Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rising Journal Costs Limit Scholarly Access

A annual subscription to the journal, Brain was $17,444 in 2001, and now the same subscription costs $21,269. According to the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) scholarly journal prices jumped 215 per cent during the 15-year period between 1986 and 2001. Electronic journals have only increased this trend of escalating subscription costs by forcing libraries to subscribe to groups of titles. In addition there is a concentration of a few companies that publish around 4,000 scholarly journals. There is also a trend of publishers charging for electronic copies of journals that used to be free with print subscriptions. The result of these ever increasing prices are cancellations of titles, cancellation of print in favor of electronic versions and the cutting other library budgets, such as the funding for books.

Just as some of the libraries in the article, the Rudolph Matas Library has converted journal subscriptions to electronic formats only (after Katina), in 2006.

The article by Emory suggests a few possible solutions to this crisis. Open access, with costs are paid by universities, foundations, federal agencies or others. Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), an organization dedicated to the promotion of scholarship through competitive alternatives to commercial publishing. Emory also holds institutional memberships with several other the open access publishers such as BioMed Central and the Public Library of Science (PloS).

Scholarly societies are investigating changing current publishing models. The articles also suggests that the academic community has the influence to change the current situation.
1) Carefully examine the pricing, copyright, and subscription licensing agreements of any journal you contribute to as an author, reviewer or editor.

2) Examine copyright agreements before publishing and modify them if possible to ensure your right to use your work or post it on a public archive. ...

3) Where possible, publish in open access journals which employ funding models that do not charge readers or their institutions for access. Serve on editorial boards or review manuscripts for open access journals. (For a list of open access journals, see the Directory of Open Access Journals.

4) Encourage your society to explore alternatives to contacting or selling its publications to a commercial publisher.

5) Start your own open access journal!
Special Report: Rising Journal Costs Limit Scholarly Access INFOcus September 2007 > Courtesy of Emory University