December 10, 2010

Research Libraries UK announces stand against journal big deals

From the 25 November 2010 press release from Research Libraries UK:

At its recent conference, RLUK announced it would not support future journal big deals unless they showed real price reductions. [...]

For the past several years JISC Collections have negotiated with the publishers on behalf of UKHE. RLUK is so worried about the current situation that it has instructed JISC Collections to secure contracts which will not only rescind the unreasonable price rises of the last three years, but also offer affordable deals for the future. If reasonable deals cannot be struck RLUK libraries will be forced to provide information resources to their researchers and students in other ways.

'The capacity of UK universities to continue to pay such large year-on-year increases for access to scholarly journals is not infinite,' said Professor Michael Arthur, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds and Chair of the Russell Group of Universities. 'To ensure the continued vitality of the UK's world-beating research base we need to reassess the costs of electronic access and find a new balance between the value added by publishers and the charges they make. We realise that finding such a balance may not be easy, but if we fail to address the problem now there will be serious long-term consequences for research and teaching in the UK.'

Also, on the same day, Times Higher Education reported:

The release earlier this month of a report estimating the cost to the UK academy of carrying out peer review signalled that, after years of grumbling about rising prices for journal subscriptions, universities just may be ready to say enough is enough.

The report, commissioned by Jisc Collections, the UK universities' subscription negotiation consortium, put the cost at up to £165 million.


The academy's fightback was heralded in June by the financially troubled University of California system, which threatened to cancel its subscription to Nature journals and to organise an academic boycott of Nature Publishing Group when the publisher tried to quadruple charges for access to its e-journals.

Laine Farley, executive director of California Digital Library, the system's digital research library, said discussions with the publisher were making progress, although the two parties had "agreed not to discuss the specifics yet".

California Digital Library has presented publishers with estimates of the value of the peer review and research contributed by academics in the California system. The figures must also be shared with researchers and administrators, Ms Farley said, "to demonstrate why we need to find a better way to support scholarly publishing: there needs to be more of a market-driven response to calibrate fees with services".

Posted by stemp003 at December 10, 2010 6:41 PM
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