Academic journal costs

The request was partially successful.

Dear University of Kent,

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

Foi, University of Kent

Dear Mr Lawson,

 

Thank you for your information request. We will respond within 20 working
days.

 

Kind regards

Laura

 

Laura Anthony

Information Compliance Officer

 

University of Kent

[1][University of Kent request email]

[2]www.kent.ac.uk/infocompliance/

 

 

show quoted sections

Foi, University of Kent

Dear Mr Lawson,

 

Thank you for your information request, received on 23/9/2019. Please
accept our apologies for the delay in response. Please find our response
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

 

This information is withheld under Section 12 (appropriate limit) of the
Freedom of Information Act, because to collate it has been estimated to
exceed 18 hours of work. This is due to the complexity of reporting cost
against publishers due to the way that the majority of journals are
subscribed through content aggregators.

 

Within the appropriate limit, we could provide SCONUL data returns for the
years requested. This would show annual spend for journals, divided by the
categories required for the SCONUL return, i.e. Serial titles purchased in
both print and electronic form; electronic serials, other than those in
full-text serial databases; full text journal databases. If that would be
useful, please submit a revised request.

 

 

If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been
handled, you can request an internal review within 40 days of the date of
this email by writing to: Information Compliance Team, Darwin College,
University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NZ or via email to: [1][University of Kent request email]

 

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint,
you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at: Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF. Telephone: 0303 123 1113 Website: [2]www.ico.org.uk.

 

There is no charge for making an appeal.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Information Compliance Team

 

University of Kent

[3][University of Kent request email]

[4]www.kent.ac.uk/infocompliance/

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[University of Kent request email]
2. http://www.ico.org.uk/
3. mailto:[University of Kent request email]
4. http://www.kent.ac.uk/infocompliance/

Dear University of Kent,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of University of Kent's handling of my FOI request 'Academic journal costs'.

I believe that even if it would take too long to provide the full information, you should still provide some information. For some publishers, your library will most likely pay a single fee each year for access to a full journal collection. If so, these figures will not take long to obtain. Please note that you were able to provide figures for previous years, e.g. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a... and https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

For your information, almost all institutions in the UK were able to respond to my request, and the collated data from all institutions is available here: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3659970

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. At the very least, providing figures for those publishers which you spend the most money with, such as Elsevier, would be extremely useful.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

Yours faithfully,

Stuart Lawson

Foi, University of Kent

Dear Mr Lawson,

 

Thank you for your internal review request. We will provide a response to
you within 20 working days.

 

Kind regards

Laura

 

Laura Anthony

Information Compliance Officer

 

University of Kent

[1][University of Kent request email]

[2]www.kent.ac.uk/infocompliance/

 

 

 

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Dear Laura,

Could I have an update on this request please?

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Lawson

Foi, University of Kent

Dear Mr Lawson,

 

Thank you for your request for internal review, received on 01/03/2020,
following our response to your original Freedom of Information request
(Ref 190923a). Please accept our apologies for the delay in response.

 

Please find our response as follows:

 

You requested an internal review of University of Kent's handling of your
FOI request 'Academic journal costs' (FOI Reference 190923a).

 

To support your argument in favour of disclosure, you stated (summarised):

 

o even if it would take too long to provide the full information, you
should still provide some information [evidently the University had
provided academic journal spend data to you in the past]
o almost all institutions in the UK were able to respond to my request
o I believe there is a high public interest in releasing the data, as
evidenced by the high level of engagement with earlier data releases

 

 

I took your comments on board and enquired with the Information Services
department to establish why they had estimated that to collate this data
would exceed the appropriate limit under Section 12 of the Freedom of
Information Act, particularly given that they had provided it in the past.

 

Information Services reconsidered the time to collate this data. They
found that it was achievable to provide spend data for 2017/18 and 2018/19
within the appropriate limit, but the data for 2016/17 is not possible to
provide within the appropriate limit, due to a change in library
management system approximately 3 years ago.

 

The 2016/17 spend information therefore remains withheld under Section 12
(appropriate limit) of the Freedom of Information Act, however I am happy
to overturn our original response to your request regarding the remaining
two academic years and provide the data you requested.

 

For the financial years 2017/18 and 2018/19 (1^st August to 31^st July),
please find below the total amount paid to each of the following
publishers for academic journals:

 

Supplier 2017/18 (£) 2018/19 (£)
CUP 13,309 49,556
Elsevier B.V. 435,928 454,749
Nature 90,098 170,592
OUP 78,004 66,451
Sage Publications Ltd 145,481 155,748
Springer 81,355 2,366
Taylor 225,767 225,274
Institute of Physics Publishing 19,283 22,744
Royal Society of Chemistry          23,792 25,221
Wiley 194,530 217,702

 

All prices include VAT where appropriate.

 

 

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint,
you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at: Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF. Telephone: 0303 123 1113 Website: [1]www.ico.org.uk.

 

There is no charge for making an appeal.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Jordan Hall

Head of Data Protection

 

University of Kent

[2][University of Kent request email]

[3]www.kent.ac.uk/infocompliance/

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.org.uk/
2. mailto:[University of Kent request email]
3. http://www.kent.ac.uk/infocompliance/