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RE: pricing questions

I feel I should point out that there are several factors that contribute
to production costs, beyond the number of copies that are printed, which
makes a difference as well, of course, that make comparing one journal to
another rather like comparing apples to oranges:

The trim size
The number of pages per issue/volume
The weight and type of paper stock
The covers (number of colors, artwork, coatings, etc.)
The number of color figures
The number of halftones and other figures
The number of tables
What the per-page typesetting costs are
What printer is being used
How the journal is being shipped
How many ROW subscribers there are (more expensive to ship)

and probably several things I've not mentioned here. All of this makes it
quite difficult to run a cost comparison between one journal and the next.

My two-cents' worth . . .

Best regards,
Becky Kennison

Becky Kennison			
Production Editor		
Blackwell Publishers
350 Main Street			
Malden, Massachusetts 02148
E-mail: bkenn@blackwellpub.com
Tel.: 781-388-0433
FAX: 781-388-0533
Blackwell homepage:

	-----Original Message-----
	From:	Alan Edelson [SMTP:amedelson@topnet.net]
	Sent:	Thursday, September 23, 1999 7:43 PM
	To:	liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
	Subject:	Re: pricing questions

	I believe that the explanation for a major part of the difference in
	annual subscription price of Elsevier's journal BRAIN RESEARCH and
	society-owned JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY is the difference in
	number of paid subscribers. I am not currently privy to these
figures, but
	believe that BRAIN RESEARCH has a paid circulation of not much more
	1,000. I suspect that those of JBC are 2-3 times as much. As you
	appreciate, total unit costs fall precipitously, almost
	when you can spread them over larger numbers of subscribers.  I know
	many will want to believe that the major reason for the difference
	from the fact that one publisher is a society while the other is a
	commercial corporation which is concerned with the price of its
	(incidentally, Elsevier's stock has taken severe hits this year and
	trading at historic lows), but I do not think that is the major
cause of
	the discrepancy.

	One might argue that given the enormous number of pages published
	in BRAIN RESEARCH and its small and almost wholly institutional
	list (which I believe has been declining over recent years as costs
	a very good argument could be made for saving some money (not as
much as
	one might think) by abandoning the print edition and making it
entirely an
	electronic journal. However, it is a fact that there are still many
	authors who would be nervous about archiving their major research
	on a computer. This will change, especially if authors, publishers,
	librarians could work together to insure the long term permanance
	security of digital archives. But that is another and very complex

	Alan M. Edelson, Ph.D.
	(retired) President and CEO,
	J.B. Lippincott Company


	Lloyd Davidson wrote:

	> I have a great deal of respect for Karen Hunter, who is an
excellent and
	> fair spokesperson for Elsevier, and I have no idea what production
	> are for Brain Research, or whether it is, in fact, overpriced
based on its
	> production costs.  I would note, however, that the Journal of
	> Chemistry (JBC) publishes twice as many pages as Brain Research,
	> approximately 36,000/year, and yet costs only about $1,600/year,
or 10% as
	> much as Brain Research's $15,000.  Its pages cost, therefore,
about $.05
	> each, compared to Brain Research's $1.00/page.  How is it possible
	> production and mailing costs of these two journals to differ by a
	> of 20 times?  I would like to see a better explanation of why
there should
	> be such a price discrepancy between them, confirmed by an
	> auditor, before I could agree that the subscription price for
	> Research is fully justified.
	> JBC also has a significantly higher impact factor than Brain
Research and
	> a circulation of about 6,000, a figure publicly posted on Ulrich's
and in
	> its journal.
	> As to its use, I find it hard to believe (though I have no firm
data) that
	> each issue of Brain Research is read by 40 researchers at
Northwestern, in
	> spite of the fact that we have a major Neurosciences department
here.  It
	> was this department, after all, that seriously proposed that we
	> dropping our subscription to this journal, which they considered
	> overpriced for the use they make of it, a suggestion I have so far
	> resisted.  If Elsevier can truly demonstrate that there are "...
	> average of 40 scientists/students using each subscribed copy",
then surely
	> these 40,000 to 60,000 or more readers should serve as a major
	> for advertiser dollars.
	> Of course Brain Research is a favorite whipping boy, as Karen
	> calls it.  The fact that it is the most expensive life sciences
journal in
	> most library collections guarantees that it will catch the
attention of
	> every bibliographer and university cost accountant.  The fact that
	> circulation figures and production costs are confidential merely
makes it
	> that much more obvious as a target and leads to speculation in a
	> I sincerely appreciate the information that its circulation
figures are
	> closer to 1,500 than 10,000, if that is what Karen meant to say.
There is
	> a feeling among many librarians, myself included, that Elsevier
takes a
	> high-handed approach in its dealing with us, and that leads to an
	> unfortunate undercurrent of resentment and distrust.  Perhaps some
of the
	> changes that seem to be occurring in the PEAK program, and the
better data
	> that could become available about actual use of the electronic
versions of
	> Brain Research and other journals, will help to allay some of
	> antagonisms and lead to a more positive and mutually beneficial
	> relationship between libraries and commercial publishers in
	> Lloyd A. Davidson
	> 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)   1-847-556-0436 (fax)