UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE To be published as HC 399-iv

House of COMMONS

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE

TAKEN BEFORE

science and technology committee

 

 

scientific publications

 

 

Wednesday 5 May 2004

PROFESSOR SIR KEITH O'NIONS,

MR RAMA THIRUNAMACHANDRAN and PROFESSOR SIR JOHN WOOD

Evidence heard in Public Questions 325 - 428

 

 

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Oral Evidence

Taken before the Science and Technology Committee

on Wednesday 5 May 2004

Members present

Dr Ian Gibson, in the Chair

Paul Farrelly

Dr Evan Harris

Kate Hoey

Dr Brian Iddon

Mr Robert Key

Dr Desmond Turner

________________

 

Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses: Professor Sir Keith O'Nions, Director General of the Research Councils, Mr Rama Thirunamachandran, Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer, Higher Education Funding Council for England, and Professor John Wood, Research Councils UK, examined.

Q325 Chairman: Thank you all very much for coming to help us in this inquiry. Bringing your expertise into this area I am sure will help us. Professor O'Nions, you have been with us before; Professor Wood, you too; but Mr Rama Thirunamachandran thank you very much for coming. We look forward to your answers along the table. Let me first ask you, Keith O'Nions, you are representing the DTI and OST. You are a man of great parts and ability, I know, but is there no conflict of interest there really, in terms of this inquiry or any inquiry?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Surely not. I am representing really OST but, inevitably, there have been and should be wider discussions between OST and other parts of DTI and those have been going on, so I think I can reflect some of those discussions to you in a frank way. I should say that my employment is through the Department of Trade and Industry, so ....

Q326 Chairman: There is a conflict, is there not? It is quite clear that the questions would be for you, the multi-billion pound publishing industry, or the academic community who are wanting open access as you have read from the minutes. There is a conflict there. How do you handle that conflict in terms of your position?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I will quite clearly give you my view from an OST perspective and from a research perspective, but I will also reflect to you the sorts of conversations that have gone on more broadly with ministers and other parts of the DTI in as much as we have discussed these -----

Q327 Chairman: Let's take a couple of minutes to do that. Just tell me how you bring these two groups together.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Maybe in terms of how I personally look at this issue.

Q328 Chairman: Yes.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I will be very brief on that. I look at open access and the arguments for and against open-access publishing within the broader context of the very rapid developments that have taken place with electronic publishing and electronic access to data and archiving of science and technology and medical information in general. Both commercial and not-for-profit organisations have made huge changes and developments over the last years, as you know. Open-access publishing is still, from my understanding, quite small, probably less than 5 per cent of the total, and I think much of what we understand about the scientific and research community's reaction to it is largely anecdotal. I do not think we have a very deep analysis of it but, anecdotally, and in my own experience, reactions differ quit a lot from area to area. In the biological sciences I think there is a greater interest and a higher take-up. You can go to other areas of research where the development is quite small. On an individual basis, one encounters people who have very strong views about open access, either for it or against it, and many very senior scientists in some areas know rather little about it and are focused on the normal commercial and non-profit organisations. In terms of perception of a conflict of interest, I do not think I have one. Conversations that we have had in the DTI are leading probably towards a broader formulation of policy across government. That is the way we have been discussing it. And we have considered and talked about various options and reactions that there might be. One reaction is to do nothing and completely ignore the situation, for which there is little support. Another option may be to give extremely strong support to open-access publishing. Just by way of introduction - and I am happy to go into this with colleagues more deeply and hear their points of view - I think the feeling in DTI and OST at the moment is probably that a middle-ground level playing field is the right position for us to be: not to load the dice heavily in favour of one business model of publishing rather than another and to facilitate open-access publishing, and permit that to develop within a market and the competition of commercial and not-for-profit publishing on something approaching a level playing field.

Q329 Chairman: What does that mean, "a level playing field"? I am getting used to government speak again.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I agree, it is a very convenient phrase, but let me be a little more specific.

Q330 Chairman: Yes.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: At present we have commercial not-for-profit publication and with a few exceptions the author pays nothing to submit his paper. There are exceptions. There are some not-for-profit organisations which do have page charges for authors and use that money within the charitable organisation for other research and scientific purposes, but, generally, mostly the author does not pay. With open access it shifts the charging; so the author pays and then the results of that research are available globally free of charge. The level playing field - and apologies for using such a loose term - is that we are considering the possibility of making funds available to those authors that wish to go the open-access route, so they are in no sense penalised against other routes, so it would be shifting funding -----

Q331 Chairman: You have not made any observations about the industry itself, the multi-million pound industry. What are your thoughts about that? Has it been fleecing people for too long, frankly?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: My view on that is that commercial publishers and the not-for-profit organisations have made huge investments and the world has changed enormously. I am well aware of the strength of feelings in some sectors of the community, that profits are considered to be too large and so on; I have no strong personal view on that.

Q332 Chairman: Do the Department have a view on this?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: The Department have a view that they should not be emphasising one type of business model or practice over another and I think are homing in on the view that they should move to facilitate open-access publishing and allow these things to compete and change or progress.

Q333 Paul Farrelly: As well as "level playing field" you have twice used another very broad term "facilitate". You started to be more precise about what you meant by that but stopped mid-sentence when you started talking about shifting funding. Could you be a little bit more precise: shifting funding from where to where?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Let me be necessarily cautious - and I accept your point. At the moment we are having discussions about these issues. My sense is that a good outcome - following your inquiry which has stimulated a lot of discussion across departments - is that we should involve a policy. When I move beyond the word "facilitate" and say this may involve using money from DTI/OST to enable individual authors to pay for open-access publishing, I am not making a policy statement; I am merely relating what is the nature of the discussion at the present time, and I am in no position at the moment to say that this is something ministers have signed up to and so on, so I am being rather open.

Q334 Paul Farrelly: Shifting fund, or possibly shifting funding, from where to where?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Very little OST money goes to authors to support the publication of their materials. If a policy emerged that we did not wish to hinder open-access publishing and authors having the funds from their research grants to publish in that way, then some portion of OST money would need to be made available in that way. If the whole business model shifted in some organic and progressive way such that the open access model became the norm in the future, then, in effect, the money would be shifting towards author pays rather than subscriber pays.

