October 19, 2017

New World, Same Model | Periodicals Price Survey 2017

The shifts to online and OA continue apace, but neither is causing a sea change in pricing

The shift to digital delivery of serials content has had a profound effect on the information ecosystem. Powerful discovery and social networking tools expose users to an incredibly rich world of commercially produced and open access (OA) content. Most publishers have explored new ways of pricing their content—such as population served, FTE (full-time equivalent), tiered pricing based upon Carnegie classification, or other defining criteria—or the database model, which treats all content within an e-journal package as a database, eliminating the need for title by title reconciliation. However, in the end, the pricing conversation always seems to circle back to the revenue generated by the annual subscription model.

Economic Context

The U.S. economy continued to expand but at a slower pace in 2016. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) increased 1.6% in 2016 after a 2.6% increase in 2015. State expenditures also reflect this trend. Public sector spending has grown consistently since 2008, yet the growth is not yet sufficient to return to prerecession levels when adjusted for inflation. The rate of state spending growth also slowed in 2016. According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), overall state spending has increased from $687 billion in 2008 to $786 billion in 2016. Using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to calculate inflation, 2016 expenditures fall short of the $794 billion that would be needed just to keep up.

State general fund spending based on enacted budgets is expected to top $809 billion in 2017, but again that will be shy of what would be needed to match 2008 spending when adjusted for inflation. According to the NASBO 2016 Fiscal Survey report, “General fund revenue growth slowed in fiscal 2016, increasing only 1.8% (CPI was 2.5%), with 25 states ending the year with collections below budget forecast. Also, adjusting for inflation, 32 states spent less in FY16 than they did in FY08 before the Great Recession hit.” However, not every sector was equally impacted: K–12 education funding has seen solid growth, with a 5.2% increase in 2015 and a 3.6% increase in 2016. Expenditures in higher education have seen similar growth of around 5% for both 2015 and 2016.

As most libraries are publicly funded, state expenditures are a solid indicator of the economic environment experienced by libraries. Slow growth in public funding is reflected in budgets for higher education and libraries. A 2016 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted that 46 states still spend less per student in higher education than was spent in 2007–08. The report also states, “Overall, funding for public two- and four-year colleges is almost $10 billion below its prerecession level, after adjusting for inflation.” Endowments in higher education are also not showing robust growth, so funding in private institutions is also impacted. The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) reported that the return from endowments was -1.9% in 2016 after a modest increase of 2.4% in 2015.

TABLE 1: AVERAGE 2017 PRICE FOR SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINES

DISCIPLINE AVERAGE PRICE
PER TITLE
DISCIPLINE AVERAGE PRICE
PER TITLE
Chemistry $4,773 Botany $2,053
Physics 4,369 Zoology 1,988
Engineering 3,408 Math & Computer Science 1,971
Biology 2,917 Geography 1,742
Food Science 2,567 Health Sciences 1,736
Geology 2,381 Agriculture 1,666
Technology 2,234 General Science 1,556
Astronomy 2,071
SOURCE: LJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2017

TABLE 2: AVERAGE 2017 PRICE PER TITLE BY COUNTRY

COUNTRY # OF
CLARIVATE
TITLES
AVERAGE PRICE
PER TITLE
COUNTRY # OF
CLARIVATE
TITLES
AVERAGE PRICE
PER TITLE
Ireland 40 $4,246 Hungary 7 $745
Netherlands 399 3,369 Norway 18 575
Singapore 23 2,749 Japan 43 514
Switzerland 78 2,149 France 105 365
England 2,267 2,050 Sweden 17 364
United States 2,495 1,336 New Zealand 17 350
Germany 285 1,204 South Africa 20 330
Greece 6 1,068 Israel 6 321
China 9 954 Turkey 10 295
Australia 55 798 Romania 8 295
AVERAGE COST OF ALL TITLES: $1,731
SOURCE: LJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2017

