Memorandum from the Eastern Confederation
of Library and Knowledge Services Alliance
1. The Alliance was formed in 2002 and comprises
of Library and Knowledge professionals employed in the NHS in
Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.
NHS libraries are one of the main purchasers of scientific publications
in paper and electronic form and a large proportion of our public
funding is expended on this resource.
2. The cost of paper journals over the past
ten years has far outstripped the inflation increases to library
budgets. Figures compiled by Loughborough University show that
paper journal prices have increased by 158%. During the same period
most libraries have only received inflationary increases and in
some years no budget increase at all.
3. The publishers have justified the price
increases by stating that they have included access to electronic
versions of titles. In the majority of cases the libraries do
not have any choice as to whether they want to pay for paper or
electronic versions, as some publishers insist that electronic
access can only be obtained if the library already pays for a
4. The publishers control access to the
journal titles by single IP address recognition. This restricts
usage within the NHS as security measures ensure that networked
PCs are connected to the Internet by roaming IP addresses. To
establish a single IP address recognition requires a PC to be
set up outside the NHS network, hence incurring additional costs.
This in turn means that libraries can only provide access to a
limited number of users via one PC.
5. The question of archival access for electronic
versions has not been resolved. Once a paper version is purchased
it belongs to the library to retain or discard. Co-operative library
schemes exist to ensure access to back runs of journal issues,
such as the Eastern scheme or commercial ones, such as the British
Library Document Supply Scheme. However electronic access is more
problematic, once a library ceases to pay for the electronic version
they lose access to those years that they did pay for. At present
there is no electronic version of the print scheme.