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May 31, 2005

Elsevier Responds to IEEE News Release on High Priced Journals

:: As described in a previous entry, Commercial Journals More Than Twice As Expensive As IEEE Titles, a recent IEEE news release said that "studies confirm that IEEE journals, magazines and periodicals are less than half the price of competitive publications." The press release noted that "The Library Journal Periodical Price Survey singled out commercial publisher Elsevier, which has the highest overall median price in each of six subject fields. According to Library Journal, the most expensive journals in 2005 are from Elsevier Science, at an average cost of $1,070."

I received an e-mail today from Ross Graber of Elsevier Engineering Information, who forwarded me the following response from Mayur Amin, Director of Research at Elsevier in the UK. The response is reprinted here with the permission of Elsevier:

Dr. Mohamed El-Hawary
Director & Secretary
IEEE
445 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, New Jersey
08854 USA
secretary@ieee.org

May 23, 2005

Dear Director

We have noted an IEEE press release that is published very prominently on the IEEE home page on 17 May as well as on the IEEE Publications Online site, under the heading "Studies Show IEEE Journals Less than Half the Cost of Commercial Publications".

Your report mentions that, according to a recent article in Library Journal, Elsevier has the highest overall median price in each of six subject fields; and that the most expensive journals in 2005 are from Elsevier.

In quoting this article, and singling out Elsevier for particular mention, you are perpetuating - unwittingly, I imagine - an error committed by its authors, who have failed to realize that the study at the basis of this analysis of prices, which was carried out by the Library and Information Statistics Unit (LISU) at Loughborough University in the UK, is incomplete and contains errors. (We have contacted the study's authors, outlining our concerns and requesting their comments, as well as the Oxford University Press which commissioned the analysis from LISU.)

Whilst we await LISU's response to our concerns on a number of issues, there are two in particular that we feel that you, your press office, and your members and readers should be made aware of at this stage.

Although the study is described in the Library Journal article as "exhaustive", there are some sizable publishers omitted. The inclusion of these omissions would have yielded very different results.

More critically, closer examination of the list of biomedical journals revealed that the LISU study included 57 Elsevier titles that are not scholarly journals but sections of abstracting and indexing databases or services. This is further compounded by the exclusion of over 290 legitimate biomedical journals. The result is that the median price for Elsevier biomedical journals quoted in the LISU study is overstated by 81%. This has, in turn, introduced major bias into the report's conclusions. Any comparison based on such a huge error is clearly misleading.

In view of the damaging mistakes that invalidate the Library Journal's conclusions and thus the IEEE's own report, please would you give this correction the same level of publicity that you accorded to your press release in explicitly naming our company. I should be grateful for a response to this letter.

Yours truly,

Mayur Amin
Director, Research
Elsevier
Langford Lane, Kidlington
Oxford OX5 1GB
UK

cc: IEEE President's office
Ms Kathy Gentile
k.gentile@ieee.org

Ross confirmed that IEEE has responded to the letter.

May 16, 2005

Commercial Journals More Than Twice As Expensive as IEEE Titles

:: From a news release from the IEEE site:

May 2005 Two new studies confirm that IEEE journals, magazines and periodicals are less than half the price of competitive publications.

The annual Periodical Price Survey published in the 15 April issue of Library Journal averaged the prices of 4,893 titles documented in three Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) databases. Based solely on price, the survey reveals that the average cost of an engineering journal in 2005 is $1,683, and the average cost of a math and computer science journal is approximately $1,262. Using the same calculation method, the average price of an individual IEEE Journal is just $549.

In addition, the 2005 edition of the annual IEEE Journal Pricing Study, released this week, finds that based on a statistically average 500-page journal, commercial scientific publishers charge an average of $896 per journal, compared to an average price of $387 for IEEE journals.

"According to this study, IEEE publications are 57 percent less expensive than those of commercial publishers," reports William O'Connor, IEEE Director of Marketing Operations, whose office conducts the annual IEEE study.

"In addition to total journal price, we also looked at the average price per page," said O'Connor. "IEEE journals in this study averaged $0.68 per page, while the average commercially published journal averaged $1.59 per page."

The IEEE study also found that the average 2005 journal price from other non-profit publishers is $460, and the average price for all commercial and nonprofit scientific journals combined is $695.

The Library Journal Periodical Price Survey singled out commercial publisher Elsevier, which has the highest overall median price in each of six subject fields. According to Library Journal, the most expensive journals in 2005 are from Elsevier Science, at an average cost of $1,070.

I was unable to find a link to the 2005 IEEE Journal Pricing Study.

Continue reading "Commercial Journals More Than Twice As Expensive as IEEE Titles" »

December 17, 2004

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."

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/dis/lisu/pages/publications/oup.html

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/dis/lisu/downloads/op34.pdf

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:

Continue reading "Scholarly Journal Prices: Selected Trends and Comparisons - New Report from LISU" »