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BMJ Journals publishing-what are they doing!

BMJ Publishing for 2002 has taken a strange turn:

They have an "institutional print only" price, which they say is 3% above
last year. However last year's journals included electronic access I

Electronic only is at a substantial premium above print only.  For
example: British Journal of Sports Medicine is 205 pounds for
institutional print only $329 for U.S. Online only and online with print
is tiered, two ways. 1. by journal 2. for Academic institutions by FTE
i.e. Total number of medical faculty (academic staff and students) and

I will assume, since my institution does not have a medical school, that
UNC Charlotte would therefore fall in the "small" category for online or
online plus print. Online only for 1-400 FTE (at 37 hours a week) as
defined above, in Tier "two" journals, which Br J. Spt. Med falls under:
"small" institution 300 pounds (about a 46% premium over the print) or
$480!, a $151 about a 45% premium over print only.

print and online for a small institution is  $545-- 65%over the print!

The premium is much larger for some institutions, going up to $895 online
only for "Extra large" institutions, ie. medical FTE 4001+and $960 for
online and print for "extra large"

Thats extra large for sure!

So no folks, this isn't a 3% increase. its something else. More like a 30%
plus run on library budgets.

Take the time to figure out the pricing (and I think every institution
will have to, I can't imagine how subscription agencies can figure this!)
and where your institution fits, and which journals you have are in the
tier 1 or tier two price range for online or online plus print, Just
because we registered for their journals last year does NOT mean we want
to pay their outrageous tiered pricing this year.

Its pretty shocking. I have, since the mid 1980's held BMJ publishing in
very high regard for their reaction to differential pricing. When Deana
Astle, Fred Ruschin and others pointed out what they were doing they moved
well in advance of other publishers to a single world wide rate.Now we are
back to such complex tiered pricing that I believe the library community
should speak up loudly about this approach.

I fear they've gone back to their bad old ways and at the same time made
their e-journals unreachable for many.

I suspect we need to start monitoring pricing again at the levels we were
doing in the 90's given all the really incredible schemes publishers seem
to be coming up with. To claim "low" increases while in fact making
outrageous increases, as the whole pricing scheme from BMJ turns out to be
seems an insult to the library community (which is very pleased-- they
tell us on their website, with their new institutionally tiered pricing)

For their "print only" cost see:

For their double tiering (i.e. instiutions, 4 tiers) and price "bands"
(two tiers) and definitions see:
http://www.bmjjournals.com/subscriptions/institutional.shtml and read down
the page.

How are subscription agents handling BMJ prices for what can only be called
"matrix pricing"??

It takes a fair amount of work to figure out what's what. If it takes two
pages to explain it how is anyone going to figure it out? It looks like
they've abandoned reasonable pricing schemes in favor of a bizarre

Given the enormous goodwill in the library community and medical community
they've engendered with BMJ free on the web, with their quick reaction in
the 80's on differential pricing why would they risk it with this kind of
approach? (p.s. they've been pretty consistent at using 1.6 for the
exchange rate for dollars-though I did not check every dollar/pound price.

Chuck Hamaker
UNC Charlotte