Q335 Dr Turner: It seems to me the Government cannot just take the bystander's view of this because, one way or another, through many different routes and different departments, an awful lot of government money is finding its way into publishing houses. Only a small amount of it may come from the OST at present, for open access publishing, but then an awful lot of HEFCE money, DfES money, etcetera, is going into the universities to buy the journals. There are two issues here. One is the cost-effectiveness of the use of government money - which if it was withdrawn from the publishing industry would cause it to collapse, I imagine. The other is: Is it associated with equality of access to the material? Two points of effectiveness.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Could you just give me that question again.

Q336 Dr Turner: I first have to remember it!

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: You made the point that a lot of government money is going into the publishing industry.

Q337 Dr Turner: A lot of government money. We have no idea, but it must be many, many millions, hundreds of millions probably, one way or another, going into the publishing houses, whether it is through the money that libraries spend on journals or whether it is paying authors to pay, open access or whatever. The two issues are: Is there good value for money there, is it effective use of the money? and: Is it also effective in the sense that researchers have free access to all the material?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I will make a response and do the honourable thing and let my colleagues from other places make their comment. In terms of money going in, yes a lot of money obviously goes to publishing, and commercial publishing in the UK is a very big, significant enterprise, but there is no such thing as moving information from an author to make it available to the wider community and the world being done free. I mean, there is always going to be a cost associated with the peer-review process, with the preparation of either paper or electronic material, costs involved with archiving for the longer term and costs associated with multi-publisher access and so on - of which there are many enterprises going - and the costs per article can differ quite significantly. We do not know really what the costs are but they are probably somewhere between $500 and even $5,000 per authored article, depending on the rate of rejection of journals; that is, the amount of peer review that has not gone to the published article and so on. The question is whether the amounts of money going into the commercial sector are value for money. I am not going to express a view on whether their profits are reasonable or unreasonable. It is a matter for government, to decide whether it is an industry it chooses to regulate or not regulate, but I do know that the costs involved in the changes that have been made are very high: I mean, one company alone investing something around 100 million in archiving. So, I think, to get to depth with your question as to whether it represents value for money is quite a complicated issue. Value for money has to be defined with some care and I would say overall the research community is probably getting better value for money than ever because we are getting better and better access to research material online, to databases and to archive material. In that regard, value for money is increasing, given the total volume of published material is increasing.

Q338 Dr Turner: You are satisfied access is improving.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Very much so. Enormously so.

Q339 Dr Iddon: Surely the majority of publications comes from academia. Probably at least equal use or maybe more use is made of those publications by industry. If we go towards author pays, academia is going to bear most of the brunt of the cost of publishing whilst industry benefits more at no cost.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: This is a very important point in the broader debate that is going on. Some have taken the view that, if we strongly promote open-access publishing and force the issue, and the costs of publishing an article are in the range $500 to $5,000 - and remembering that open access enterprises at the moment are often subsidised by the not-for-profit organisations ------

Q340 Kate Hoey: Could you speak in pounds not dollars.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I am terribly sorry. I will try to do the mental conversion. We are talking somewhere between £300 and £3,000 for publishing an individual article is the estimate for open access. Now I am aware that the Royal Society made a statement to you which said that, if its £300 research fellows that it funds published all of their material in open access, and indeed if the cost of that open access publishing on the author was towards the sort of middle to upper end of that bracket, they would require an extra £2 million per year to support that publication, so this is part of that debate. If you then take that through the whole academic enterprise in the UK you do get fairly large numbers

Q341 Dr Iddon: How do we make industry pay its full whack?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: At the moment industry, you could argue, pays a significant whack in the present system. It is getting some things for free through open access, which is relatively small. It is paying a significant amount of money to not-for-profit organisations in buying their journals, which is supporting the scientific enterprise and the commercial publishers.

Q342 Paul Farrelly: Do you agree there is an inherent problem, a free-rider problem, that may damage academia and the whole of the publishing market, were the Government wanting to push one particular model that was not tested in the market place?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Personally I do. I think I was reflecting where discussions have got to, not only in DTI but more broadly - and my colleagues here will make their point. There is a danger of pushing open access too hard and loading the dice in favour of open access, because I do not personally think the business model has been researched enough to justify that, and that is why I use this rather loose language "facilitate". I believe the community will find its way with open access. It has to be confident in the peer-review system, confident that if it publishes there it is going to have its impact on the broader community that it is looking for, and I think this will develop in a sort of market way. I feel we have a responsibility to make that type of publishing available but not to load the dice so heavily in favour of it at a time when I do not think we fully understand that model or its impact or indeed the uptake is going to be pretty variable between the different sorts of sciences. So I am agreeing with you.

Q343 Chairman: Let's get a bit more specific then: Are you talking to the DfES or the DCMS in this strategic look at the whole situation?

Mr Thirunamachandran: Could I respond to that? It is fair to say that at HEFCE we have, through the Joint Information Systems Committee, provided some funding, as you know - and you heard evidence from Frederick Friend on this issue - to support exploratory work on open access, and I think I agree with Sir Keith when he says that we need to explore further in order to use innovative means by which we can transmit knowledge and information further. I think we do need a strategic approach nationally to harness all our research information resources to best use. And, as you also probably know, HEFCE, together with the other UK funding bodies and the British Library and the other national libraries, the Scottish and Welsh libraries, did ask Sir Brian Follett to do a review of his.

Q344 Chairman: When is this all going to come to fruition, then?

Mr Thirunamachandran: Sir Brian published a report.

Q345 Chairman: When is this strategy going to come to fruition?

Mr Thirunamachandran: Which we are actually working on now and the OST, DTI, DfES, the other funding bodies and the libraries have had discussions and we hope very soon, in the next eight weeks, we will actually be in a position where we have a systematic, strategic look at this issue. Sir Brian Follet recommended that the funding bodies, together with the libraries, should set up a research libraries' network, which was a small body which took a strategic perspective on research information and resources, and that is what we are endeavouring to implement.

Q346 Chairman: In eight weeks time will there be a document, a statement? Where will it be made?

