In response to the UC librarians calling for a boycott on Nature Publishing Group's journals because of planned price hikes, NPG released a letter saying it was "shocked" at the "sensationalist data" being "misinterpreted." The California Digital Library staff has decided to keep the conversation going by writing a response to NPG's response. While NPG has said it is willing to negotiate, the CDL says, "We were led to understand quite explicitly that no counteroffer was possible, that 'this was the price,' and that the NPG offer had a firm deadline." The CDL calls NPG's offer of an increase in price of 7 percent per year (compounded annually), as well as what amounts to a 400 percent hike in site licensing fees "budget busting." And while NPG publishes valuable material, the CDL continues, so do a lot of other publishers. "As the UC Libraries contemplate budget reductions of 20 percent or more over the next two years on top of reductions already taken in 2010, we are faced with difficult choices and seek publisher partners who are willing to work with us over the long-term," the librarians conclude.
DrugMonkey weighs in, saying he's not buying NPG's argument that the discounts they've been giving the UC libraries are unsustainable. But he also has some advice for the UC librarians. "Don't pay the new rate, UC! Stop with this boycott charade. Just don't renew the contract at this time. Don't have print copies in the libraries, don't have electronic journal access and, importantly, don't foot the bill for one-off ILL type requests. Let the market do its work, so to speak," he writes. That way, he says, if the UC faculty finds they really can't live without NPG's publications, they can lobby the libraries to renegotiate a price, or if they find they can get along fine without NPG's publications, then NPG can offer a price structure that better fits the UC library budget. "Just pull the plug and see what happens," DrugMonkey advises.