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Letter to UC Faculty on Nature Publishing Group Subscription Increases

A letter dated June 4, 2010 describing exorbitant subscription increases on the part of the Nature Publishing Group (NPG) for the 67 journals UC licenses (including Nature) was distributed to UC faculty by campus librarians with the support of faculty library committees, including the systemwide University Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication (UCOLASC).  The letter is an informational update about the UC Libraries’ pricing challenges with NPG and the likelihood that the libraries will have to cancel some or all NPG titles in light of the University’s current budget challenges.  The letter also describes a potential boycott that some faculty are proposing if the dispute cannot be satisfactorily resolved.  The boycott would encourage faculty to:

  • Decline to peer review manuscripts for journals from the Nature Publishing Group.
  • Resign from Nature Publishing Group editorial and advisory boards.
  • Cease to submit papers to the Nature Publishing Group.
  • Refrain from advertising any open or new UC positions in Nature Publishing Group journals.
  • Talk widely about Nature Publishing Group pricing tactics and business strategies with colleagues outside UC, and encourage sympathy actions such as those listed above.

An article appearing in The Chronicle of Higher Education (June 8, 2010), U. of California Tries Just Saying No to Rising Journal Costs, includes interviews with Laine Farley, Executive Director, CDL; Rich Schneider, UCSF, the chair of UCOLASC; and Keith Yamamoto, also of UCSF (referenced in the letter).

UC will be taking the pulse of faculty response to this issue in hopes that it will prompt a more productive dialogue with Nature Publishing Group.