will be eligible to take advantage of no-fee OA publishing. For example: articles submitted in 2019 and accepted in 2020 will be eligible. Similarly, an article submitted in December 2022 but not accepted until 2023 will not be eligible. 

What makes this a good deal?
The cost is within the normal cost inflation expected for a ScienceDirect read-only subscription agreement without an open access element: therefore it is effectively cost-neutral for the libraries involved. It also means that the agreement is cost-saving for the HEI sector as a whole, as some researchers who had been paying Article Processing Charges to have their articles published open access may not now need to pay.

Is there a limit on the number of OA articles per year?

Yes, each institution is allocated a specific OA allowance each year. Contact your institution’s library for further information. The allowance will cover an estimated 71% of articles by eligible authors in the relevant Elsevier journals. 

Why are some journals excluded?

Journals like The Lancet and Cell Press titles are not included in the deal because the publishing costs of these journals are significantly higher than the per article publishing costs of other journals.

When I submit to an Elsevier journal, how do I take advantage of this agreement to publish open access?

When a paper has been submitted on or after 1 January 1 2020, and is subsequently accepted, the corresponding author will be be sent an e-mail with a link to an author workflow tool. The corresponding author is presented with Publishing Options.  If the author selects Gold OA as part of the agreement, their institution will then validate their eligibility. Further information in this Elsevier presentation

 What type of open access license should I select?

We recommend that you check if your funding body requires a specific license. The agreement provides for the following open access licenses:

  • CC-BY: Allows users to copy, to create extracts, abstracts and new works from the Article, to alter and revise the Article, and to make commercial use of the Article (including reuse and/or resale of the Article by commercial entities), provided the user gives appropriate credit (with a link to the formal publication through the relevant DOI), provides a link to the license, indicates if changes were made and the licensor is not represented as endorsing the use made of the work.
  • CC-BY-NC-ND: Allows users to copy and distribute the Article, provided this is not done for commercial purpose s, and further does not permit distribution of the Article if it is changed or edited in any way, and provided the user gives appropriate credit (with a link to the formal publication through the relevant DOI), provides a link to the license, and that the licensor is not represented as endorsing the use made of the work.

What happens if my institution’s OA allowance is used up?

Open access publishing  is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If the allowance is use up during each year of the agreement, Elsevier’s editorial systems will instead offer corresponding authors the options of:

  1. open access via an article processing charge invoiced to the author, or 
  2. traditional no-charge subscription-based publishing, where the article will be available only to subscribing readers and institutions. 

Authors can continue to make their articles available using the Green open access model, subject to the journal’s policy. For further information, see above

May I apply the open access provisions of the deal to past or recent publications?

No. The open access provisions are only available for papers accepted for publication between January 1, 2020 and 31 December 2022.