Concern over London's research resources 1

June 18, 2009

I have been following with deepening anxiety the increasing dangers faced by research libraries in London, on many of which my research and that of many French colleagues depends (Letters, 4 June).

The English funding council contributes about £15 million a year towards the running of the institutes of the School of Advanced Study and their irreplaceable libraries to help make them available to the national and international research community. This is in return for the facilities offered to British scholars in libraries elsewhere in Europe.

I have now read that a decision has been taken to impose severe cuts on library staffing, overall space and the amount of material on open access. It is precisely the volume of open-access material that has in the past made libraries such as that of the Warburg Institute a mecca for scholars from overseas, and I am astonished that the University of London has reached a decision without seeking the views of the international community.

Jean-Louis Ferrary, Paris, Membre de l'Institut.

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