Academic journal costs

Stuart Lawson made this Freedom of Information request to De Montfort University

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear De Montfort University,

For the years 2017, 2018, and 2019, please publish the total amount paid to each of the following publishers for academic journals:

Wiley
Springer*
Elsevier
Taylor & Francis
Sage
Oxford University Press
Cambridge University Press
Nature Publishing Group*
Royal Society of Chemistry
Institute of Physics Publishing

I understand that your expenditure records may be held in academic financial years rather than calendar years. If so, I am happy for the response to be provided in the same format, with figures for 2016/17, 2017/18, and 2018/19. (Although 2019 has not ended yet, my understanding is that payments for access to journals for 2019 are likely to have all been made by now.)

The figures should include payments made directly to the publishers as well as any payments made to subscription agents or intermediaries for the purchase of, and/or access to, the publishers' academic journals. They should also include payment for journal packages such as Jisc Collections agreements, as well as for individual journals. Please include VAT where possible, and indicate whether or not figures include VAT.

* Although Springer Nature is the parent company for these two publishers, my understanding is that Springer journals and Nature journals are still paid for separately, so I think it makes sense to regard these as two different publishers with different expenditure amounts.

Yours faithfully,

Stuart Lawson

Freedom of Information, De Montfort University

Dear Stuart,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

Thank you for your email request below.

Your request is being considered and if the information is held you will receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to the information not being exempt.

If the time taken to meet your request is likely to exceed 18 hours, we will contact you and ask you amend your request to bring it below this time limit. We will assist you with suggestions of how this might be achieved.

I may also contact you if the request needs to be clarified; this is to ensure that we provide you with the information you require.

Please note that some information you have requested may not be provided to you; this will only be information that can be withheld by law. In most cases the reasons will be explained to you along with your copy of any information that can be released to you.

In order to ensure a prompt response to any communication, please ensure that any further emails are copied to [De Montfort University request email].

Yours sincerely,

Tinashe
____________________________________________________________________________
Tinashe Chikuzah
Information Governance Officer, Governance and Legal
DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY
Trinity House
T: 0116 2078962
E. [email address]
W. www. dmu.ac.uk

Responsible for: Freedom of Information, Data Protection Act compliance and Records Management

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Dear De Montfort University,

The response to my request is overdue. Could you assure me that it is being dealt with please?

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Lawson

Freedom Of Information, De Montfort University

Dear Mr Lawson

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000-INFORMATION REQUEST

Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding. Your request for information has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our response is as follows.

We are refusing this request under Section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act as we believe releasing this information would affect the commercial interests of the De Montfort University and also the third party suppliers.

Releasing this information could prejudice the third party suppliers' competitive position by releasing information that would be advantageous to their competitors. In so doing putting this information into the public domain could distort the future negotiations, thus affecting our ability to deliver such subscriptions at the best possible price for the University.

As section 43 (2) is a qualified exemption we are obliged to undertake the Public Interest Test. Whilst we accept there is a public interest in University finances, we do not believe this should come at the expense of universities being able to negotiate the best contracts they can, thus reducing the spending of public funds. As such we find Section 43(2) to be fully engaged.

If you have any queries please get in touch with me to discuss them. You might like to know that the University’s website www.dmu.ac.uk contains a section on the Freedom of Information Act that lists other publications readily available from the University under its Publication Scheme.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Starkey
Information Governance Manager
Legal Services

DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY
T: +44 (0) 116 257 7655
E: [email address]
W: dmu.ac.uk

Responsible for: Freedom of Information, Data Protection Act compliance and Records Management

You have the right to complain to the University about this decision. If you wish to do this please write to:

Regulations and Complaints Manager
Corporate Services
0.13 Trinity House
Leicester
Telephone (0116) 257 7694

If you are subsequently not satisfied with the University’s response to your complaint you have a right of appeal to the independent Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Telephone: 01625 545 700
www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Most of the information we provide in response to Freedom of Information Act 2000 request will be subject to copyright protection. In most cases the copyright will be owned by De Montfort University. The copyright in other information may be owned by another person or organization as indicated in the information itself.

You are free to use any information supplied for your own use, including for non-commercial research purposes. The information may also be used for the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for example, publishing the information or issuing copies to the public will require the permission of the copyright holder.

For information where the copyright is owned by the De Montfort University, details of the conditions of re-use can be found on our website at www.dmu.ac.uk.

For information where the copyright is owned by another person or organization, you must apply to the copyright holder to obtain their permission.

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Dear De Montfort University,

Thank you for your response. I would like to request an internal review, as I disagree with your reasoning and believe that you can (and should) release the information. I have sent the same request to all higher education institutions in the UK, and almost all have now responded to the request by releasing the data.

As a reminder, you have already released expenditure figures for these publishers in previous years: see https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a..., https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a... and https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e.... The full dataset for all institutions in previous years is available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1186... and https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.4542....

You say that 'Releasing this information could prejudice the third party suppliers' competitive position by releasing information that would be advantageous to their competitors. In so doing putting this information into the public domain could distort the future negotiations, thus affecting our ability to deliver such subscriptions at the best possible price for the University.' I believe this is not true. Since negotiations with most publishers for journal agreements occur on a sector-wide level through a single central negotiator – Jisc Collections – it is not in your institution’s interest for figures to remain secret. Indeed, full transparency of these figures can show your institution how much comparable institutions are paying, allowing you to understand whether you are receiving appropriate value from your payments. The current situation is almost complete transparency with regards to the amounts paid by UK institutions to most of the major journal publishers. So I do not see how your decision to withhold information would affect the commercial interests of the third party suppliers, or help your own financial position.

