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Sustainable Scholarship

Learn more about ongoing negotiations with publishers, alternative access resources, and the future of sustainable scholarship at Purdue.


Welcome to the home of sustainable scholarship at Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies. Here, you will find information about our ongoing efforts to promote access to the high quality information resources at affordable costs, publisher negotiations, and guides to alternative access resources. 

The Latest Word on Sustainable Scholarship at Purdue

November 2020: Libraries Reaffirms Commitment to Resource Access


Having recently announced that Purdue University and its regional campuses have entered negotiations with major for-profit academic publisher Elsevier, Libraries will prioritize broadening campus understanding of alternative means of accessing scholarly information, focusing on access over ownership. For the uninitiated, access over ownership means that, in the face of the rising cost of subscription resources, the necessity of stringent University budgets, and the growing demand for electronic resources over print, library systems like ours must redirect funds away from physically owning a wide breadth of scholarly information and focus instead on opportunities that expand timely access to articles, journals, and other materials, regardless of whether or not they are housed in Purdue University’s collections.

“Our commitment to access over ownership is not directly tied to our relationship with Elsevier or any other publisher,” said Beth McNeil, Dean of Libraries and Esther Ellis Norton Professor of Library Science. “But rather, an acknowledgement of a cultural, philosophical, and financial shift towards sustainable scholarship, which, in turn, does impact our priorities in terms of negotiating with publishers.” 

Libraries is encouraging faculty, students, staff and researchers to begin exploring means of alternative access for the scholarly resources they need now. “In most instances, there is more than one way to find information,” Dean McNeil said, “but most of us stop at whatever method is most familiar or convenient. Our goal is to assist campus so that everyone understands that sustainable methods of accessing information are not inherently more difficult, and that any extra effort is worth the payoff.” 

New or rapidly expanding methods of attaining sustainable scholarly information include the use of free browser plug-ins like Nomad and Unpaywall to locate open access copies of articles. Faculty, staff, and student researchers can also search for open access copies using indexes/repositories like Google Scholar, PubMed Central, SHARE, arXiv, and SSRN to locate resources beyond Purdue’s collections. They can request a copy directly from the author via social networking sites like or by messaging the author on twitter. If full text is not available, article requests can be submitted through Interlibrary Loan (ILL) where requests will be fulfilled as quickly as possible. When in doubt, start with a library search to see the access and delivery options available through Purdue Libraries. 

“Above all, we want campus to understand that this is a positive way forward,” Dean McNeil said. “You will be able to access the information resources you need and Libraries will help you locate them. The path may change, but the destination remains the same.”

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