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Scholarly Journal Prices: Selected Trends and Comparisons - New Report from LISU

:: Joe Kraus, on the ReedElsevier listserv, writes:

I read in the SLA rag, Information Outlook, that the Library and Information Statistics Unit (LISU) of Loughborough University in Leicestershire, UK had written a report -- Scholarly Journal Prices: Selected Trends and Comparisons. "This report, published with the permission of Oxford Journals, a division of Oxford University Press, documents the results of the Journals Pricing Analysis project, undertaken by LISU for OUP."



Take a look at "Fig 2.5 Median journal prices - science" on page 15 of the PDF. This is particularly interesting. But, Elsevier does have /somewhat average/ median price per page, (see page 20 of the PDF), but Elsevier is still the highest for "Fig 2.12 Median price per point of impact factor 1993-2003" on page 23 of the PDF.

Of course, there is a lot more to consider and read from this 122 page report than my very short synopsis.

The issue of Information Outlook of which Joe writes is the December 2004 number, which, predictably, I have yet to receive, being in Canada. (Update: The issue is Information Outlook, v8 n12, December 2004, p7.) The report is written by Sonya White and Claire Creaser, and is LISU Occasional Paper No. 34. In the executive summary, the authors highlight the following issues which emerged from their work:

  • Median overall journal prices vary widely between the publishers studied and range from £124 (Cambridge University Press) to £781 (Elsevier) in 2004.
  • The range of price increases over the period 2000 to 2004 also varied considerably, from 27% (Cambridge University Press) to 94% (Sage).
  • Median values for prices of Humanities and Social Sciences titles tend, on the whole, to be lower than those in other subject categories. It is notable that Elsevier has the highest median price in every subject area.
  • Median biomedical journal prices range from £186 (Johns Hopkins University Press) to £731 (Elsevier) in 2004. Biomedical journal price increases over the period 2000 to 2004 ranged from 27% (Johns Hopkins University Press) to 92% (Sage).
  • Increases in median prices of biomedical journals over the period 1993 to 2004 ranged from 80% (Taylor & Francis) to 352% (Sage).
  • OUP displayed the lowest median price per page of biomedical titles from 2001 to 2004, with only Cambridge University Press lower in 2000. In 2004 the median price per page for OUP was 31 pence; in the same year the highest median price per page was 98 pence (Taylor & Francis).
  • At 25%, Springer displayed the lowest increase in median price per page of biomedical journals from 2000 to 2004. This compares with the highest increase of 69% for the same period (Taylor & Francis).
  • The range of biomedical journal impact factor values is quite wide both within and between publishers. Within publishers, the greatest range in 2002 (the latest year for which data were available) was from 0.333 to 32.890 (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins).
  • Mean impact factor values of biomedical journals ranged from 1.47 (Kluwer and Springer) to 4.84 (Nature) in 2002.
  • Overall, there is little evidence of a relationship between impact factor and price of biomedical journals. Examination of the data reveals that the few correlations which exist appear to be very weak and all indicate that higher prices tend to be associated with higher impact factors.
  • With one exception, there has been an overall increase of between 22% (Kluwer) and 77% (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins) in mean impact factor values of biomedical journals over the period 1992 to 2002. The exception is Taylor & Francis, which recorded a fall of 4.1%.
  • On the basis of price per point of impact factor of biomedical journals, OUP displayed the lowest median with a cost of £156 compared with the highest, Kluwer, at £525 for the most recent year.
  • The increase in price per point of impact factor of biomedical journals for the period 1993 to 2003 ranged from 40% (Springer) to 183% (Taylor & Francis).
  • No evidence was found to suggest that different rates of price increases had prevailed in the 1990s compared with those experienced after 2000.
  • There is some evidence of the application of ‘blanket’ price increases by some publishers across the range of titles and subjects.

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