New Open Access Journal in Economics is launched (Aug
Did you think politicians had a monopoly on meretricious arguments?
Would you believe that there are two economics journals
that cost more than $8000 per year but have almost
no citations? Who are the libraries that subscribe to
Why doesn't competition eliminate
Journal Pricing Page
This link includes papers that I have written or
coauthored on journal pricing and a couple of responses
from writers who disagreed with my views.
Why are we doing free referee work for rogue journals that skim huge profits from our research budgets and restrict access to libraries at the richest universities?
For some years, Preston McAfee and I have collected information on academic journal prices sold by commercial and by non-profit publishers. This appears at www.journalprices.com The institutional prices charged by large commercial publishers average about 3 times as high per article or per citation as those charged by the non-profits. Defenders of these pricing policies have maintained that our price listings are misleading because libraries do not pay the sticker price. Instead they get large discounts by buying bundled site licenses to a publishers' entire works.
Together with Professor McAfee and Paul Courant of the University of Michigan, we set out to learn about the prices libraries pay for these
bundled site licenses. This was not easy, because these prices are individual to each university and are not made public. Indeed many of the contracts have confidentiality clauses that prohibit librarians from telling anyone what they paid. Fortunately most states have Freedom of Information laws that overrule these clauses in contracts with state institutions. We requested copies from state universities by invoking these state open record acts. We have collected and analyzed a large number of such contracts.
Paul Courant, Preston McAfee, and Michael Williams and I have published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that reports and attempts to interpret what we found. Here is a link to the paper. The paper is published with a paywall, but PNAS gives me permission to post a link to it on my own website, provided I also supply a link to the PNAS posting. So here is that. Tables containing most of the data used in the paper are available without a paywall at this link.
Here are links to news stories about this article from Science , Nature, The Scientist, and The Guardian.
Profiles in Sycophancy (a digression)
Evidently not everyone at my university (UCSB) thought this news fit to print. The UCSB public affairs office asked me for some material to quote in a publicity release. Their office sent me what I thought was a poorly written "first draft" of a story on our paper. To help them out, I wrote this short summary of what the paper is about.
They responded as follows. Perhaps injudiciously, I responded with a message that invokes the university's motto: Fiat Lux (Let there be light.)
I should have remembered the wise words of Homer Simpson...
"Marge, don't discourage the boy. Weaseling out of things is important to learn. Its what separates us from the animals...except the weasel."