School of Information Sciences -- Faculty Publications and Other Works

Source Publication (e.g., journal title)

ASIS 2000: Proceedings of the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



This paper examines the overall cost of the scientific scholarly journal system and find that the relative system costs have not increased since the late 1970s. Why then have journal prices skyrocketed over this same period? We first describe typical scholarly publishing costs, because to understand journal prices one must understand the factors that affect these costs. We then describe some factors that have likely contributed to spiraling price increases and changes in journal subscription demand. Finally we discuss some alternative pricing policies that might help in the future. This paper summarizes results reported in a recent book: Towards Electronic Journals: Realities for Scientists, Librarians, and Publishers by the authors (Tenopir & King, 2000). Results are based on 13,591 readership survey responses from scientists, over 100 economic cost studies, tracking of 715 journals from 1960 to 1995, and review of over 800 publications.

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