TABLE 3: COST HISTORY FOR ONLINE TITLES IN CLARIVATE ANALYTICS (FORMERLY ISI) INDEXES

SUBJECT AVERAGE #
OF TITLES
2015-17
AVERAGE
COST PER
TITLE 2015
AVERAGE
COST PER
TITLE 2016
% OF
CHANGE
2015-2016
AVERAGE
COST PER
TITLE 2017
% OF
CHANGE
2016-17
Agriculture 80 $1,044 $1,098 5 $1,155 7
Anthropology 26 489 517 6 545 7
Arts & Architecture 60 523 556 6 585 4
Astronomy 11 1,880 1,957 4 2,026 4
Biology 201 2,375 2,497 5 2,632 6
Botany 24 1,845 1,940 5 2,075 7
Business & Economics 320 853 912 7 964 5
Chemistry 72 4,311 4,506 5 4,759 4
Education 124 870 938 8 993 6
Engineering 189 2,087 2,209 6 2,343 6
Food Science 14 1,486 1,569 6 1,686 8
General Science 44 1,349 1,422 5 1,502 3
General Works 20 410 434 6 452 2
Geography 60 1,254 1,330 6 1,403 6
Geology 37 1,191 1,253 5 1,312 6
Health Sciences 547 1,561 1,649 6 1,732 7
History 224 440 468 6 497 6
Language & Literature 318 359 381 6 399 6
Law 59 550 583 6 612 6
Library Science 23 485 522 8 540 5
Math & Computer Science 102 1,472 1,540 5 1,618 4
Military & Naval Science 9 940 1,002 7 1,060 5
Music 34 340 359 6 380 3
Philosophy & Religion 143 406 429 6 449 5
Physics 97 4,057 4,251 5 4,447 4
Political Science 85 708 751 6 803 6
Psychology 92 918 981 7 1,040 6
Recreation 28 654 698 7 733 9
Social Sciences 34 847 912 8 961 5
Sociology 252 780 834 7 885 6
Technology 40 1,389 1,450 4 1,524 4
Zoology 63 2,104 2,191 4 2,294 4
AVERAGE 1,245 1,314 6 1,385 5
SOURCE: LJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2017

Surveying the Landscape

During October 2016, EBSCO reached out to more than 500 customer libraries in North America asking about total library budget, collections, and staffing. A corresponding survey reached ­EBSCO’s larger publisher partners during the same period. Library respondents reported that while 11% had a current budget increase of 5% or more, the majority, 64%, were working with budgets that were either flat or had increased less than 5% over the previous year; nearly 25% reported budget decreases. For the next fiscal year, the expectation was for more of the same, with 5% expecting an increase, 70% expecting their budgets to remain the same or increase less than 5%, and nearly 25% expecting their budgets to decrease.

As could be expected, approximately 75% of library respondents reported reducing the number of individual subscriptions, and more than half, 54%, reported renegotiating multi­year e-journal contracts. Of those who reduced individual subscriptions, nearly 27% moved individual subscriptions into e-journal packages, 26% reported that they offered pay per view or individual article access to the content, while 38.6% decided no longer to support resources in the impacted subject areas.

More than 80% of respondents to the publisher survey reported that their number of e-journal package orders remained approximately the same as the previous year. More than 75% said they believed that the Big Deal will likely be around in the next five years.

During fall 2016, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) also conducted a survey of its member libraries. Some 13.6% of the 88 libraries that responded reported budget increases that surpassed what was needed to keep pace with inflation, an equal number reported budget increases sufficient to cover the full amount of inflation, nearly 40% reported an increase but at a level less than full inflation, approximately 24% reported a flat budget, and 9% reported a reduction in their collections budget.

These results also mirror those of the annual Publishers Communication Group (PCG) “Library Budget Predictions for 2016” white paper. Via a telephone survey, PCG interviewed senior librarians at 686 institutional libraries worldwide. Responses indicate that worldwide serials budgets are expected to increase by 1.4%; North America is expected to be essentially flat, with a 0.2% expected increase. In North American academic libraries, electronic format dominates, with 88% of orders being either e-only or print plus online combinations. In European academic libraries, the results are similar, with 75% of orders being either e-only or print plus online combos.


Periodical Prices for High School and Public Libraries

TABLE 6: COST HISTORY FOR TITLES INDEX IN MASTERFILE PREMIER

Overall price increases for titles in EBSCO Publishing’s Masterfile Premier are expected to be in the 5% to 6% range.

MASTERFILE
PREMIER
# OF
TITLES
2015-17
AVG COST
PER TITLE
2015
AVG COST
PER TITLE
2016
% OF
CHANGE
2015-16
AVG COST
PER TITLE
2017
% OF
CHANGE
2016-17
U.S. 1,087 $232 $246 6 $259 5.5
NON–U.S. 219 341 359 5.3 380 5.8
SOURCE: LJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2017

Periodical Prices for University and College Libraries

TABLE 7: 2018 COST PROJECTIONS FOR TITLES INDEXED IN ACADEMIC SEARCH COMPLETE

Overall price increases for titles in EBSCO’s Academic Search Complete are expected to be in the 6% range for 2018.

