Research Libraries UK (RLUK) has today published two framework papers outlining the expectations of the RLUK membership in relation to future journal big deal negotiations. The documents form part of the mandate that RLUK members give to Jisc Collections to negotiate collectively on their behalf.

The first paper relates to pricing. It notes that in an environment in which the costs of software, hardware and communications are falling, RLUK is concerned to see some publishers proposing inflation-busting price rises.  We expect publishers to make efficiencies – as universities have – and for them to pass some of those efficiencies on to customers.  As such, we expect to see cash price rises of no more than 1%.  Further, RLUK members will not accept increased prices based on addition journal titles unless there is an option to take a like-for-like package.

The second paper addresses double-dipping. As the UK continues to invest significantly in Gold Open Access we are aware that our members are paying twice for content – once through article processing charges and once through subscriptions. RLUK members expect that publishers will prevent this occurring by offsetting APC payments by universities against subscription payments — otherwise an unsustainable burden will fall on research intensive institutions.

RLUK is pleased to note that its recommended approach to offsetting is in line with that set out by David Willetts, UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, in his recent letter to Dame Janet Finch.


Research Libraries UK

Research Libraries UK is a consortium of 34 of the largest research organisations in the UK and Ireland, including the three UK national libraries. Founded more than 25 years ago, RLUK has directly and indirectly sponsored some of the major free online UK resources in support of research, including Copac, the de facto UK Union Catalogue. RLUK’s mission is to work with their members and partners, nationally and internationally, to shape and to realise the vision of the modern research library

For further information please contact:

Phil Sykes, Chair, RLUK Ethical and Effective Publishing Group,

Jan Wilkinson, RLUK Ethical and Effective Publishing Group,

David Prosser, RLUK, Executive Director,


Top image courtesy of Queen Mary, University of London Library