Open Letter to the Publishers Association

“During the first lockdown, many publishers were quick to react to the seriousness of the situation and to offer extended online access to their resources, so mitigating against some of the immediate problems caused by restrictions on libraries. SCONUL and RLUK were amongst a group of UK bodies that welcomed these moves by publishers….

Unfortunately, universities in the UK find themselves in much the same situation as at the start of the pandemic and that first lockdown. With students required to stay away from campus the need for online access is as acute today as it was last March. Our members strive to provide as closely as possible the same experience to students studying remotely as those on campus. Unfortunately, licencing terms and conditions often mean that this parity of experience for students cannot be realised. In our statement last year, we listed ten ways in which publishers could help the HE sector. Not all include making all content universally available, but all would improve learning, teaching, and research in the UK and help to show publishers’ partnership role. We would ask the Publishers Association and the publishers you represent to look again at what you could do to support UK higher education and research as we pass through this difficult period. We would particularly urge publishers to permanently remove additional access barriers and related charges to institutions for registered students studying at a distance and move away from the per-FTE e-textbook pricing models.”