Joho the Blog » Imperial College in showdown with closed-access journals

Imperial College in showdown with closed-access journals

Felix Online, the online news of Imperial College in the UK, reports (in an article by Kadhim Shubber) that Deborah Shorley, Director of the Imperial College London Library, is threatening to end the library’s subscriptions to journals published by Elsevier and Wiley Blackwell, two of the major publishers in the UK. Rather than giving into the bundling of journals with 6% annual subscription prices (well above inflation, and in the face of a growth in profits at Elsevier from £1B to £1.6B from 2005 to 2009), she is demanding a 15% reduction in fees, as well as other concessions.

Says the article: “…if an agreement or an alternative delivery plan is not in place by January 2nd next year, researchers at Imperial and elsewhere will lose access to thousands of journals. But Deborah Shorley is determined to take it to the edge if necessary: ‘I will not blink.’”

As the article mentions, in 2010, after a 400% fee increase, the University of California threatened to boycott the Nature Publishing Group, including not engaging in peer review for NPG’s journals. (NPG claims that the rise in fees was due to the reduction of a discount from 88% to 50%. UC disputes this.) In August of 2010, NPG and UC made nice and announced “an agreement to work together to address the current licensing challenges as well as the larger issues of sustainability in the scholarly communication process.” [more and more]

Wow, we’re in a painful transition period. Open access will win.

2 Responses to “Imperial College in showdown with closed-access journals”

  1. I’m surprised that student budget protests haven’t overflowed to faculty who are doing unpaid work for companies such as Elsevier while “on the clock”.

    Matt Blaze: http://www.crypto.com/blog/copywrongs

  2. University ownership of the journals, particularly the more popular ones should provide a solution to this problem. What makes this easy to achieve is that the vast majority of contributers to these journals are affiliated with universities, and that most of the research universities have their own publishing divisions.

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