Supplementary evidence from the Department
of Trade and Industry, the Department for Education and Skills
and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport
1. You stated that DTI/OST may, in future,
make funds available for individual authors to pay for Open Access
publishing. Is it envisaged that these funds would be transferred
across from HEFCE, or would they represent a separate investment?
This question is related to issues such as the
current requirement on scientists in some journals to pay page
charges, funding which often will come from an existing grant.
However, often the current charges may be accounted for within
a larger budget such as consumables, making it difficult to fully
assess the current level of these charges.
In response to this question, RCUK have told
us that: "Although an overnight revolution in publishing
seems unlikely, there is already a need for scientists to be able
to pay some publishing fees; Research Councils will need to ensure
that this can be met, within reasonable limits. Research Councils
will look at the scope for a pan-Research Council policy on publicationthere
is as yet no such policy, and each Council has its own approach."
The issue is to determine what these reasonable
limits should be and this is still under discussion, the question
of transfer of funds itself may be decided at that time should
the issue arise.
2. What representations has DTI made to the
Treasury regarding the VAT charged on digital publications, and
what was the outcome? (Qq 349, 352)
DTI is in regular contact with HM Customs &
Excise, to ensure that they are fully aware of publishing industry
views on the question of VAT charged on digital publications.
In addition, the industry has had the opportunity to discuss these
issues directly with HMC&E through its eVAT.Forum, a body
set up to consult businesses on VAT and e-commerce, and in individual
meetings. The issues have also been discussed with HMC&E and
DTI at the Digital Content Forum, an umbrella body of industry
Following from these contacts, we understand
that HMC&E is also taking steps to ensure that the wider economic
and policy issues are fully considered in the context of the UK
strategy for VAT in the EU, and developments in cross-border trade
in electronic services. They will, of course, include other interested
departments in this work. The HMC&E's note of 5 April to the
Science and Technology Committee gives the background and explains
some of the considerations relating to equality of treatment.
3. What studies has DTI carried out of the
ways in which a UK move towards Open Access would impact on the
UK economy? (Q 365)
The DTI has been investigating the issues of
open access over the last few months, partly in response to the
enquiry called by the committee and we have spoken to a number
of people across all sides of the open access "spectrum".
STM (Scientific, Technical and Medical) publishing is an industry
of major importance to the UK economy. The majority of UK STM
revenue is generated from outside of the UK. EPS (Electronic Publishing
Services) estimates that the output of UK based STM publishers
is currently between £1.7 and £1.8 billion per year
and that the UK spend on STM content is between £170 and
£200 million. The STM market globally was worth $7 billion
in 2002.* (* EPS Market Monitor)
We are aware of a number of published reports,
for example the recent Wellcome report: "Scientific Publishing:
Costs and business models", and of a number of academic papers
looking at the costs of Open Access. However, none of these address
the wider issues of overall impact on the UK economy and to the
best of our knowledge, we are not aware of any that do.
4. How has DTI followed up the Office of
Fair Trading's report on the market for scientific, technical
and medical journals, which concluded that the market "is
not working well"? (Q 367)
The DTI is aware of the OFT report and has been
in contact with officials at the OFT. The OFT are the statutorily
appointed competition authority and they have told us that they
will keep the market under review.
5. What measures has the Government taken
to "organise effectively to reduce the total publishing costs
and [. . .] actively ensure that other public bodies do as well"?
It should be noted that this point concerns
the cost of access to journals and not about the cost of producing
Government publications themselves.
JISC fund the NESLi2 agreement to negotiate
with publishers on behalf of the UK Higher and Further Education
communities. In 2003, negotiations with 11 of the largest global
STM publishers were undertaken by the JISC's Negotiation Agent
in order to achieve the best possible financial and access terms
for UK universities and the research communities in the light
of budget difficulties and the increasingly high cost of publishers'
content. The NESLi2 initiative employs a model licence as the
basis for negotiations with publishers, which provides institutions
with better terms and conditions on a range of issues (such as
access to the licenced material beyond the end of the licence
term) than could otherwise have been achieved. The model licence
is available for institutions to use directly with a publisher,
where a NESLi2 agreement does not exist.
The NESLi2 negotiations are on the basis of
"bundled" deals. The JISC is therefore actively exploring
the benefits and disadvantages of a wide range of alternative
business models for journal content through a comprehensive study,
expected to start in June 2004 and report by January 2005.