Finally, I believe there is a high public interest in releasing the data, as evidenced by the high level of engagement with earlier data releases (https://figshare.altmetric.com/details/2...) and news articles about it (https://www.timeshighereducation.com/new...). It has directly informed UK government policy documents (https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...). The publishing sector is moving towards greater transparency, such as through the forthcoming Plan S requirements (https://www.coalition-s.org/principles-a...). To be accountable for the expenditure of public funds, and to align your practices with best practice across the sector, I urge you again to release the information.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Lawson

Tony Heath, De Montfort University

Dear Mr Lawson

I write further to your exchange below with Paul.

Please accept this initial email as confirmation that I shall be undertaking the review. I will write to you shortly with further details and my intended timeline.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards

Tony

Anthony Heath
Director of Governance & Legal

DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY
Trinity House, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

Office: +44 (0) 116 257 7026
Mobile: +44 (0) 7980 894801
Email: [email address]
Web: www.dmu.ac.uk

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Tony Heath, De Montfort University

Dear Mr Lawson

I write further to my email of 7 February 2020.

I shall be undertaking the internal review of the decision to refuse your request for information using the exemption set out in section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In doing so, I shall make a fresh decision based on all available evidence that is relevant as at the date of the request.

I will try to deal with the review within 20 working days, namely by 24 February 2020. I may need some more time in order to undertake the review however, if that proves to be the case, I shall write separately to you with a revised estimate of my response date.

Would you mind acknowledging receipt of this email please?

Thanks

Tony

Anthony Heath
Director of Governance & Legal

DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY
Trinity House, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

Office: +44 (0) 116 257 7026
Mobile: +44 (0) 7980 894801
Email: [email address]
Web: www.dmu.ac.uk

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Dear Tony,

Thanks for this - I acknowledge receipt of your email.

You may be interested to know that a dataset containing subscription figures from the majority of universities has now been published: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3659970

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Lawson

Tony Heath, De Montfort University

Dear Mr Lawson

 

I write further to previous emails.

 

I have now spoken to colleagues and completed my review of the original
decision to refuse your request under section 43(2) Freedom of Information
Act 2000. Full details of that initial decision and rationale were
provided to you by Mr Starkey.

 

Your initial request was as follows:

For the years 2017, 2018, and 2019, please publish the total amount paid
to each of the following publishers for academic journals:

 

Wiley

Springer*

Elsevier

Taylor & Francis

Sage

Oxford University Press

Cambridge University Press

Nature Publishing Group*

Royal Society of Chemistry

Institute of Physics Publishing

 

I understand that your expenditure records may be held in academic
financial years rather than calendar years. If so, I am happy for the
response to be provided in the same format, with figures for 2016/17,
2017/18, and 2018/19. (Although 2019 has not ended yet, my understanding
is that payments for access to journals for 2019 are likely to have all
been made by now.)

 

The figures should include payments made directly to the publishers as
well as any payments made to subscription agents or intermediaries for the
purchase of, and/or access to, the publishers' academic journals. They
should also include payment for journal packages such as Jisc Collections
agreements, as well as for individual journals. Please include VAT where
possible, and indicate whether or not figures include VAT.

 

I find the decision to refuse your request unjustified.

 

I propose asking Mr Starkey to contact you with details of when the
requested information can be provided.

 

Kind regards

 

Tony

 

Anthony Heath

Director of Governance & Legal

 

DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY

Trinity House, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

 

Office: +44 (0) 116 257 7026

Mobile: +44 (0) 7980 894801

Email: [1][email address]

Web: www.dmu.ac.uk

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

Dear Tony,

That's great news, thanks very much.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Lawson

Freedom Of Information, De Montfort University

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Lawson, as per Tony’s decision with regard to your request I now
enclose the requested information.

 

Kind regards

 

Paul Starkey

 

Information Governance Manager

 

Governance and Legal

 

DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY

 

Trinity House

 

The Gateway

Leicester

LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 2577655

E: [1][email address]

W: dmu.ac.uk

 

Responsible for: Freedom of Information, Data Protection Act compliance
and Records Management

 

From: Tony Heath
Sent: 24 February 2020 14:29
To: [FOI #606478 email]
Cc: Paul Starkey <[email address]>
Subject: FOI Review

 

Dear Mr Lawson

 

I write further to previous emails.

 

I have now spoken to colleagues and completed my review of the original
decision to refuse your request under section 43(2) Freedom of Information
Act 2000. Full details of that initial decision and rationale were
provided to you by Mr Starkey.

 

Your initial request was as follows:

For the years 2017, 2018, and 2019, please publish the total amount paid
to each of the following publishers for academic journals:

 

Wiley

Springer*

Elsevier

Taylor & Francis

Sage

Oxford University Press

Cambridge University Press

Nature Publishing Group*

Royal Society of Chemistry

Institute of Physics Publishing

 

I understand that your expenditure records may be held in academic
financial years rather than calendar years. If so, I am happy for the
response to be provided in the same format, with figures for 2016/17,
2017/18, and 2018/19. (Although 2019 has not ended yet, my understanding
is that payments for access to journals for 2019 are likely to have all
been made by now.)

 

The figures should include payments made directly to the publishers as
well as any payments made to subscription agents or intermediaries for the
purchase of, and/or access to, the publishers' academic journals. They
should also include payment for journal packages such as Jisc Collections
agreements, as well as for individual journals. Please include VAT where
possible, and indicate whether or not figures include VAT.

 

I find the decision to refuse your request unjustified.

 

I propose asking Mr Starkey to contact you with details of when the
requested information can be provided.

 

Kind regards

 

Tony

 

Anthony Heath

Director of Governance & Legal

 

DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY

Trinity House, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

 

Office: +44 (0) 116 257 7026

Mobile: +44 (0) 7980 894801

Email: [2][email address]

Web: [3]www.dmu.ac.uk

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.dmu.ac.uk/