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Friday, March 09, 2007

Open letter protesting high price of medical journal

Oliver Obst has written an open letter to the American Academy of Pediatrics to protest the high price of its journal, Pediatrics.  Obst is the Head of the Central Medical Library at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, and past Vice President of the German Medical Library Association.

From his blog summary (March 8, 2007):

As reported several times in the past, the American Academy of Pediatrics literally hinders the distribution of pediatric research through an exaggerated pricing schedule. As a result of this policy (obviously driven by profit generating purposes), the reputation of the American Academy of Pediatrics and her flagship journal Pediatrics is seriously on decline. Who will ever continue to publish in an journal which prohibits him reading his own paper because it’s to expensive for his library?

Today I send an Open Letter of Protest to the American Academy of Pediatrics to let them know, what their customers are thinking. Any answer will be blogged here.

From the letter itself:

Most recently you introduced a new pricing scheme which increases the license fee for Pediatrics for about 260%....Your price schedule made the reading of research articles in Pediatrics more complicated if not prohibitive. Based on our studies no pediatricians will come to the library to read or copy a paper on one of our three library PCs permitted to offer the online version, let alone our printed volumes. So the very result of your exaggerated demands is that our pediatricians will have to decide if they use their precious time maximizing care for children or running after printed volumes. Therefore: As long as you keep to this pricing scheme, you are no longer “dedicated to the health of all children”. Point....

A recent survey indicated that each fifth German medical library will cancel or has cancelled Pediatrics, a further 20% will go on without a site license. Only a minority of four libraries switch to the expensive site licenses....

The reputation of the AAP and her flagship Pediatrics is seriously on decline, because your policy is obviously driven by profit generating purposes, not by the advancement of science....