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High journal prices and journal sustainability

2008 JOURNAL SUBSCRIPTION PRICES, provided by SPARC member libraries:

$21,582 Journal of comparative neurology
$16,860 Journal of applied polymer science
$15,589 Biochimica et biophysica acta
$10,118 European journal of pharmacology
$9,545 Gene
$8,921 Water, air, and soil pollution
$8,919 Methods in enzymology
$8,844 International journal for numerical methods in engineering
$8,073 Journal of geophysical research
$7,902 Experimental brain research
$7,712 Biopolymers
$7,665 Oncogene
$7,587 Journal of chemical physics
$6,163 Biotechnology & bioengineering

 

CAN OPEN-ACCESS JOURNALS SURVIVE WITHOUT SUBSCRIPTION INCOME?
Yes. While open-access journals don’t rely on subscription income, they do need revenue to operate. The 3,000 peer-reviewed journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (http://www.doaj.org) thrive on a variety of different revenue models, including: endowment, sponsorship, advertising, author publication fees, donations, membership, university- or department-sponsorship, and others.
WHY DO SUBSCRIPTIONS COST SO MUCH?

The authors of journal articles, including researchers like your professors and many graduate students, aren’t paid by publishers for the articles they write. They contribute their papers for free (and sometimes pay) to advance the state of scholarship in their fields and to make a name for themselves as scholars and scientists. What’s more, these scholars also freely contribute their time to review and often edit other articles before they’re published. While some journals (particularly those published by scholarly societies and other non-profit entities) charge fair prices for access, the highest subscription costs pay instead for some commercial publishers’ 30% profit margins.

 

Adapted from SPARC (2008). “The Right to Research: The student guide to opening access to research.” Retrieved September 25, 2009: http://www.arl.org/sparc/bm%7Edoc/rr2008_pages.pdf

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