RLUK have put out a Press Release

RLUK have just put out a Press Release commenting on the forthcoming round of journal price hikes from publishers and urging restraint. It is good to see that RLUK feels able to comment publicly in this way. Individual universities are too small – whoever they are – to make a real difference to the plans of a large publisher: this is one reason why the negotiation on prices carried out by JISC Collections as a representative body is so valuable.

However, RLUK has a significant position representing 29 of the largest UK research organisations. As a consortium it makes a significant contribution to publishers’ sales in the UK. If any change or alteration of publishers’ behaviour is going to come it will have to be led by bodies such as this. The RLUK has significant and well-known institutional names amongst its members which could help any public profile it generates with conversations about subscription prices.

University funding through fees is very much in the news now and some connection has to be made between the financial straits that the Universities find themselves in and the costs which are imposed on them from outside.

A quote from the Press Release:

The UK Higher Education sector now spends almost £200m per year on access to journals and databases,‘ explained David Prosser, RLUK’s Executive Director. ‘This is 10% of the total QR funding the sector receives and increases above inflation each year.”

How much of the new student fees will be going to support publishers’ profits, when the Houghton Report has identified a money-saving alternative?


Declaration of interest: University of Nottingham is an RLUK member and CURL (now RLUK) was a joint funder of SHERPA and some of our subsequent projects and services here at the CRC.