Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, February 05, 2005

More on the pricing crisis

Tracy Ke, As journal prices rise, libraries struggle, Duke Chronicle, February 4, 2005. Excerpt: 'Scientific publishing is big business. As the cost of science journals continues to skyrocket, with some increasing by more than 10 percent per year, librarians like Deborah Jakubs, vice provost for library affairs, struggle to keep up their collections. Meanwhile, Duke professors have started to react by refusing to submit manuscripts to certain commercial publishers who demand what they consider outrageous prices....Even though Duke spends more than 70 percent of its annual $8 million library materials budget on serials, it has been forced to cut more than $300,000 worth of journals and databases from the Perkins Library System....'The commercial publishers know this, especially those in the medical arena, and have charged horrendous prices,' said James Siedow, vice provost for research. 'The university libraries are being gouged, pure and simple.'...At Duke University School of Medicine, where scientific journals are important sources of cutting-edge research and patient-care information, Patricia Thibodeau, associate dean for library services and archives, has followed the national trend of trimming the Medical Center Library"s book budget in order to preserve its journals. Thibodeau does not see an end to price increases because many contracts for electronic journals and databases have annual increases built into them. 'In the past year, the usual increase was six to 10 percent, but some publishers charged 14 to 20 percent more for e-journals,' Thibodeau said....The physics department at Duke has responded to the rising cost of journals by passing a resolution calling everyone in the department to no longer submit papers to journals published by Reed Elsevier and to decline to edit for them. 'As more departments around the country join this effort, we hope that library journal costs may be alleviated for all,' Baranger said....Duke faculty said the rising costs of science journals will have little effect on undergraduate teaching or formal coursework in general. 'The place it has impact is on research--undergraduate, graduate and faculty. In all areas of our department, having the latest information about what others are doing is critical to our success,' Baranger said.'

For more on the pricing crisis, see the recent stories (for example, 1, 2, 3) on cutbacks at OhioLink, which I haven't been blogging because of the volume of more directly OA-related news.