Mr Thirunamachandran: There will be a statement made, I hope very soon, a joint statement which sets out the way forward in terms of a strategic framework, and then a lot more work could be done. The work we have funded through JISC is only a start and only a part of it.

Q347 Chairman: Is VAT on digital publications part of that debate as well? That has been quite an agitation amongst a lot of people. Are you going to do something about VAT?

Mr Thirunamachandran: It is certainly an issue which has been brought to our attention, yes.

Q348 Chairman: Are you going to do anything about it?

Mr Thirunamachandran: It is not something which HEFCE has, in a sense, a particular role in or could do anything about, other than ------

Q349 Chairman: Keith O'Nions, are you going to do something about it? Are you going to talk to the Treasury about it?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: OST has not. I do not know, frankly, whether other parts of the DTI have. I will certainly let you know if that is the case. My sense is that what could usefully come out of his pretty vigorous discussion and debate going on there ought to be a policy put together jointly between DfES, OST/DTI and DCMS.

Q350 Chairman: What would facilitate that? Why has it not been happening? This has been going on for 10/15 years in my life.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I remember it going back 10 or 15 years and I still have not published in an open-access journal. It has been going on a long time. The profile of it is, I think, probably somewhat higher in the United States than here. There are high profile articles being published quite frequently in the journals Science and Nature. I do not think the debate has been as vigorous in the UK and I do not think the overall strength of opinion is greater.

Q351 Chairman: Do you think it is vigorous enough just now?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Let me be quite frank; I think the interest that your Committee has taken in this subject has given some stimulus and momentum to broader debates in government, which I think is a healthy situation.

Q352 Kate Hoey: Are you saying that in neither of your capacities have you put anything into the Treasury asking a question about VAT? The OST have not made any representations to the Treasury.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I have received a note. It is always good to get facts from those sitting behind! "DTI have raised with Customs & Excise changes on VAT. Needs agreement on EU and a schedule ..." I think we can probably give you a more formal answer. So there have been discussions with Customs & Excise. I was speaking on my behalf: I have had no discussions with the Treasury. Perhaps we will send you a note on formally what has happened.

Q353 Dr Harris: If we could talk about open access a bit deeper. You have talked about, in your view, not loading the dice, but we have had a huge amount of evidence suggesting that open access is only ever going to happen, given the huge influence of the existing, thriving, successful publishing industry, if government takes a role specifically, by mandate, requiring - not just saying, "Well, if you want to, do it" - that any publicly funded research is fully publicly available and that resources will be made available to require that to be published in an open access form. Clearly there are issues about where the funding comes from, and I will explore that in a moment. If you carry on your "We are going to take a middle way, we are not going to load the dice, we are going to have strategic discussions," we are going to be here in ten years time with very little progress.. You have the power, given the huge amount of influence, prestige and money behind publicly funded research in this country, to make a difference. Do you think it is possible you will ever decide, you and your colleagues, to make that difference, to take the plunge?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I do not want to be evasive but ----

Q354 Dr Harris: But?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: -- the changes that have taken place over the last decade in publishing and access to electronic data are simply immense - I mean, as a person who uses this - and we could not have predicted the rate of change that has taken place. I think it would be a pretty brave decision of a government at the present time to say that it has sufficient confidence in the open-access business model and confidence that the community - which is actually all that really matters at the end of the day - will itself have confidence in the peer review quality and the impact of it to shift rapidly from something that it knows and trusts to an open-access model. So, making that decision, I think, would be very bold with the information that we have and would be a little more ideologically driven than pragmatically driven.

Q355 Dr Harris: I would like to come back to that in a moment, but, Professor Wood, do you have anything more to add or anything on open access that has gone before, because you have not had a chance to say anything yet?

Professor Wood: Thank you very much. I was hoping not to!

Q356 Chairman: You were quite good last time.

Professor Wood: Thank you. I here represent RCUK, not just my own research councils, and across the research councils I would say there is still some degree of uncertainty about how they see the future. At one extreme, in the particle physics community, it has been open access for at least ten years now, on the worldwide web; right through to the humanities side, where perhaps a composer may feel less confident in sharing their work or whatever in that respect. So I think there is a maturing of views. If I may speak on my own council's behalf, we do have a policy of open access and of having an institutional archive: all staff have to put their papers into that archive. There is a spectrum of views here and I think that represents what Keith was saying really, in that in certain areas there needs to become a confidence which is going to take some time to develop.

Q357 Dr Harris: Let's explore what Sir Keith just said. We have a government that says we are best when we are bold, but you are saying that the policy in your department is not to be bold in this issue because there is still work to be done to ensure that the business model is robust. At least could you say you are actively researching how the sky is going to fall in if there is a requirement that publicly funded research is funded through an open-access model, because many people argue that that would give it the boost it needs and then it will take over. Certainly the public have said they will adjust to such a model. They are not saying, "Keep it away from us, it is a disaster, they will fix their price and go with it. Is it not just the innate conservatism of the publishing and scientific community and policy?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: No, I do not think so. I told you that officials are discussing these matters actively in OST. Ministers have not made any policy change. I think one must be clear what ministers think and what officials are talking about. I would go back to what I said: my own view is that it would be unwise to go at more than an organic rate in this, and the uptake of open access - again, I will use the word "facilitate" - we should make it possible for people to do that, and for people in institutions that are not cash-rich we should make sure the money is available to do this if they wish. But I think people have to develop the confidence in that. For example, the most prestigious thing for most scientists to do is to publish in Nature and a commercial journal of that type. I think it will be a very long time before a journal like Nature looses its immense prestige as a place to publish anywhere, for anybody in the world, even though it is a profit-making organisation.

Q358 Dr Harris: I understand that point, but is it not an all or nothing? Because you are never going to get a big shift to author pays, unless you get a shift in funding from libraries paying, to research grants having whatever the amount of money it is reckoned to be. Saying we are going to facilitate it, not load the dice, play a middle game, really means gradual progress when that is going to take years and years and years. Do you at least accept that is the game we are in, even if you do not think the decision has been made?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I do, indeed. One is also aware that there are quite different political views in whether commercial publishing and making a profit is a worthy and justifiable thing or it is not. That is the world we go in. But, in terms of the personal view I am expressing to you, I think this thing should go at an organic rate commensurate with the way in which the community wishes to change. Probably what will happen is it will be changed a great deal faster than you or I expect, as it has changed in the last ten years at a rate that we could not have anticipated as the worldwide web and the internet has matured.

