Memorandum from University College, London
Founded in 1826, UCL (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/)
became the first University to welcome all peopleregardless
of their class, race, religion or sexdramatically expanding
access to higher education. The University's teaching, research
and community continue to be inspired by this radical tradition:
the refusal to let convention inhibit progress. UCL is one of
the major research-led Universities in the United Kingdom, and
is acknowledged as such in activities such as the Research Assessment
Exercise and Institutional Audit by the Quality Assurance Agency.
2. In terms of the specific questions posed
in the Inquiry's documentation on the web, UCL associates itself
with the joint response of CURL and SCONUL, in the compilation
of which Dr Paul Ayris, Director of Library Services here at UCL
was involved as Chair of the CURL Task Force on Scholarly Communication.
UCL would, however, wish to make the following points to the Inquiry.
The present arrangements for copyright in published
research literature do not work in the interests of the public
purse. Academics and researchers are paid from public funds to
produce research. As a condition of being published in commercial
journals, academics sign copyright away to publishers. As a result,
Universities have to buy this material backin the form
of journal subscriptions, licences with the Copyright Licensing
Agency and clearances for digital study packs. This model is illogical
and does not represent Value for Money. UCL suggest that the Parliamentary
Inquiry should recommend to the Funding and Research Councils
that a copy of every piece of research funded from public fundsin
the form in which it is accepted for publicationbe mounted
on an open access server. Such servers can be discipline based
or mounted institutionally. In this way, research funded by the
public purse can be made freely available to all researchers in
the UK, forming part of the emerging UK Knowledge Economy, and
globally to all those who wish to use the materials. The Wellcome
Trust has already issued such a statement, which can be found
at the following URL (http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/en/1/awtprerel1003n303.html).
Open Access is an emerging model which is challenging
the more traditional subscription model for the purchase of content
in UK Universities. The principle behind the Open Access model
is laudatorythat subscription is a barrier to access for
many, since not all institutions can afford to purchase all the
journals its researchers need. In an Open Access environment,
access to the material is no long governed by an institution's
ability to subscribe to titles. Rather, the publication costs
are met by author payment charges (commonly ranging from $500
to $1,500 per article), payments which usually come from an individual's
5. UCL welcomes the move to Open Access,
but has reservations. First UCL submits that it is not in the
interests of UK academic researchers to move from the present
subscription-based model to an Open Access model without more
testing and evaluation of the latter. Open Access is not currently
underpinned by a sustainable financial model. Not all academics
carry out research bolstered by research grants from Research
Councils. This is certainly true in the Arts, Humanities and many
areas of Social Science. Peer review is all-important as part
of the research process. This independent scrutiny exists as an
important quality assurance mechanism to monitor the value of
an academic publication. In Biomedicine, to take just one example,
peer review is essential since the sheer number of papers being
produced mitigates against the ability of individual academics
to read everything. Peer review acts as a quality filter, helping
to ensure that the validity of a paper is assessed before it is
published. Peer review is a cornerstone of the current publishing
model, based on subscription journals, and must not be lost. All
academic research would be impoverished without it.
6. In an Open Access environment, it is
not always straightforward to replicate the peer review process.
Pre-print articles stored on an Open Access server are no substitute
for the final version of an article, which has been peer reviewed.
In terms of Open Access Journals, the Lund Directory at http://www.doaj.org/
lists 739 journals (as of 11 February 2004), but this is currently
a small fraction of the total number of journals which are available
to the world of scholarship.
7. UCL suggests that, across the range of
all academic disciplines, there will be hybrid models for publication
and access for the next 10-20 years. ELSSS, the Electronic Society
for Social Scientists (http://www.elsss.org/) represents such
a hybrid model in that it is forming a partnership with a commercial
publisher to publish a new peer reviewed journal in economics
(Review of Economy Theory) based on a low-cost subscription model,
but which incorporates important features of the Open Access movement.
These include more flexibility in copyright assignment and free
access for all developing countries to the content of the journal.
The Director of Library Services at UCL is a Trustee of ELSSS.
8. UCL urges the Inquiry to encourage, via
bodies such as the Funding Councils and JISC, the funding of a
range of studies on the impact of the Open Access model on the
traditional pattern of publishing across all disciplines. Such
studies are vital before the possibility of a paradigm shift from
subscription-based models of publishing and dissemination to Open
Access Models can seriously be contemplated. The end result of
the publication of academic research should in part be to enrich
the UK Knowledge Economy. Such work will be impoverished if present
models of dissemination are suddenly abandoned for new, untested
One of the features most desired by UK academics
in STM is a move away from accessing journals in print form to
electronic access from their desktops 24 hours a day, seven days
a week, 365 days a year. In terms of sustaining research and stimulating
academic creativity this is clearly a desirable goal.
