A blog post has been published giving details of Russell Group Libraries' spend on Elsevier content.
It has been published byTim Gowers following Freedom of Information requests to Russell Group universities. It can be found here: http://gowers.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/elsevier-journals-some-facts/#mor...
It includes a critique of Elsevier’s monopolistic position. He states: “in 2013, Elsevier’s profit margin was up to 39%. (The profit is a little over £800 million on a little over £2 billion.)” and that “The problem is quite simply that Elsevier has a monopoly over a product for which the demand is still very inelastic (the lack of elasticity being largely the fault of the academic community), with the result that the prices are unreasonably high for the service that Elsevier provides.”
He has conducted a survey of academics within the maths departments at Cambridge. It shows that “in both departments, most people would not suffer too much inconvenience if they had to do without Elsevier’s products and services, and a large majority were willing to risk doing without them if that would strengthen the bargaining position of those who negotiate with Elsevier.”
He provides the following figures for spend by the institutions which responded:
|King’s College London||£655,054||26,460|
|Queen's University Belfast||£584,020||22,990|
*Joined the Russell Group two years ago.
**Information obtained by Sean Williams.