Q359 Paul Farrelly: I wanted to take the opposite tack from Evan, because of the frustration borne out of state funding research, surrounding copyright and people having to pay for access to their own research in the way the industry is now set up, there is an element of having your cake and eating it about this debate about open access. In a sense that it is a false discussion, because it would be wonderful to have all that access to your own research for free plus access to all the other research that is published in journals to have the best of both worlds. The people proposing open access have not really considered the serious potential effects, which are unpredictable, on the structure of the market now, and because of potential free-rider problems, as to whether the amount of research published might actually shrink.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: All I can say is I agree with you. I do not think we have sufficient analysis of this and understanding of it in a sector that is still significantly less than 5 per cent and is being subsidised. I think it is playing an important role, but the real viability of that and the impact it has I do not think we have enough research to give us the confidence for me to demur from the point you make.

Q360 Dr Harris: Why are you in a position where you think it is between £300 and £3,000? That is a huge range, clearly. Is there a lack of research?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Yes.

Q361 Dr Harris: Are false figures being put in there? I am astonished that there has not been a clearer view about what the costs would be on average, particularly in a particular field.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: That is the range that is as good as I have access to at the moment, and I would agree with you immediately that this is a subject that needs a lot more investigation. I can understand why the range may be large - and let me just quote two things that would intuitively suggest that it is going to be a big range. The vast majority of things submitted to Nature, go out for referring and all the costs associated with that but get rejected, do not get published. Its prestige comes of publishing a very small proportion of what it receives, so the costs are obviously going to be quite high per article. There are other journals which scientists have somewhat less respect for, as it were, which may publish 80 or 90 per cent of what they are receiving. The cost per article there is going to be different. You could conceive of some sort of open access without peer review that published everything, and then the costs would be exceedingly low but the respect for them as publications will be proportionately lower as well.

Q362 Dr Harris: John says that his council is providing money for this sort of research, and RCUK in their evidence say, "Research councils will have to provide funds to meet publications costs within reasonable limits." That begs the question, firstly, what are the limits? At what level, at the £300 end or the £3,000 end, are you pitching it? If you pitch it at less than the Nature costs, then you are basically saying, "Feel free within limits to publish in open access" but obviously you will continue to publish prestigious high-impact stuff through the normal business model, which is a little unfair on those people who want a level playing field and not loaded dice, if I may use those terms.

Professor Wood: I think this is a very valid point actually to bring up. At one extreme we hear that General Science is even thinking of $10,000 - I am sorry, £7,000 or so - and some learned societies are a few hundred pounds. At the moment there is only one research council that actually allows grant-holders to bid specifically for publication and open access, but they do have availability, the overhead that is there at the moment - but, again, with the discussion with dual funding that may actually change. It is a very difficult subject this, because the area of confidence in the journal and its status is the key issue here. It might actually reduce the number but may it actually improve the quality? These are the sort of issues. I fully concur with Keith here: I do not think we know enough about it to realise what the impact would mean.

Q363 Dr Harris: At some point you are going to recognise a significant double payment, because money is going into libraries, and some money, within reasonable limits - and I would be interested to know what those limits are - is going to authors to fund. I am not sure that the public would want to be paying twice and sooner or later there has to be some virement to keep pace with the organic (the term you used - an interesting term) growth in open access if that is what there is going to be. Could anyone explain how that is going to be tackled?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Could I just make a comment on that. To my knowledge that has been happening in a small way for about 30 years in the United States. I will give you a very specific example. There is a thing called the American Geophysical Union, which is obviously a not-for-profit organisation, which for the last 30 years, for those who can afford to pay on their grants in the US, they charge $75 to $100 per printed page. That is quite normal, so the author is paying through the grants system, but at the same time the printed and electronic versions of that journal are sold back to the author and more broadly, just as other journals are, and the profits they are making from that enterprise they are using to support student activities, conference grants and so on. So there are examples already where you have this mixture of author paying twice. That really just supports what John says. It is a deeply complex subject, and that is a practice that has been going on for 30 years.

Q364 Dr Harris: Overall, let's say, £10 million or a reasonable limit of money is being spent, presumably libraries are not having a cut in their budget - and they would say they were under-funded anyway - but is there a conscious effort, in order to avoid double payment through the public purse at least, to shift money when this grows?

Mr Thirunamachandran: I think the issue of potential double payment is a slightly hypothetical one. For the foreseeable future there is going to be a hybrid model, when both systems are going to be running in parallel: libraries will be continuing to subscribe for a range of journals, whilst open-access publishing will also grow, as it is indeed growing at present. Whilst a hybrid model is in place, I think the notion of double funding is probably a hypothetical rather than real issue.

Paul Farrelly: Clearly not a great deal of work has gone on down in the bowels of the DTI. This is not so far up the list of priorities.

Chairman: Is it in the DTI or the OST that the work is not going on?

Q365 Paul Farrelly: Reid Elsevier, clearly the biggest company, a British-based company, said to us that a move to an author-pays model would be costly to the UK because we publish more than we read. Has sufficient work gone on to try to estimate the potential economic impact of the different models on the UK?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Not to my knowledge, but there are some DTI people sitting behind me that may pass me some information. In those sorts of broader economic terms, I do not believe there has been, but I think our analysis is absolutely correct.

Q366 Paul Farrelly: The OFT has clearly looked at the market and has concluded that the market for STM publications is not working well at the moment. I wondered in what respects the panel share that view, if at all.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Could you be more specific?

Q367 Paul Farrelly: Let us take the example of Reed Elsevier which has 18 per cent of the market. Following a look at the market by the OFT, has the DTI taken the issue seriously enough to consider whether, for example, a company like Reed Elsevier has what might be called a complex monopoly?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I cannot give you an answer to that. I will pass you the formal DTI position on that, if I may.

Q368 Paul Farrelly: We would be very interested in that.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I am very happy to do that but I have had no involvement in any discussions that have taken place in that, if at all.

