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Re: Article based subscription

At 12:34 09/10/1999 -0400, David Goodman wrote:

 >It is well known that the poorest quality journals are proportionately
 >the most expensive, because of the smaller demand.

Quality is, to a great extent, in the mind of the beholder.  What you
probably mean is that the most specialized journals, or those that serve
the smaller disciplines, are often more expensive because they have a
smaller subscriber base and so can't spread their expenses as broadly as
journals like Cell, Science or Nature.  Even this isn't always true,
however, since some small circulation journals, especially those published
by natural history societies, are relatively inexpensive (e.g. Journal of
Eukaryotic Microbiology, Society of Protozoologists.  1800 circulation.  
Bimonthly. $164/year).  Circulation and cost are sometimes inversely
correlated, especially for products from publishers like Gordon and
Breach, but are by no means always causally related.

Reviews and methods articles and journals are some of the more highly
cited, even though they often contain no original research findings of
consequence. Does that mean they are better than original research
articles?  Brain Research has a healthy subscription base (unpublished by
Elsevier, since they don't accept, or need, advertisements to make a
profit) and still costs more than $15,000/year.  Its quality is quite
debatable, even though its journal is considered essential in most
biomedical research institutions.

If anyone knows the approximate number of subscribers to Brain Research, I
would love to hear it.  I would suspect it is 10,000 or more since most
major research and medical libraries, many in Europe as well as the U.S.,
seem to have subscriptions. 10,000 X $15,000 = $150 million. Not bad for a
year's work. If only 1000 subscribers, then gross is still $15 million.  
As a publisher, I would probably settle for that.


Lloyd A. Davidson, Ph.D.
Life Sciences Librarian and Head, Access Services
Seeley G. Mudd Library for Science and Engineering
2233 N. Campus Drive
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL  60208

Ldavids@nwu.edu  (847)491-2906 (Voice)    (815)371-1079 (fax)