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UC Libraries' Negotiations

Forwarded from another list with request to post to liblicense-l:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 08 Jan 2004 21:15:44 -0800
Reply-To: Classical Greek and Latin Discussion Group
Subject: Fwd: UC Libraries' Negotiations

January 7, 2004

Dear UC Faculty,

We are pleased to report the successful conclusion of the UC libraries�
negotiations with the publisher Reed Elsevier, and to announce actions
being taken by UC Libraries and the Academic Senate to address the crisis
inherent in a scholarly communication process that is economically no
longer sustainable.

Elsevier contract

>From January 1, 2004, the UC community will have access to a selected list
of c.1,200 of the company�s scholarly journals, including titles produced
by Harcourt Health Sciences, Academic Press, and Cell Press.* The
five-year contract accommodates the University's deteriorating budget
situation without sacrificing access to the titles selected by each
campus. We are not announcing the negotiated price but we have arrested
for now the price inflation that has been common in this market.

We believe that this outcome which is in harmony with UC proposals, is
sensitive to the significant concerns expressed by faculty and others,

o individual faculty actions (such as the protest raised by Professors
  Walter and Yamamoto, and by the faculty editors, authors, and reviewers 
  of Elsevier publications who voiced their opinions and concern via a 
  variety of means);

o the formal actions of divisional senates as reflected in a resolution
  passed at UC Santa Cruz on 10/24/03 (see

o the numerous formal and informal actions of divisional senate library
  committees including letters to campus faculty circulated at Berkeley
  and San Francisco
  and public meetings convened at, Davis, Irvine, Riverside, and UCLA; and

o the consistent support and leadership shown by the Academic Council, the
  Systemwide Senate leadership, and by the Councils of Chancellors and
  Vice Chancellors.

Actions addressing the economic challenges of scholarly communication

However great our success in securing an acceptable contract with a single
publisher, we have only just begun to address the deeper structural
problems in scholarly communication that fundamentally threaten the

The economics of scholarly journal publishing are incontrovertibly
unsustainable. Taming price inflation is not enough. Unless we change the
current model, academic libraries and universities will be unable to
continue providing faculty, students, and staff with the access they
require to the world�s scholarship and knowledge. Scholars will be unable
to make the results of their research widely available.

These are not statements about any single company, about the strengths and
weaknesses of for- and not-for-profit publishing, or about the prospects
of open-access versus subscription-based journal models. They are merely
observations about economic reality. The unit cost of scholarly journals
increased 200% between 1986 and 2002, while the Consumer Price Index rose
only 50%. Some of this increase undoubtedly reflects the knowledge
explosion; some may reflect inefficiencies in the market. In any case, in
recent years we are have been paying more for access to a smaller
proportion of the world�s published knowledge. If we are to halt or even
reverse that trend, we must aggressively ramp up and institutionalize our
efforts to change the scholarly communication process. Harvard, Cornell,
and many other leading universities are also grappling with these same

Of course we appreciate the value contributed voluntarily to the
publishing process by scholars (as authors, reviewers, and editors) and by
libraries (who facilitate and manage the use and availability of the
scholarly record). We also appreciate the value that publishers add, yet
we question the equitability of its price tag in a number of cases. At a
time when so many US universities are fundamentally re-thi! nking ho w
they can continue to support high-quality research and teaching, it would
be irresponsible not to do so.

Accordingly, the University's libraries, the Systemwide Senate leadership,
and the UC administration are taking action and committing themselves to
evaluating scholarly communication in all forms including periodicals and
monographs, and to finding the most cost effective methods of making
scholarly work available to the world.

The UC Libraries are working aggressively to:

o stretch collections dollars by acting consortially to license online
  journals and reference databases;

o inform themselves and faculty colleagues about the dimensions of and
  possible ways to address the crisis in the economics of scholarly
  communication; and

o support alternative means for publishing scholarly materials that make
  high-quality peer-reviewed work available at an affordable price.

In the years ahead our work will be accelerated and expanded, and
described along with periodic updates at

The University of California Academic Council has recently established a
Special Committee on Scholarly Communication (SCSC). It will soon begin a
careful analysis of alternative publications methods for both scholarly
periodicals and monographs; methods of evaluating and ensuring
high-quality publications that can be used in academic promotion and
tenure; the most appropriate business model(s) for publications; and
possible effects on scholarly societies of different publication methods,
among topics related to scholarly communications.

The SCSC looks forward to working with other universities to optimize
dissemination of faculties� discovery of knowledge, both in terms of
availability and cost.

The success of these actions, like that of our negotiations with Elsevier,
will depend inevitably on faculty�s proactive support. We look forward to
and encourage that support and activism over the coming years. Faculty
will be consulted closely in our work and kept informed about our
progress. This level of consultation is essential because, ultimately, the
power to change the economics of scholarly publishing lies with those who
produce its intellectual contents.

[LETTER SIGNED BY the Library Directors of the UC campuses and Lawrence H. 
Pitts, Chair, University of California Academic Senate]

* From January 1, 2004, the University of California will lose access to
approximately 200 journals that were not selected by any campus.