ACADEMIC
SEARCH
COMPLETE
# OF
TITLES
% OF
LIST
2017
AVG COST
PER TITLE
% OF
COST
PROJECTED
% OF
INCREASE
PROJECTED
2018 AVG
COST PER
TITLE
% OF
COST
PROJECTED
OVERALL
%
INCREASE
U.S. 3,170 38 $911 39 6 $965 39 5.6
NON–U.S. 5,084 62 1,424 61 5.5 1,503 61
SOURCE: LJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2017

Methodology Matters

This price survey, with the exception of Table 3, uses a print-preferred pricing model based on the standard retail price for the titles in the selected indexes. Print pricing is used for consistency because not all publishers make their online-only pricing available or have a standard online only retail price. The index does contain pricing for print plus online and online only, but only if those were the sole rates offered. When all the data is reviewed, print-only pricing is now 49% of the data used in these tables. More journals are shifting to some form of online pricing, reflecting the overall decline in print.

This survey uses a combination of title sets to provide different views of the impact of inflation on libraries. Titles indexed in the Clarivate Analytics (formerly ISI) Arts and Humanities Index, Science Citation Abstracts, and Social Science Citation Index provide data that is useful for large academic libraries. We have presented the data from these indexes individually as well as in merged format, sorted by discipline and country of origin. Titles indexed in EBSCO’s Academic Search Complete database represent those most commonly held in general academic and public library collections. Starting last year, we switched from Academic Search Premier to Academic Search Complete as it is now the most commonly found product in its markets. Data from EBSCO’s Masterfile Premier is included to provide a data set germane to smaller public and school libraries.

Last year we were able to expand the study to include approximately 15,500 titles indexed by Scopus, creating our largest sample to date. Increasing the sample size makes the results more reliable and, like all other data sources used for this article, the increase in serials price documented in the Scopus Table was again 6% for 2017.

Average prices for science, technology, and medical (STM) serials (Table 1) remain the highest, compared with prices for serials in other subject areas. Chemistry has historically seen the highest average serials prices, and that has not changed. This year the average price for chemistry journals is $4,773 annually. There were only slight shifts in relative rankings for subject areas based on the overall average prices. As noted in the analysis of the charts, content from the five major publishers—Elsevier, Springer, Wiley, Taylor & Francis, and SAGE—continues to represent more than half (53%) of the titles in the merged Clarivate Analytics (formerly ISI) indexes.

There was little change in the relative order for the average price per title sorted by country of origin (Table 2), except that Russia dropped out of the chart. Many of the titles reported here are now priced based on custom quotes, so pricing was unavailable, and this changed the data for Russia. While the average price per title increased from previous years, titles from Ireland continue to have the highest cost per title for all foreign titles included in the merged Clarivate Analytics indexes. The Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, England, United States, Germany, Greece, China, and Australia round out the top ten countries with the highest cost per title in 2017.

Table 3 examines the titles in the combined Clarivate Analytics Arts and Humanities, Science Citation, and Social Sciences Citation indexes that offer published rates for online formats. This table now has 54% of the titles in the full Clarivate-based tables. As in past years, the data reflects online only, print plus free online, and the first tier of any tiered pricing, with the common element being pricing for the online format. As in Table 1, STM titles are the most expensive, with chemistry titles having the highest average cost. The 2017 average cost for this set of titles is $1,385. While this increase over last year’s average price of $1,314 may seem modest at 5%, the individual titles in the data set and associated pricing models reflected by Table 3 change each year, so price increases can be owing to changes of which titles are included in the data as well as actual price changes of particular journals. What does remain consistent is the annual increase falling in the 5%–6% range and the relative high cost of titles by subject areas, with science and technology at the top of the chart.

As noted in this article and its predecessors, the significant portion of library budgets now dedicated to the purchase of e-journal packages must be considered. Since e-journal package prices are often based on custom publisher quotes, we analyzed the 2017 price increases of more than 6,300 e-journal packages handled by EBSCO and found that the average inflationary increase for 2017 was in the 4.5%–4.9% range. Reflecting the percentage of library orders dedicated to electronic format, approximately 78% of the 2017 orders placed by EBSCO on behalf of academic libraries were for either e-only or print plus online combinations.