Q369 Dr Turner: The World Summit on the Information Society, a summit of the UN, has published a declaration of principles and a plan of action that are committed to the principle of "universal access with equal opportunities for all to scientific knowledge." How much influence has this summit had on government policy in the UK? How committed is the UK to its stated principles? Indeed, are we in a position to implement it even if we wanted to or is it a complete waste of time?

Mr Thirunamachandran: I cannot respond for the Government other than to say what HEFCE has already started to do by way of the funding we provide through JISC in terms of exploring new models of publication.

Dr Iddon: The transition period, where we are operating more than one publishing model, Sir Keith, is going to be extremely costly. I think everybody would agree on that. We have raised a few questions with you this morning about whether academia and the UK generally will cope with this hybrid transition period, but are you able to tell the Committee whether any branch of the Government has thought about offering publishers some money to allow them to travel through this transition period, whether the publishers be commercial, who are probably less likely to need help, or the learned societies, which I am particularly thinking of, who obviously are going to find it extremely difficult to survive against the commercial publishers during the transition period?

Q370 Chairman: I believe you did say there was money available for open access that they could put that into. Did you say that?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: This is a research council responsibility but I believe one of the research councils at least is making money available.

Q371 Chairman: How much?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I do not know the number.

Professor Wood: That I cannot answer. It is EPSRC.

Q372 Chairman: They know, do they?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: They will know what has been bid for. I am not sure they have a number they agree to but individual proposes can say that is how much they believe they want.

Q373 Chairman: Perhaps you could try to answer Brian Iddon's question.

Professor Wood: I will try to get that information to you.

Q374 Dr Turner: Professor Wood, you have made reference to the particle physics archive. How much does that cost to run and where does the funding come from?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I can answer that. This is broadened from particle physics archive and it is more broadly science now in the US. It is currently, I believe, run through the Cornell and its source of funds certainly includes the National Science Foundation; so federal US funds in a university environment are supporting that. Again, whether that is a sustainable model into the future .... Archive.org I believe is the name of the site.

Q375 Dr Turner: Paul Farrelly has already referred to the possibility of double payment, but a clear possibility that has been raised by Research Council UK is that research councils can end up paying at both ends; both paying for open-ended access publication and paying for the cost of journal subscriptions. How does this affect your grant allocation policy in terms of giving people money?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: The research councils and OST are not generally paying for subscriptions within universities. That is a responsibility of my colleague.

Q376 Dr Turner: It is partly infrastructure costs.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Yes, but they are infrastructure costs that are coming from higher education. But you are right, in as much as, if this business model succeeds and develops as one expects it will develop, then there will be upfront costs to OST for supporting that. I do not think at the moment we know how big those are going to be as a function of time. We know how big they could be, but how much money will need to be made available we do not know. Obviously it will start off being really very small because the percentage usage is small.

Q377 Dr Turner: Do you want to comment on your support for the subscriber?

Mr Thirunamachandran: At the moment in the UK we provide a significant amount of funding to universities for the basic infrastructure, but ultimately HEFCE funds are less than half of what the totality of the university sector's general income is; so it is difficult to specify exactly how much of HEFCE's money might be going to libraries, but UK university libraries spend about £400 million, of which probably 10 per cent is on general subscriptions.

Q378 Chairman: Did universities not have an exercise in the last few years where they were told to chase the money? It seems to me I remember the Chancellor was quite adamant about making sure you knew where the money went in universities.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: The track methodology.

Q379 Chairman: Yes.

Mr Thirunamachandran: Around £400 million is spent by universities on libraries, of which around 10 per cent is on general subscriptions at present.

Q380 Chairman: So that is £40 million.

Mr Thirunamachandran: Around that figure, broadly speaking. This is a UK-wide figure, so it covers more than England.

Q381 Mr Key: Could I turn to the question on institutional repositories. We have been told that 83 per cent of publishers currently allow authors to archive their papers in a post-print archive but hardly any will publish papers that have been deposited on a pre-print server. The project known as Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access (SHERPA) has told us that institutional repositories can be set up quite quickly and efficiently. What is the position of the Government and the research councils on this problem of institutional repositories?

Professor Wood: As far as the RCUK is concerned, we are fully in favour of institutional repositories. Indeed, my own council does have such enthusiasm, but I think this goes back to an earlier question really about what confidence do we have in the whole system and the publishers and those who are upholding these repositories, and also, to an extent, where there is long-term archiving, who is holding the responsibility 100 years hence. These are issues, but the RCUK are very much in favour of institutional repositories.

Q382 Mr Key: Are you prepared to help fund them? Is the Government and the DTI prepared to help fund these repository systems?

Professor Wood: We fund ours.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: In effect, it does. SHERPA is the one you were talking about, CURL is another one. In effect, they are funded by use of government funds. I agree with my colleague, I think they are a very welcome development.

Q383 Mr Key: Am I right to assume that you would encourage interconnection? Would you be prepared to help fund it specifically? Rather than just as we have been talking, Sir Keith, in terms of general grant provision, would you be prepared to ring-fence some funding for this project?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I think that is a very important suggestion. It is not one that I personally have given a lot of thought to, but I think it does call for some real clarity of what sort of policy we should have. If I think there is a very strong argument in favour of putting some ring-fencing for that, we should entertain the possibility. I am not aware that we have been pressured from the outside for it, but I think it is a very important point.

Q384 Mr Key: Could I ask, finally: What effect do you think self-archiving on either pre- or post-print repositories might have on the publishing industry? They are very interested in this, clearly, but what do you think?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Self-archiving at an institutional level, do you mean?

Q385 Mr Key: Absolutely.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I do not have an analysis of what effect that would have on the commercial publishing industry.

Q386 Mr Key: Does anybody else have strong views?

Professor Wood: I cannot comment on the effect it would have on the commercial side, but I am concerned that the long-term archiving is taken forward very seriously. We archive a lot of our data, for instance, and we find the software backup and things you need just to be able to access that after ten years is very difficult to support. I am very concerned that there is a policy on this. We are in discussions with the British Library and we fully support their role in perhaps taking an active part.