10. Print journals are currently zero-rated
for VAT in the UK. This position on behalf of the UK Government
is supportive in terms of bolstering a University's ability to
purchase a wide range of content. Electronic Journals are not
zero-rated for VAT purposes and this hampers the ability of University
Libraries to dispense with paper copy and to deliver electronic-only
content (the e-only option) to its users. Even where a publisher
offers a discount to Universities for e-only delivery, the saving
can be more than outweighed by the imposition of VAT at 17.5%.
11. In terms of University Libraries, librarians
need to support their academics' research and, through the acquisition
of publications, to support the UK Knowledge Economy. It would
be beneficial for UK Universities if they could be zero-rated
for the acquisition of educational materials in electronic form
such as E-Journals, E-books, databases and other digital objects.
Such a move would support University Libraries by giving them
greater control over their existing budgets, sustain the publishing
industry through a greater ability to acquire content and encourage
the move to e-only delivery, which many academics strongly favour.
12. NHS/HE DIVIDE
There are special concerns where NHS staff and
HE (Higher Education) staff use the same libraries and wish to
have access to the same resources. UCL has one of the largest
Medical Schools in Europe and has developed partnerships with
a large number of NHS Trusts in London. In UCL, there are therefore
well-established patterns of joint working between the NHS and
HE; all UCL's biomedical libraries are already, or are planned
to become, joint HE/NHS Libraries.
13. In the UK, NHS staff using HE libraries
are precluded from access to electronic resources purchased by
HE as a condition of the licence which HE signs from the commercial
publisher. Consequently, the NHS has to purchase many of the same
resources for the use of its staff. This duplication in purchasing
effort does not represent Value for Money for the public purse.
14. There are a host of technical barriers,
even if licences actually do permit NHS access to HE-purchased
resources. It is not unknown for NHS staff to require two computers
on their desk, one attached to the NHS network run by the local
NHS Trust and one supported by HE. This again represents wasteful
duplication of money and effort.
15. Access and authentication to e-resources
is often controlled by Athens identifiers and passwords. Staff
who work in both HE and the NHS will commonly have two sets of
identifiers and passwords, along with a number of other identifiers
and passwords to access materials and servers on NHS and HE networks.
16. It is well known that the NHS itself
is not one homogeneous body, and that the NHS in England, Scotland,
Wales and Northern Ireland are at different stages in developing
joint patterns of working with HE. There is, in addition, a strategic
alliance between the Higher Education Funding Council for England
and the NHS over patterns of joint working (http://www.hefce.ac.uk/news/hefce/2000/stratall/stratall.doc).
17. At a national level, there is an informal
NHS/HE Forumled jointly by the NHS and UCL (on behalf of
HE)which is trying to tackle the technical and content
issues across the NHS/HE divide. UCL urges the Parliamentary Inquiry
to issue a statement encouraging procurement bodies in the NHS
and JISC to look at joint procurement activities, since such procurement
would enable HE and the NHS to offer Value for Money in the acquisition
of content. Bodies such as the NHS/HE Forum and JISC should also
be funded at an adequate level to identify the barriers between
closer joint working, in the spheres of both technical connectivity
and content, and to identify solutions which can be scaled up
across the whole of the UK.
18. DIGITAL ARCHIVING
UCL welcomes the recent Act of Parliament which
will enable the British Library to acquire digital publications
by legal deposit (http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts2003/20030028.htm).
The lack of a secure, long-term digital archive is one of the
main barriers in Higher Education to the move to e-only delivery
to support research in Science, Technology and Medicine. There
is also a danger that research which is currently published in
electronic formats only will be lost to future generations of
scholars if such an archive is not created.
19. The creation of bodies such as the Digital
Preservation Coalition (http://www.dpconline.org/graphics/index.html)
and the pioneering work of the Consortium of University Research
Libraries in its CEDARS project on digital archiving (http://www.leeds.ac.uk/cedars/)
have raised awareness and contributed to a blueprint for the creation
of digital archives. UCL urges the Inquiry to fund bodies such
as the National Libraries, the JISC, and the emerging RLN (Research
Libraries Network) at an adequate level to put in place a sustainable,
long-term digital archive for UK researchers. This more than anything
will allow University Libraries and researchers to make a shift
from the present hybrid model of print and digital content to
an e-only environmentto the benefit of UK research output,
its dissemination and availabilityand to help ensure that
present research output is not lost for future generations of