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PNAS announces tiered site license pricing for 2004

PNAS Announces New Tiered Site-License Pricing for 2004

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States
of America (PNAS) is announcing new tiered site-license pricing for
institutions for calendar year 2004, along with weekly print publication.
This notice will provide background and rationale for the decision to move
to tiered pricing. Please see our website for the price chart.


PNAS functions as a break-even publishing operation. The National Academy
of Sciences requires that PNAS generate the revenue to cover its operating
expenses from year to year without carrying over any surplus as a reserve.
PNAS receives no funds from the Academy, the government, or other
sponsors. Although subscription revenue represents more than half of our
total operating revenue (publication fees represent the remainder), PNAS
is committed to maintaining affordable and fair pricing.


PNAS has analyzed various pricing models for institutional online access
and has decided to unbundle print and online subscriptions in 2004 and to
offer institution-wide online site licenses to redistribute the cost of
operations more equitably across the subscriber base. PNAS pricing is set
by the Committee on Publications. PNAS pricing policies are informed by
its Librarian Advisory Group, which meets annually. In addition, PNAS
routinely communicates with librarians and agents around the world and
seeks feedback at library conferences and seminars.


The goals for the new site-license model are as follows. First, the model
must be fair. Second, the prices should provide PNAS a sustainable
framework from which to derive its operating revenue. Third, the pricing
tiers should enable different segments of the market to obtain full access
to PNAS at a price that is appropriate to their need, size, and likely
usage. Fourth, because a tiered price structure can be more complicated
than that of print, the new model should be as easy to understand as
possible. Finally, the new model must recognize the different economics
and values at play in online versus print publishing.

This model acknowledges the value that a site license provides to an
institution: first, the broad, simultaneous access that can be provided
through an online site license cannot be replicated in print; and second,
the searching and linking features available online-and the immediate
presence of a substantial archive of back issues-enhance the functionality
and usefulness of an online journal to its readers well beyond anything
print could enable.

In the fall of 2002, PNAS introduced a test site-licensing model for 2003
with five tiers of pricing based on the type of organization and, to a
lesser degree, its size. This model was presented to about 100
institutions and was generally well received. Building on this experience,
the cost of online access to PNAS in 2004 will be an institutional
tiered-pricing model based on type of institution.

Although online prices may be higher for some institutions, PNAS has kept
print subscriptions at the same price as in 2003 and will be offering
substantially discounted print subscriptions to institutions that purchase
an online site license. An analysis of current subscribers indicates that
almost 30% of current subscribers will see a decrease in their 2004
subscription price (institution-wide).

Please see the pricing chart at


In summary, the tiered-pricing model allows PNAS to offer more equitable
distribution of pricing between large and small institutions, while
maintaining a high quality journal at a lower price than most competitors.
PNAS will also invest in new technological developments, as well as
investing in the digital archive and providing free online access to more
than 130 developing nations.

In September 2003, each institutional PNAS subscriber will be contacted
with their tier and renewal information. If you have any questions or
concerns, please contact us at subspnas@nas.edu.

Best regards,
Jennifer L. Fleet
Production and Marketing Manager
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)