Q387 Mr Key: Who would be responsible for developing such a policy? Would it be the DTI?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I think it would have to be developed jointly with the DCMS because of the legal deposit aspect of the British Library. So DCMS, DTI/OST and the Higher Education.

Q388 Mr Key: Who gets the ball rolling between those departments in an environment of joined-up government.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: The ball is actually rolling. We have had numerous discussions. And, as I say, being quite frank, I think the interest of this Committee has stimulated that considerably.

Q389 Mr Key: Do you have in mind a timescale for this before something actually happens as opposed to letting the ball roll?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I sense, from the conversations we have had this morning, that the timescale may be shortening quite rapidly!

Q390 Mr Key: Years? Months?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Well, you can measure anything in any unit of time, but I would say months.

Chairman: Let's help get that ball in the goal-mouth.

Q391 Kate Hoey: I am interested in "quality" journals. We hear about quality journals a lot and we know that the RAE uses, in terms of their assessment, what kind of publication it has been in. Could you define for us what "quality" means? Who has decided what a quality journal is and how do you judge it?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I shall probably get pulled up immediately by one of your colleagues, but the assessment of quality is purely qualitative, unfortunately.

Q392 Dr Turner: Do you mean subjective?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: It is subjective.

Q393 Kate Hoey: If Joe Bloggs wants to go and buy a quality journal, how does he know it is a quality journal?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: In a particular field of endeavour, there are particular journals that are sought after for individuals to publish in, and this will be some function of how tough it is to publish there; confidence they have in the peer review; journals that anecdotally they know all of their colleagues whom they hold in esteem will pick up immediately it comes onto the internet or comes into their library. It is that sort of judgment that sets journals at a very high esteem. Nature is one of these journals that, even in a full-time job in Whitehall, I almost sort of snatch off the table when it arrives on Thursday, because I know there will probably be things in there of great scientific importance week after week. It is that sort of subjective judgment.

Q394 Kate Hoey: So you just assume that if something is in a good quality journal it is a very, very important piece of work. Do you think sometimes that what something is published in is more important than the content?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: No, I mean the importance of a piece of work sometimes takes many, many years to establish, but people can feel assured that that piece of work will have been rigorously peer reviewed, and therefore has a high chance of being free of error, and will be timely and will not be just a repetitive piece of research. It is that sort of assurance that people feel. What its real impact is on science may be minimal or may take another 30 years to discover.

Professor Wood: I have been in this game for some time and, like Keith, I have been referee on many, many journals. It is quite interesting to see how their impact is really assessed. As you say, there are some very top-flight ones but in individual subject areas there are ones which anecdotally rise to the top of the pile. I actually believe that this does need looking at quite seriously because there are articles which have come out in journals that are less highly regarded. I know in my own sector, in the research assessment exercise, the panel actually read all the papers. That, I understand, is not always the case, but that is an anecdote that I cannot confirm. Certainly I know that when one looks at people's CVs one looks at the list of publications and one looks at the journal titles.

Q395 Kate Hoey: Is there not a problem for people working in narrow or niche types of research? We heard from Professor Fry how difficult it was in, say, applied ecology to get published.

Professor Wood: As I say, I think this needs actively looking at in terms of standards and how the judgments are made. That is my personal view, I am not speaking on behalf of the RCUK at this point. In the long-term, with a move towards open access the whole area of peer review status should be openly debated.

Q396 Kate Hoey: So there would be more opportunity for new journals to come on to the market?

Professor Wood: Certainly there need to be kite marks of certain types in order to allow people to assess what the quality of that output would be, whether it is a journal or just an e-form in some form, it needs to have a quality standard attached to it.

Q397 Dr Iddon: I am particularly concerned about the Research Assessment Exercise scores which universities get and the journals which people publish in. I just put it to you that by academics seeking to publish in high impact journals, that discriminates against the new and open access journals and, therefore, academics in a way are helping to maintain the high cost journals rather than encouraging the development of new and cheaper methods of publication.

Mr Thirunamachandran: Let us just address the RAE issue head on. The motivation for people to publish in different journals to do with prestige and status in a sense is unrelated to the RAE. If you look at other countries which do not have an RAE, people still want to publish in Nature or the various prestigious journals that Sir Keith has referred to. That is a personal promotional dimension which exists within the system. RAE's job is to asses the quality of the research and, as Professor Wood has already mentioned anecdotally, their job is to look at the research output which is submitted. Of course, the form of output and where it is published is one factor. Fundamentally, RAE and any peer review is about looking at the quality of the output.

Q398 Chairman: Given that there is interdisciplinary research going on now, is there a difficulty in knowing which journal to put it in? Like grants being passed from one Research Council to another, you can get an article being passed from one journal to another. Is that now beginning to emerge which will make it very difficult?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I can give you a personal view on that. There is always a difficulty when you get strong interdisciplinarity. Journals obviously grow up and develop to capture some sector which is reasonably well-defined and people understand and as science evolves things happen in-between. I think many scientists at various times in their careers are faced with the dilemma of where quite to put their article. Your experience may be similar to mine, that unless there are enough people around that area usually a new publication or the emphasis of an existing publication changes to meet it. That is an ongoing issue. I do believe the system that we have overall in its component parts does respond reasonably well to it.

Professor Wood: I believe journals effectively catch up with the field when they will see a market opportunity. There is now a plethora of these journals. When I started publishing some of these between the cracks ----

Q399 Chairman: They may become the places to publish actually.

Professor Wood: To start with they have a low impact factor, which goes back to the earlier point, and that is where you come into conflict.

Q400 Chairman: The point is that the RAE preserves the status quo of high price journals. How do you break that circle?

Professor Wood: I see where you are coming from. I have my own personal views.

Q401 Chairman: Tell me, please.

Professor Wood: The thing here is do you put it into a high prestige journal and nobody is going to read your article or are you going to put it into a low prestige journal where you know it is going to be read but is not going to give you the impact? That is always the dilemma when you get to this situation. There is another dilemma because my research is with industry as well and industry wants you to publish in a very low prestige journal in order to get to their customers and you want to publish in some obscure journal that nobody is going to read because of the impact factor. There is always this dichotomy.

