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RE: Bergstrom & McAfee Open Letter to University Presidentsand Provosts

Perhaps I'm being dense, but I can only find Academic Medicine once:

Title: Academic Medicine 
Publisher: Lippincott-Williams-Wilkins (Springer-Kluwer) 
ISSN: 1040-2446 
Subject: Education, Medicine
Profit Status: profit
Year First Published: 1926
Price per article: 0.76
Price per citation: 0.29
Composite Price Index: 0.47
Relative Cost Index 0.15

And the title and ISSN is the same as on the journal's website.  Of
course, there is a 'report an error' so if your journal is really listed
twice then do let Bergstrom and McAfee know.

David C Prosser PhD
SPARC Europe
E-mail:  david.prosser@bodley.ox.ac.uk

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Lisa Dittrich
Sent: 02 November 2005 23:15
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: Re: Bergstrom & McAfee Open Letter to University Presidentsand

Wow.  This letter is full of quite a bit of inaccurate information (e.g.,
we are a non-profit journal, that is NOT based in a university and that is
published by a for-profit publisher--how does that fit into the neat good
and evil equation?)--and, alas, so is their journal prices website, which
lists our journal as "for profit," lists the wrong publisher, and lists it
twice, with two different ISSNs and two different "composite price
indexes."  Luckily, I hardly think we are up there with the most expensive
journals, but I hope those who are deciding what journals to keep and what
journals to cut from their collections are listening to more informed

Lisa Dittrich
Managing Editor
Academic Medicine
Washington,D.C. 20037
lrdittrich@aamc.org (e-mail)
Academic Medicine's Web site: www.academicmedicine.org

>>> ann.okerson@yale.edu 11/01/05 10:02 PM >>>
See:  www.hss.caltech.edu/~mcafee/Journal/OpenLetter.pdf 

An Open Letter to All University Presidents and Provosts Concerning
Increasingly Expensive Journals

by Theodore Bergstrom and R. Preston McAfee

For nearly a century, a symbiotic relationship existed between scholars
and scholarly publishers. Academics freely provided their discoveries,
work, and time editing and reviewing, and scholarly publishers provided
packaging and sold the output of the academics' labors for a modest
profit. This benefited both groups, because the publishers received the
most valuable inputs for free, while the academics were sheltered from the
business end of publishing and received the packaged output at reasonable
profits. As the primary concern of academics is the wide dissemination of
their ideas, the arrangement was suitable for both parties.

In the 1970s, some for-profit scholarly publishers discovered that library
demands for journals were remarkably unresponsive to price increases and
that the publishers could greatly increase their revenues by sharply
increasing their prices. This is evidenced by the dramatic disparity that
has emerged between the prices charged by for-profit publishers such as
Elsevier, Wiley, and Kluwer, those charged by non-profit societies and
university presses. This gap widened in the 1980s and further widened in
the 1990s, so that the for-profit journals charge about five times as much
per page and fifteen times as much per citation as the non-profits, as
evidenced by

Journal Prices by Discipline and Publisher Type*

          	Cost per Page 			Cost per Citation
             	For-Profit 	Non-profit 	For-Profit

Ecology 	$1.01 		$0.19 		$0.73 		$0.05
Economics 	$0.83 		$0.17 		$2.33 		$0.15
Atmosph. Sci 	$0.95 		$0.15 		$0.88 		$0.07
Mathematics 	$0.70 		$0.27 		$1.32 		$0.28
Neurosciences	$0.89 		$0.10 		$0.23 		$0.04
Physics 	$0.63 		$0.19 		$0.38 		$0.05

* From "The Costs and Benefits of Site Licences to Academic Journals",
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jan. 04, by C.T.
Bergstrom and T.C. Bergstrom.

It is time to recognize a simple fact, and react to it. The symbiotic
relationship between academics and for-profit publishers has broken down.
The large for-profit publishers are gouging the academic community for as
much as the market will bear. Moreover, they will not stop pricing
journals at the monopoly level, because shareholders demand it.

So far, universities have failed to use one of the most powerful tools
that they possess: charging for their valuable inputs. Journal editing
uses a great deal of professorial and staff time, as well as supplies,
office space and computers, all provided by universities. In any other
business, these inputs would be priced. Academics consent to edit journals
and their departments offer them facilities and sometimes even released
time from teaching classes, because the goal of academic publications is
the promotion and dissemination of ideas. For those journals that uphold
their side of the bargain by setting reasonable subscription prices, this
policy remains a reasonable one. However, we see no reason for
universities to subsidize editorial inputs to journals that are priced to
extract maximum revenue from the academic community.

The prices set by profit-maximizing publishers are determined not by
costs, but by what the market will bear. For such publishers, the effect
of overhead charges is to recapture a portion of the monopoly profits for
the universities who produce the knowledge. In contrast, when the
university subsidizes editorial inputs of non-profit publishers, the
reduced costs enable the publishers to keep their subscription prices low
and hence to make publication more widely accessible.



R. Preston McAfee
J. Stanley Johnson Professor of Business, Economics & Management
California Institute of Technology

Theodore Bergstrom
Aaron and Cherie Raznick Chair of Economics
University of California - Santa Barbara