Electronic Journals and Cost

Post-Katrina we are definitely having journal access issues at Tulane. The sheer cost and lack of thought toward online access from Elsevier (as mentioned in the linked article) and its peers are a continual aggravation when looking for papers to read.

Over on Kalimna there’s an interesting look at what I hope is a new wave in academic publishing — purely electronic publication. Honestly, when you can print a PDF of any article you want, and customize search feeds to aggregate articles you’re interested in as they’re released, why do you want paper journals that you often have to go to the library for and that cost a fortune?


Let’s get some perspective on publication costs. As BEP point out there is a cost crisis in most university libraries stemming from the monopoly pricing power, based on reputation and prestige, of large ‘for-profit’ publishing houses. For-profit publishers in economics charge around 83 cents per page of a journal article whereas not-for-profit publishers associated with universities charge around 17 cents per page: See here for data. BEP costs 36 cents.