Q402 Chairman: So any decisions you make in the Department after your consultation could break this status quo system, could it not? You could encourage other journals to become upfront and the place to publish given that interdisciplinary is the flavour.

Professor Wood: That is why I made the point that I think there needs to be some quality standards on what these journals are standing for. There are the very big impact ones, and Nature has been mentioned, Science is another one ----

Q403 Chairman: Nature can get passť after a bit. Once you have three papers published in it you are finished, to hell with it.

Professor Wood: I do not grab Nature each week as Keith does, I have my own journals that I grab. There are journals lower down where the impact is relatively low and those are the ones where it is important to get the articles in.

Dr Turner: As a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry I felt very loyal to the Society as a learned society and, therefore, the vast majority of my research was published in the journals published by the learned society. I also knew that my younger colleagues who were perhaps ahead of the field were not publishing in those journals, they were going elsewhere to high impact journals because they were very conscious of the RAE research scores that we have just been discussing and, therefore, people who are loyal to their learned societies might lose out by taking that action.

Q404 Chairman: And there is the promotional aspect.

Professor Wood: As a fellow Fellow, yes, I agree with you. I have done exactly the same.

Q405 Dr Turner: Can we change tack a little. Lots of publishers require authors to hand over full rights of the copyright to their research papers. Are you content for so much intellectual property to be handed from the public to the commercial sector? If so, why?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: On a personal level, personally as a researcher, I have never found this a big issue. It has not troubled me massively in terms of getting access to those data and so on. Broadly, amongst the UK community it is not an enormous issue but that does not mean to say it is not something that requires great consideration. I do not think it is a great bubbling issue in the UK.

Mr Thirunamachandran: One has to draw a distinction between ownership of intellectual property, of copyright, and exploitation of intellectual property, copyright. In a sense, ownership is not so important as long as the rights to exploit and licensing and other arrangements are in place so that knowledge can be disseminated and transferred.

Q406 Dr Turner: That distinction is kept clearly by the publishers and they do not try to get involved in exploitation of any kind, do they? Have there been any cases where they have abused their position?

Mr Thirunamachandran: I am not in a position to answer that. I do not know.

Q407 Dr Turner: It could not be that one of the reasons why you are less worried about this hand over of the intellectual property rights is that there are not any systems in place to help authors manage it properly so it would entail more work. Is that an issue?

Mr Thirunamachandran: Institutions, as part of their knowledge transfer activities, are supported to have experts who in other areas support patents and licensing arrangements and so on. Many of the larger institutions would have some in-house expertise which could be used to support authors on copyright and related licensing issues.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I sense we are in a territory here which is quite complicated in a way when you talk of intellectual property because if you think of intellectual property that may give rise to a patent then obviously that would not be published in any manner whatsoever until the patent application had been made. If we are talking about intellectual property that may not have any clear short-term exploitation then we are using intellectual property in a somewhat different way. I am slightly confused as to where your questioning is taking us.

Q408 Dr Turner: The main point at issue, the publishing rights, is the question of the further use of the material, whether for teaching purposes or whatever.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: There is a variable but somewhat improved situation in my own personal experience, and again I do not have all the detailed analysis of using that stuff for teaching, personal use and getting permission to use it in other publications and reviews. I think mostly that is satisfactory, again I do not have the statistics. I am sure there will be situations where there are still pockets of annoyance, but my sense is that situation is reasonably satisfactory.

Professor Wood: I was just going to continue the answer to that question. I understand that about 65 per cent of publishers now allow institutional self-archiving anyway and that is how we go ahead, although we do 100 per cent and that was really because of this potential IPR, it started off with the patentable area where we obviously protect ourselves first of all. We have not noticed any major problem there, we just do it.

Q409 Paul Farrelly: I am speaking not as a scientist but a former journalist. I am quite baffled, Professor O'Nions, at your bafflement at the questioning on copyright. You have previously talked about facilitating a level playing field and we tied you down to one specific, which was about shifting pots of money around, but if you were really taking a serious look at facilitating a level playing field you could not have done that without looking at the issue of copyright.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I fully accept your point. I am not pretending that we have analysed all the ins and outs of it. When you look at open access and start getting into it you, are immediately impressed with how complex the issues are. When you look at archiving you realise that the open access issue is far less complex than the issues involved with copyright. I completely accept your implied criticism. I do not think we have fully researched and understood all the implications of these changing models.

Q410 Paul Farrelly: If you put some hard questions about the importance of copyright in such a review to the industry you would test how important current practices on copyright are to the industry, how integral they are, rather than it just being "Well, somebody else is doing it, therefore it has not come up, we are going to take all copyright away". Copyright also has value, do you believe, in a different sense because it can facilitate a level playing field?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: It has to be part of that balance.

Q411 Mr Key: The Government has told us in written evidence to the Committee that there is a need for the Government and other public bodies to collaborate to keep down purchasing costs. What actual measures has the Government taken to achieve that?

Mr Thirunamachandran: I do not know in detail.

Q412 Mr Key: It was the Government's evidence so presumably the Government said it and they had something in mind.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I am waiting for a scribbled note.

Q413 Mr Key: Any help from the back benches? Could you very kindly write to us then to say what you meant in the evidence you gave that you cannot remember.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: The observation is a great deal has happened with universities starting to get together to collectively buy bundles of publications and so on and reduce costs in that way. There is quite a lot of evidence as to an observation on what has happened. You are asking the particular question is there an item of Government policy that has pushed that.

Q414 Mr Key: Yes. The Government said that: "overall, Government needs to organise effectively to reduce the total purchasing costs and should actively ensure that other public bodies do so as well". So nothing has happened, it did not actually mean anything?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: We will give you written advice on any specific.

Mr Key: I would be grateful. Thank you very much.

Q415 Chairman: Let us have three questions to take us up to the end. Do you believe in publicly funded research being available to all the public? Do you believe in that principle? If the Government believes in it would it fund it, do you think? Should it fund it?

Professor Wood: It is RCUK's principle that it should be publicly available.

Q416 Chairman: So you would rather leave it to the Government to do it than commercial publishers?

Professor Wood: I do not think we have a view as a collective group on that.

