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Electronic Nature

>From the September 2003 Press release from NPG that was posted to
Lib-License 9 September 2003:

"For 2004, we have adjusted our site licence pricing, in recognition of
market trends. We have simplified customer size banding and consolidated
our discount structure, providing more flexible, customised pricing
solutions, and increasing discounts for customers licensing more Nature
journals." Signed Annette Thomas, Managing Director, Nature Publishing

What this has meant for the University of Houston Libraries is a quote for
a 45-50% increase in our costs for electronic access to Nature and 6
Nature monthlies. We signed on to receive access to Nature & 6 Nature
research journals in December 2002. The price we were quoted for renewal
for 2004 is 45-50% more than what we initially agreed to pay. We did
expect to see some increases due to a change in our FTE but nothing along
this magnitude. Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is acknowledging a huge
price increase and claiming it was instituted due to our FTE increase and
that we got such a bang-up deal with the 2002 pricing. However, the sales
representative also acknowledges that the pricing did not increase (or did
not increase much) for 2003 but, we are facing an adjustment phase for
2004 since we got such a bang-up deal in 2002.

We've taken the pulse of various other institutions that are similar in
size and collection budgets along with some institutions that are large
and smaller than us. For those institutions that have package deals with
NPG for access to their Nature publications we merely asked if they have
seen price increases of this magnitude. For many members in consortia
arrangements, pricing did not increase this significantly but for those of
us going it alone, or with consortia that do not negotiate on our behalf,
increases of this magnitude have been noted. NPG stated to us that many
institutions had not yet seen this price increase due to the renewal dates

After lengthy negotiations, we managed to get the price increase down to
an amount that can be accommodated by our budget. However, NPG insists
that costs for 2005 will reflect the costs that we do not pay for 2004.
The University of Houston Libraries asked for a price cap addendum to our
license for no more than 12% which we consider to be reasonable for a
subscription, if not on the high end of subscription cost increases.
However NPG is stating that it is not possible to add this to our
agreement and that they will not entertain a price cap of any percentage.

Has anyone else managed to negotiate a price cap for the electronic access
to Nature and the Nature Research Journals? If so, could you email me
directly on how you managed to accomplish the negotiation?

Thanks for your help with this matter.


Jill Emery  

Jill Emery
Director, Electronic Resources Program
University of Houston  
114 University Libraries
Houston, TX 77204-2000
713.743.9778 (fax)