ATG Newsflash: Louisiana State University Sues Elsevier for Breach of Contract

Louisiana State University (LSU) filed a lawsuit on February 27, 2017, against international science publisher Elsevier B.V. for breach of contract resulting from the publisher’s exclusion of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine from accessing content licensed by the LSU Libraries. In filing the lawsuit, LSU exercised sound financial stewardship of its public resources.

According to the LSU Libraries, Elsevier blocked access in January 2017 to its research materials from the Internet protocol (IP) ranges that correspond to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. The LSU Libraries’ license with Elsevier provides for unlimited, simultaneous access by all LSU faculty, staff, and students of the main campus in Baton Rouge, including the School of Veterinary Medicine. LSU requested that access be restored, and Elsevier refused.

LSU’s complaint states, “Elsevier is well aware that LSU, like other universities, is heavily reliant upon the various types of research and educational content for which Elsevier enjoys monopolistic market powers…Elsevier is unfairly abusing its leverage to coerce LSU into paying additional and unnecessary subscription fees for research and educational content that LSU has already contracted for.

For more details, see the full press release, the Court Cases Focus Area on ARL’s website, and this ARL Policy Notes blog post.

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