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RE: pricing questions

At Elsevier Science we have almost become used to the fact that Brain
Research is the frequent "whipping boy" for those who like to make
comments about journal pricing.  However, recent misinformation and
speculation on this list calls for a response.

- While circulation figures are confidential, the notion that there could
be 10,000 subscribers can only be described "in your dreams".  In general,
stm journals (such as Brain Research) that have no society base have
between 1000 and 1500 subscribers.  The more expensive the journal, the
more likely it has been subject to cancellations (although Brain Research
also continues to add some new subscribers).

- We have no policy against advertising.  Indeed, we actively solicit
advertising.  However, no advertiser wants to pay for an ad in a journal
that goes only to libraries (as Brain Research and most of our journals
do). The journal must have a large individual subscriber base (normally in
the tens of thousands) to attract advertisers.

- Brain Research publishes about 18,000 pages per year, so the price is
less than $1/page.  It also rejects more than half of the manuscripts
submitted to it.

- Our studies of the paper version show an average of 40
scientists/students using each subscribed copy.

- The usage figures online (ScienceDirect) are outstandingly high.

- Elsevier Science made a major announcement this spring on pricing.
Starting with the subscription year 2000, we will take far more of the
price risks associated with currency fluctuations, cost increases, page
growth and the effects of cancellations.  We commit that libraries will
have less than a 10% annual increase, regardless of these inflationary
factors.  (In 2000 the increase is 7.5%; without the new policy, it would
have been about twice that in the U.S., for example.)  No other publisher
has made a commitment to giving libraries this level of price stability.

- Finally, Brain Research authors benefit in a large number of ways: 50
free reprints; assurance that their articles will be available
electronically for the first nine monrths after publication at no charge
to paper subscribers (and permanently to electronic subscribers); the
lowest color rates in neuroscience journals; personal free access to
related electronic services; no page charges; and the benefits of
SMARTWorks, the first life science electronic submission and peer review
software (developed through our investments).

I could go on, but the point I want to make is that Brain Research is
respected by editors, authors and readers. This is not by accident.
Publishing is not something that just "happens".  Those who criticize the
journal should also consider the hundreds of scientists and the publishing
team who believe in the journal and work to make it succeed.

Karen Hunter
Senior Vice President
Elsevier Science