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Saturday, November 10, 2007

AnthroSource journal prices more than double after move to Wiley-Blackwell

John Hawks, AAA journals ratchet up 108 percent for 2008, john hawks weblog, November 7, 2007.  Excerpt:

I have this from my university library today:

As you all know, the AAA [American Anthropological Association] recently decided to outsource its publishing activities to Wiley-Blackwell. We're not sure how this will affect personal subscriptions, but our institutional rate had skyrocketed from $232 p.a. for American Anthropologist to $432, and from $138 for American Ethnologist to $338. To put it another way, the two subscriptions combined will now cost us 108% more in 2008 than in 2007.

The outcome of this will be that the university will go all-electronic and cut the print version, which as they point out will still be 3 times higher than the print edition used to be.

I have to wonder how relevant these journals will be when libraries begin dropping the sectional journals to make up the cost of the flagships. And how relevant they will be as more people publish their work in open access outlets. It seems pretty clear that if you want your work to be read outside of Research I universities, the AnthroSource journals are not a viable option.

UPDATE (2007/11/07): May I add, that while Alexa shows that AnthroSource averages around twice or three times my traffic, little johnhawks.net has beaten AnthroSource over several short periods in the last three months? ...

In fact -- you can tell I'm getting incensed -- American Anthropologist is quarterly! They run around 55 articles and reviews a year. So the institution is expected to pay over $8 per article.

The Public Library of Science publishes articles in PLoS One for a waivable author fee of $1250. The sum total of that fee for 55 articles would be around $70,000 -- a price for which Wiley-Blackwell is going to supply American Anthropologist to around 160 institutions. That's not counting the till of individual subscriptions (part of AAA membership fees) -- which they've rolled into the total, but used to be around a $40 add-on for sections that required the journal.

Is it really possible that the 11,000 members of the AAA could subsidize worldwide free access to an all-electronic American Anthropologist entirely for less than $10 a head?

Comments

  • Just a note on the math in my headline:  The old prices for the two named subscriptions were 232 + 138 = 370.  The new prices for the same two subscriptions are 432 + 338 = 770.  The new total is 2.08 times the earlier total.
  • For background, see my September 2007 post on the AnthroSource move to Wiley-Blackwell and the AAA's history of opposition to OA.