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Can the scientific journals market work better?
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- Subject: Can the scientific journals market work better?
- From: "Hamaker, Chuck" <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 18:09:40 EDT
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The market for scientific, technical and medical journals-A statement by OFT.(UK Office of Fair Trading) PN 55/02 9 September 2002 Press release http://www.oft.gov.uk/News/Press+releases/2002/PN+55-02+Can+the+scientific+j ournals+market+work+better.htm The market for scientific, technical and medical journals may not be working well, says a statement published by the OFT. The statement follows an informal consultation carried out by the OFT on the market. Download the statement The market for scientific technical and medical Journals in pdf format (156 kb) at: http://www.oft.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/efvqwtvbz6bqcpm5vcfexjlnbl7ltb5anbnu7kuri 5bhmfwx34kjdjni4qgpivcokrjdmugt4l6ic4kbokoji6a7xgg/oft396.pdf The document is also available on Ted Bergstrom's informative pages on Journals and pricing, refereeing, at UC Santa Barbara: http://www.econ.ucsb.edu/~tedb/Journals/oft396.pdf John Vickers, Director General of Fair Trading said: 'Journals are the principal means by which scientific knowledge is disseminated. The market, which operates worldwide, has a number of features that suggest that competition may not be working effectively. However, market forces harnessing new technology may change this without the need for intervention.' This paper reports, under section 125(4) of the Fair Trading Act 1973, on the OFT's informal consultation regarding the market for scientific, technical and medical (STM) journals. Its main conclusions are: * there is evidence to suggest that the market for STM journals may not be working well * many commercial journal prices appear high, at the expense of education and research institutions * it remains to be seen whether market forces, perhaps enhanced by the use of new technology, will remedy the problems that may exist * for now it would not be appropriate for the OFT to intervene in the market, but the position will be kept under review. FROM THE PAPER: RE historically high price increases from commercial publishers: "5.2 Clearly one possibility is that these price increases could reflect cost increases. The OFT notes Reed Elsevier's arguments that there has been investment in the development of electronic methods for delivering journals by email and over the internet, and that the number of articles published in each journal has increased significantly. On the other hand, one might have expected these, and other 5 , changes to have reduced the marginal costs associated with producing and delivering journals." Final paragraph of the report "We believe that there is evidence that the market for STM journals may not be working well. In the light of the developments noted in chapter 7 above, this does not, however, appear to the OFT to be a matter warranting further investigation on our part at this stage. However, if competition fails to improve, or should additional significant information come to light, we may consider further action. In doing so, we would be aware that although the UK is an important base for, and user of, scientific journals, it accounts for a fraction of the world market and so would wish to consider whether any action might be best conducted internationally." Chuck Hamaker Associate University Librarian for Collections and Technical Services Atkins Library University of North Carolina Charlotte 704 687-2825
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