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Fwd: Price Increase of the EMBO Journal for 2004 (Open letter to Prof Frank Gannon)

Forwarding from David Prosser, SPARC Europe ...

-----Original Message-----
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2004 13:28:46 -0000
From: "David Prosser" <david.prosser@bodley.ox.ac.uk>

Dear All

You may be interested to see the e-mail below that we have just sent to
Frank Gannon, Executive Director of EMBO.  Many of you will have seen a
massive increase in the cost of subscribing to The EMBO Journal in 2004
and the open letter is intended to bring home to Professor Gannon the
problems that this will bring to the library community.

A list of editorial board members for THE EMBO Journal is given at:


If you feel that this price rise is unacceptable, you may wish to check
whether any of the Board members are at your institution and raise the
issue of the price with them!

Happy New Year


David C Prosser PhD
SPARC Europe

E-mail:  david.prosser@bodley.ox.ac.uk
Tel:       +44 (0) 1865 284 451
Mobile:  +44 (0) 7974 673 888

-----Original Message-----
From: David Prosser [mailto:david.prosser@bodley.ox.ac.uk] 
Sent: 05 January 2004 13:18
To: 'Frank.Gannon@embo.org'
Cc: SPARC-EUROPE@JISCMAIL.AC.UK; 'nurse@rockefeller.edu';
Subject: Price Increase of the EMBO Journal for 2004

An open letter to Professor Frank Gannon on behalf of the International
Research Library Community

Dear Professor Gannon

I am writing to you to expresses the dismay of the international research
library community at the extreme rise in price for The EMBO Journal in
2004.  The decisions to bundle The EMBO Journal and EMBO Reports into one
�take it or leave it� package and to move to a �full-time equivalents�
pricing model means that many libraries are facing a doubling of the price
of The EMBO Journal in 2004, at a time when throughout Europe and in the
US we are working with reduced library budgets.

While there is no doubt that The EMBO Journal is one of the world�s
leading titles, it is inevitable that a price rise of this magnitude will
result in fewer libraries being able to subscribe, so narrowing the
dissemination of the research published in the journal and consequently
decreasing the impact of each paper published.  It is hard to see how this
can be in the interests of either the journal�s authors or readers.  We
also recognise that profits from The EMBO Journal are used to benefit the
molecular biology community.  However, there must be a balance struck
between these benefits and the ability of libraries to afford to purchase
the journal.  A price rise of 100% shifts the balance too far to profit

It is ironic that EMBO should choose to impose such an increase (far in
excess of what we have been used to even from commercial publishers) at
the time when many are looking to new financial models to support
scholarly communications.  Many publishers are either launching new open
access journals (e.g., BioMedCentral, the Public Library of Science) or
attempting to convert existing journals to open access (e.g., the Company
of Biologists, the American Physiological Society).  Funding bodies are
becoming increasingly supportive of open access with major statements
coming in recent months from the German funding agents, the Wellcome Trust
in the UK, and the Howard Hughes in the US.

Publication in open access journals gives authors wider dissemination of
their research and greater impact. EMBO could, considering both its
position at the heart of European molecular biology and the reputation and
standing of The EMBO Journal, be at the forefront of open access, bringing
great benefits to authors, readers, and molecular biology in general.  
Instead, the new pricing policy will reduce access to The EMBO Journal and
restrict the free flow of scholarly information.  We therefore call on
EMBO to reconsider this excessive and damaging price rise.

Yours sincerely

Bas Savenije
Chair, SPARC Europe