Open letter to digital content and software suppliers cites ‘perfect storm’ of declining resources and increasing demands
A collective of higher education and research sector organisations has today appealed to digital content and software vendors seeking “pricing constraint” in the face of the growing cost-of-living crisis.
The group says: “The sector faces a perfect storm of declining resources and increased demands.
“We ask that providers work alongside us and not impose price increases, bundle products or otherwise impose conditions that limit our ability to meet our community’s needs or manage our spending.
“We call upon suppliers to offer flexibility, pricing constraint and to partner with us to meet these challenges.”
Signatories to the statement include:
- Professor Stephen Decent, chair, UUK/Jisc content negotiation strategy group
- Professor John Latham, CBE, chair, UUK/Jisc software negotiation strategy group
- Karel Thomas, executive director, British Universities Finance Directors Group (BUFDG)
- Ann Rossiter, executive director, Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL)
- David Prosser, executive director, Research Libraries UK (RLUK)
- Deborah Green, CEO, UCISA
- Gavin Phillips, category manager, academic services, Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium (SUPC)
- Dr Richard Parsons, chair, Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries (SCURL)
- Iain Young, chair, Scottish Higher Education Digital Library (SHEDL)
The statement points out that, while UK universities, research institutions and colleges have a vital role to play in driving growth, jobs and prosperity, they face soaring costs coupled with a reducing income.
At the same time, institutions are under pressure to deliver more, including providing extra support to students and staff struggling with the cost of living, achieving net zero, and training approximately 500,000 health and care professionals before 2026.
Professor Stephen Decent explains:
“The combined impact of an extraordinary hike in energy and equipment prices, the cap on student fees and the need to support students struggling with the cost of living means that institutions are facing unprecedented financial challenges.
“Additionally, while some digital content and software suppliers offered free access or discounts during the pandemic, these have now largely disappeared.
“For all these reasons, budgets are under huge pressure and many institutions cannot afford to provide the resources that staff and students need for effective teaching, learning and research.
“This is why we’re calling on suppliers to do right by students and researchers and make every effort to ensure their products are affordable.”