Q417 Chairman: What I am finding very difficult here is that you do not have the answers we really need to advance things, and I think you feel that yourselves. What I do not understand is why, Sir Keith, you are representing the DTI. Why did they not send somebody else in? Is that because they have got nothing to say, they have done nothing or are they hiding and putting you up as the best they can get?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I do not think there is anything sinister like that. I happen to be the one who has come along.

Q418 Dr Turner: You drew the short straw.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: I do not think - I will be quite open - I can fully represent all the wider views of the DTI and I said that at the beginning. Clearly the view is that the OST has a very strong involvement in that and that is where a great deal of the public funding for research goes on and I think that is why I am here rather than anybody else.

Q419 Chairman: But is there somebody else who has got responsibility in the DTI? Those sitting behind you presumably.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: There are other parts of the DTI that are responsible for looking at the business models, commercial practice and value to the UK and the impact of other sorts of models on the UK economy and so on. That is certainly way outside of my remit.

Q420 Paul Farrelly: Would you agree that it would have been helpful to have somebody responsible for competition matters from the DTI coming to the Committee?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Given the nature of the conversations we have had this morning and some of the areas where the three people in front of you have been less than helpful, either because we do not have the experience or the responsibility, it must be right. There must be others that you could have usefully spoken to.

Q421 Dr Harris: Turning to the issue of public interest and public policy, which is more OST than DTI, you will be relieved to hear, do you think it is reasonable that public money should be spent in, for example, but not only, biomedical research where a question is asked, the result is negative, therefore, in a sense, not of positive interest and that is never published?

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: When you say that it is never ----

Q422 Dr Harris: It is the problem of publication bias basically, that negative results, publicly funded or otherwise, are not published, so that is a huge problem. If you have 20 studies you could get one with a five per cent chance of showing a positive result but if that is the only one published it looks like evidence when, in fact, it is not.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: As a general assertion, I do not think I can agree with you. The whole nature of experimental science and research is that negative results are published and they are extremely important results because of that. If something does not work, that is a very useful piece of knowledge which often is published because it tells somebody else "don't bother to go and do this" or if perhaps you believe it should have worked you will have another go at it. As a general assertion I do not think I can agree with you.

Q423 Dr Harris: I am quite surprised, I thought it was generally agreed that there was a problem, not that every negative result was not published but that many were not. I am talking about funded money through the Research Councils or otherwise being used for a project where one does not insist on publication and, therefore, the researchers when they get a negative result do not have to write it up, they can move on to something that hopefully will be positive and high impact and more RAE based. I am just wondering whether there should be a system whereby all results from publicly funded research grants are published and the Government should facilitate there being a journal, for example, of negative results where this could be done. Clearly peer review needs to take place but I would be surprised if peer review said "This is not positive, get out of our journal". Has that been thought about and discussed? This is topical in the science community, certainly the bioscience community.

Professor Wood: I have read an awful lot of papers which have got nothing in them because nothing happened. I am sure others have as well.

Q424 Chairman: You have published a few!

Professor Wood: If I have I will not admit it.

Q425 Dr Harris: You just have to read the abstract.

Professor Wood: I would say that the Research Councils do demand publication in as much as that all research after it is finished is assessed and one of the key criteria for whether the work has been done properly is how much dissemination there has been of those data. That does feed back in quite strongly. There are some areas where more speculative research is undertaken where the initial proposition is almost essentially totally flawed. I can think of one which I was involved in which took eight years to sort things out, but we managed to publish an awful lot of papers on the way to finding that it was totally flawed.

Q426 Dr Harris: This is tied into open access, is it not? Because of what you have just said , and you were joking about it, it is not a gripping read and, therefore, you are not going to sell many journals that are full of things that have not worked, whereas open access would be a way of ensuring that could be done, although there is still a cost to pay for.

Professor Wood: I think you are probably being a bit too black and white here because some negative results can be extremely useful and journalists do accept that. Personally I can think of ----

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Just take cold fusion.

Professor Wood: I did not publish that.

Professor Sir Keith O'Nions: Nor did I. Many, many articles on negative results were published. Can I just shift that a little bit. A great deal of research in universities is done by people working for their PhDs and when people write up their PhDs they are usually fairly fulsome and do report a great deal of things that may not have gone right, negative results and so on. I think there is probably a higher proportion of that sort of result in that domain perhaps than from people who are further on in their careers. That material is available, it is not published but it is all available from universities and so on. I think quite a lot of things that are perhaps not as exciting do actually end up being written and are accessible.

Q427 Dr Iddon: I do not think we could finish this session without referring to the university end of the public libraries. They are under great pressure because of increasing usage and, indeed, the increasing amount of published work, particularly in the research area. Certainly, in my view, the money awarded to university libraries in particular has not kept pace with those developments. This morning we have been discussing the transition period which is obviously going to increase costs on everybody who wants to buy in publications, whether they be hard copy or on the internet. Do you agree with me that university libraries are going to be grossly under-funded if we do not offer them some special assistance during this transition period?

Mr Thirunamachandran: I have already given the figures regarding the funding which goes into university libraries. University libraries will always claim, and with some justification, that prices of certain journals and certain books have gone up well ahead of the retail price index so that means they are struggling to keep pace in real terms. What we have done is to try to ensure that institutions collaborate more in terms of what they can do in provision. There is a small fund of just under five million which we provide called the Research Library Access Fund which is specifically aimed at those institutions which are prepared to collaborate and provide access to neighbouring and other institutions to improve access and to be more cost-effective in that way.

Professor Wood: From our perspective, this intermediate area is a problem for us and we are looking at it and positing various scenarios. In the end I think open access with institutional repositories is the way to go and then we will start to see savings, but in the meantime it is a problem.

Q428 Dr Iddon: Will the move to "author pays" help or hinder this situation?

Professor Wood: Again, it depends on the cost. This goes back to copyright and all the other things that have been mentioned, the cost of archiving. It could go either way.

Chairman: Can I say to the three of you, thank you very much for coming along. I hope the discussion has engendered some enthusiasm to get back there with some alacrity to get a move on to get some decisions and hopefully our report will play a part in that as well. Thank you very much for taking the time.