“It is particularly satisfying that the benefits of this process will have direct applications to activities elsewhere in College.” Gavin Phillips, Library Acquisitions and Metadata Team


Anticipated increases in requests for funding support for open access article processing charges (OA APCs) following both the RCUK and HEFCE REF mandates prompted a review into how Library Services process OA APC applications.

The review revealed that purchase orders were not consistently raised, and highlighted that most library invoices (subscriptions, books, e-books and APCs) are sent to the Library instead of Finance Accounts Payable. The Imperial Finance policy requires all invoices to have a purchase order raised when an agreement to provide services is made with a supplier, and that this invoice is sent to the central Accounts Payable team. 

Recent issues with missed supplier payments have created rework within both the Library Services and the centralised finance teams.


  • Streamline the process between Library finance and Accounts Payable
  • Agree and embed a ‘fast track’ process for payments and new supplier set up which defines exception ‘tiers’
  • Decentralise the Library's purchase ordering process
  • Ensure suppliers send all invoices directly to Accounts Payable
  • Maintain the relationship with academics and publishers, managing expectations and providing process transparency
  • Pay invoices on time and within terms


A process review is currently ongoing involving collaboration of staff from the Finance Division and Library Services.