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Journal print subscription price increases no longer reflect actual costs

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Journal subscription prices and their annual increases have traditionally been reported as and based on institutional print prices. This methodology for calculating price inflation and its budgetary impact on libraries no longer reflects the actual costs to the purchasing institution. Other factors – particularly digital acquisition, bundled licensing and consortia deals, a large growth in published content and the commensurate growth in usage – have altered and significantly changed the real cost of scholarly journals. While the print-based method of evaluating subscription price increases shows a three-fold increase in costs from 1990 to 2010, the real effect is only 9% after taking all these factors into consideration. Librarians and publishers should work together to adopt a more reasoned and transparent approach to evaluating institutional investment in serials collections
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-07-01

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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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