Image: As pandemic-weary U.S. colleges face strained library budgets, many seek creative ways to lower costs and preserve access to scholarly content. That shared goal brought 44 colleges in Texas together to negotiate a deal with Elsevier, the behemoth publisher of over 2,500 scientific journals, including The Lancet and Cell.

The consortium—known as the Texas Library Coalition for United Action—announced last month that it had reached a deal with Elsevier that is expected to improve access to scholarship, afford researchers greater control over their work and save the member institutions millions. Some laud the agreement as historic. Others say it falls short of long-sought-after goals. If nothing else, the deal offers one example of how a collection of colleges is moving forward in a tense academic publishing ecosystem.

“If you want open access to become the universal model of access to scholarship, then [this deal] … is going to feel like a real setback,”

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