The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that the University is fed up with the incredibly high costs of academic journal subscriptions. This was evidently prompted by a large proposed increase in the subscription fees charged by the Nature Publishing Group.
On Tuesday, a letter went out to all of the university’s faculty members from the California Digital Library, which negotiates the system’s deals with publishers, and the University Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication. The letter said that Nature proposed to raise the cost of California’s license for its journals by 400 percent next year. If the publisher won’t negotiate, the letter said, the system may have to take “more drastic actions” with the help of the faculty. Those actions could include suspending subscriptions to all of the Nature Group journals the California system buys access to—67 in all, including Nature. … The current average cost for the Nature group’s journals is $4,465; under the 2011 pricing scheme, that would rise to more than $17,000 per journal, according to the California Digital Library.
The pressure does not stop there. The letter said that faculty would also organize “a systemwide boycott” of Nature’s journals if the publisher does not relent. The voluntary boycott would “strongly encourage” researchers not to contribute papers to those journals or review manuscripts for them. It would urge them to resign from Nature’s editorial boards and to encourage similar “sympathy actions” among colleagues outside the University of California system.
There is a lot more information in the article referenced above.