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Tier-based pricing for institutions: a new, e-based pricing model

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The American Chemical Society (ACS) recently introduced a new pricing model for the digital versions of its journals. Our primary goals were to completely decouple electronic and print subscriptions, to broaden access to content globally, and to address the needs of different market segments so that similar institutions were charged equivalent amounts for comparable usage/need of ACS journals. A cross-departmental team, with the assistance of independent consultants, analyzed multiple layers of customer data before the new model was built. As a result, we have implemented a two-faceted model that separately addresses academic and non-academic subscribers, and that also enables us to assess the relative value of each journal within our portfolio. The process started in 2005 and took over two years to complete, involving numerous staff members and incorporating input from customers worldwide across all market sectors, as well as subscription agents. The model was announced in spring 2007, and applied to 2008 subscriptions. The lessons learned are applicable to any publisher considering a review of its pricing model.

Document Type: Case Report


Publication date: 2009-01-01

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  • Editor in Chief: Pippa Smart
    North American Editor: Judy Luther

    Learned Publishing is the journal of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, published in collaboration with the Society for Scholarly Publishing. The journal is published quarterly in January/April/July/October.

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    Learned Publishing will be moving to Wiley-Blackwell as of January 1, 2016. Please contact the publisher at for information on how to continue access to this title.
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