UK world-class research put at risk by economic challenges

Added by Sarah on 26 March 2009 11:55

A new RIN briefing note warns that if libraries are forced to make budget cuts on their journals and books subscriptions, then the UK?s ability to support world class research and teaching could be put into jeopardy.

The recent dramatic fall in the value of sterling has seriously damaged university library purchasing budgets, putting scholarly books and journals at risk.

Scholarly books and journals at risk: responding to the challenges of a changing economy’ aims to inform and motivate universities, funding bodies, researchers, librarians and publishers, to work together to find creative, practical and sustainable solutions to this serious and unforeseen challenge to the vitality of the UK?s research base.

University staff and students depend on good access to scholarly publications. A key function of libraries is to broker the acquisition of books and journals on behalf of universities, and libraries must ensure that their purchasing decisions represent the best value for their institution. The current budgetary challenges could do fundamental damage to research and scholarship, and compromise universities? capacity to pursue their core business - therefore these challenges will affect far more than just the library.

Michael Jubb, Director of the RIN says:?We call on all the key stakeholder groups to work together to find solutions to ensure that the scholarly publications link in the chain from genius to wealth creation is not damaged beyond repair?.

Toby Bainton, Secretary of the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL), says: ?Directors of university libraries are concerned about their ability to purchase enough high quality journals. In recent more prosperous times, librarians have managed to fund an impressive and growing list of journals for their researchers and students. Journal resources have been enhanced despite relatively high inflation in prices. Now, with reduced budgets and the remarkable fall in value of the pound against the dollar and euro, the pressure is serious. For the UK to stay at the forefront of research and innovation it is essential for researchers, students and other academics to have access to the latest journals.?

The briefing note is available to download from our projects page.

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