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Fighting Words

The University of California is flexing its muscles to protest the increased cost for access to the Nature Publishing Group's journals and magazines. In a letter to the UC faculty [pdf], the California Digital Library says that NPG is increasing the cost of access by 400 percent, which translate to a more than $1 million increase per year. "While Nature and other NPG publications are among the most prestigious of academic journals, such a price increase is of unprecedented magnitude," the letter says. It then goes on to encourage UC faculty "to counter the monopolistic tactics of NPG" if NPG doesn't agree to maintain UC's current licensing agreement. Among the boycott strategies suggested are declining to review any articles, refraining from submitting papers, and not advertising any job openings in any Nature journal.

NPG has responded to the UC letter. "This has been a shock to us at NPG, in terms of the sensationalist use of data out of context, misrepresentation of NPG pricing policies, and the fact that we were under the impression we were in an ongoing confidential discussion," it reads. It goes on to say that there is a 7 percent limit on annual list price increases, and that the California Digital Library has "been on a very large, unsustainable discount for many years" because of "the lack of clear definitions around consortia and 'single institute, multisite' subscribers, as well as previous accommodations of CDL's budget limitations" and that "CDL is the only consortium with a legacy pricing issue which requires an adjustment of this size, to bring pricing into line with other customers."

HT: PLoS's Twitter feed

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