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The University of Leeds
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Leeds & Yorkshire

Issue 476, 4 February 2002


The Library will be hosting an open meeting by the SPARC Europe alliance on 6th March, where SPARC Assistant Director Julia Blixrud will speak about the current scholarly publishing crisis and the emerging alternatives available. SPARC is a world-wide alliance of research institutions, libraries and organisations dedicated to encouraging competition in the scholarly publishing market. This meeting will be the first in a series of events organised by the Library as part of a new Scholarly Publication Forum, which aims to raise awareness of the current crisis in scholarly publishing and the growing range of alternatives available.

What is the crisis in scholarly publishing?

  • The University Library cannot afford to provide access to all the resources which you and your students need for your teaching and research.
  • The papers you publish in top-class journals are only available to researchers in institutions which can afford their high subscription costs, in print or electronic format.
  • Your publisher may charge a fee before allowing you to copy your own research paper into the Nathan Bodington building for your students to read.
  • Future copyright law changes might make it illegal for anyone engaged in "commercial research" to photocopy any journal article without making payment to the publisher.
  • Scholarly publication is dominated by a small number of major commercial publishers, whose shareholders want to make a profit out of the dissemination of your research.

This existing system for scholarly publication, developed over decades in a print environment, is no longer appropriate. Radical ideas are under discussion. Should this University aim to be at the forefront of UK universities in encouraging new forms of publication such as the establishment of an institutional open-access archive of preprints? Can you, through your academic contacts, help the establishment of new ejournals to challenge the status quo? The Scholarly Publication Forum will address these and similar issues.

The meeting on Wednesday 6th March will be at 12.30pm - 2pm in the Edward Boyle Library Conference Room, with tea/coffee available from 12.15pm. If you plan to attend, please notify or ring ext: 35501, so that we can make appropriate arrangements. Future meetings will be announced on the research mailing lists maintained by RSU; if you are not on any of these lists and would like to be kept informed of future Scholarly Publications Forum events, please send a message "subscribe scholpub-list" to . For more information, or if you have suggestions for future meetings of the Forum, please contact Tracey Stanley or Pam Davies in the Brotherton Library or see

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