LIBRES: Library and Information Science Research
Electronic Journal ISSN 1058-6768
2001 Volume 11 Issue 2; September 30
Bi-annual LIBRES 11N2


Response by Tony Seward to Steve McKinzie’s Opinion in  "Rough Seas and The Journal of Academic Librarianship: Differing Opinions by Two Academic Librarians




While welcoming Steve McKinzie's support for The Journal of Academic Librarianship (LIBRES 2001 Volume 11 Issue 1; March 31) we would like to make one purely factual correction, and to offer a price comparison, in order to clarify the situation for your readers. 

Mr McKinzie states that "The flap over subscriptions began in May, 1999, when the noted science publisher Elsevier purchased the publishers of The Journal of Academic Librarianship…..subscription costs to the journal went up almost immediately, an increase that, according to Elsevier's critics, was as unjustified as it was expected." 

The actual sequence of events and price increases was as follows:

July/ August 1998         JAI Press Inc. (the previous owners) announce their price increases for 1999, including a rise in the institutional price of JAL from $160 to $195.  The new price was printed in the last issue of the 1998 volume.
Late November 1998      Elsevier assumes ownership of JAI Press Inc.
Fall 1999                      Elsevier announces new prices for 2000 - JAL price held at $195.
Fall 2000                      Elsevier announces new prices for 2001 - JAL price raised by 6.7% to $208.

Thus it becomes apparent that Elsevier was not responsible for the substantial 1998/9 price increase, subsequently held the price steady for two years, and only introduced an increase in 2001.

We also welcome this opportunity to examine the claims on price made for JAL's new competitor, portal: Libraries and the Academy. The publicity for portal emphasises that its launch is to serve "as a rallying cry against inflated journal pricing".  Although it is too early to make an exact comparison on a price per page basis, since portal has so far only published two issues, it is worth making the point that issue for issue JAL is cheaper than portal.  The institutional price for a print-only subscription to JAL is $208 as against $148 for portal, but the former has 6 issues, while the latter is quarterly.  The comparative price per issue therefore works out as $34.67 for JAL, as against $37 for portal.  We have deliberately focused on the pricing for print-only, since comparisons between the electronic-only and print + electronic options available for each journal would be too complicated and lengthy to undertake here.  However, with the range of electronic options offered by Elsevier through ScienceDirect, we are confident that such comparisons will be equally favourable to The Journal of Academic Librarianship.

For full information on the pricing policies of each journal see:

Tony Seward
Senior Publishing Editor, Library and Information Science
Elsevier Science Ltd



This document may be circulated freely
with the following statement included in its entirety:

Copyright 2001

This article was originally published in
LIBRES: Library and Information Science
Electronic Journal
(ISSN 1058-6768) September 30, 2001
Volume 11 Issue 2.
For any commercial use, or publication
(including electronic journals), you must obtain
the permission of the author.

Tony Seward

Senior Publishing Editor, Library and Information Science

Elsevier Science Ltd

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