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Wall Street Journal: Librarians protest journal price hikes

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Deborah Shorley, Head Librarian at Imperial College London, is interviewed by the Wall Street Journal on the recent RLUK call for publishers to acknowledge the reality of current budgets and exercise restraint in journal pricing.


LONDON—Deborah Shorley, the head librarian at the U.K.'s Imperial College London, is worried about balancing her books. She says her budget has been capped, just as publishers stand to increase the price of her library's journal subscriptions 3% to 6%.

"It's a complete mismatch," says Ms. Shorley, whose libraries spend over £4 million ($6.31 million) a year on research resources, most of them related to the sciences. The big publishers haven't comprehended the new reality among U.K. libraries: "They don't seem to understand that we just don't have the money," she says.

British research libraries, including Ms. Shorley's, on Thursday called for publishers to "acknowledge the reality of current budgets" and exercise "restraint" in pricing. If the prices on subscription packages don't come down, the trade group Research Libraries U.K. warned, librarians "will be forced to cancel significant numbers of subscriptions which will fatally compromise the U.K.'s capacity for research."

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