TABLE 8: TITLES INDEXED IN SCOPUS COST HISTORY BY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS SUBJECT

SUBJECT AVG # OF
TITLES
2015-17
% OF
CHANGE
2015-17
AVG COST
PER TITLE
2015
AVG COST
PER TITLE
2016
% OF
CHANGE
2016
AVG COST
PER TITLE
2017
% OF
CHANGE
2017
Agriculture 444 -12 $976 $1,036 6 $1,107 7
Anthropology 111 -1 533 564 6 599 6
Arts & Architecture 172 9 427 476 11 505 6
Astronomy 58 -3 1,941 2,005 3 2,110 5
Biology 1,076 -34 2,089 2,208 6 2,337 6
Botany 144 -3 1,265 1,326 5 1,406 6
Business & Economics 1,160 -3 1,292 1,375 6 1,425 4
Chemistry 358 -8 3,884 4,054 4 4,229 4
Education 375 -1 840 902 7 951 6
Engineering 1,671 -27 1,689 1,800 7 1,898 5
Food Science 69 -2 1,675 1,759 5 1,847 5
General Science 209 1 1,216 1,278 5 1,349 6
General Works 98 4 333 388 17 408 5
Geography 262 -4 1,007 1,072 6 1,150 7
Geology 200 -7 1,537 1,642 7 1,748 7
Health Sciences 3,760 -155 1,072 1,143 7 1,218 7
History 568 -2 378 396 5 423 7
Language & Literature 656 -13 370 390 6 413 6
Law 247 0 544 559 3 588 5
Library Science 122 -4 1,000 1,051 5 1,081 3
Math & Computer Science 854 -11 1,301 1,358 4 1,426 5
Military & Naval Science 62 1 614 650 6 676 4
Music 75 -1 290 304 5 324 6
Philosophy & Religion 376 -1 377 398 6 419 5
Physics 398 -9 3,042 3,156 4 3,289 4
Political Science 215 3 650 710 9 753 6
Psychology 264 -9 787 842 7 893 6
Recreation 78 -1 625 678 8 733 8
Social Sciences 107 -4 737 836 13 878 5
Sociology 628 -8 780 830 6 878 6
Technology 343 -8 1,469 1,552 6 1,613 4
Zoology 267 -6 1,285 1,394 8 1,457 5
AVERAGE 1,244 1,316 6 1,390 6
SOURCE: LJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2017

Not a Game Changer

There were interesting developments in OA during 2016, but OA is not yet the disruptive force on commercial publishing that many had hoped it would be. The growth in the gold OA model (in which the author pays to have an article published as OA) has allowed commercial publishers to become large producers of OA content. The largest OA publisher remains Springer’s BioMed Central, with stiff competition from Elsevier and Wiley. Publishers have embraced OA as another means of generating revenue and have been successful.

OA remains a hot topic in scholarly communications. There continue to be numerous studies and initiatives and much discussion but not much consensus. In 2016, OA 2020 emerged as an international initiative to work toward the transformation of the business model for scholarly journals from subscription to OA publishing. Many international organizations signed on, but there has been little uptake in the United States. The “Pay It Forward” study, a project spearheaded by the University of California (UC)–Davis and the California Digital Library, in collaboration with the ten UC libraries, Harvard, Ohio State, and the University of British Columbia, analyzed the economics of “flipping” the market from one based on subscriptions to one supporting OA based on article processing charges (APC). The study, published in July 2016, concluded that for the large research universities in North America, the total cost to publish in a fully APC-funded journal market exceeded current library journal budgets, so the cost difference would need to be covered by other sources, such as grants.

There were other negative reactions to the OA model based on flipping from subscriptions to APCs. David Shulenburger, Senior Fellow, Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, produced a white paper distributed through ARL that concluded that the APC-based model was more expensive than the current subscription-based model, calling the “cure worse than the disease.”

TABLE 9: TITLES IN CLARIVATE ANALYTICS (FORMERLY ISI) INDEXES COST HISTORY BY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS SUBJECT

SUBJECT AVG # OF
TITLES
2015-17
% OF
CHANGE
2015-17
AVG COST
PER TITLE
2015
AVG COST
PER TITLE
2016
% OF
CHANGE
2016
AVG COST
PER TITLE
2017
% OF
CHANGE
2017
Agriculture 145 0 $1,466 $1,560 6 $1,666 7
Anthropology 54 2 411 433 5 469 8
Arts & Architecture 120 2 332 350 5 371 6
Astronomy 18 0 1,882 1,976 5 2,071 5
Biology 498 0 2,595 2,748 6 2,917 6
Botany 45 -1 1,810 1,919 6 2,053 7
Business & Economics 535 4 1,330 1,420 7 1,486 5
Chemistry 192 0 4,482 4,613 3 4,773 3
Education 165 0 872 938 8 995 6
Engineering 369 0 3,013 3,202 6 3,408 6
Food Science 25 0 2,224 2,425 9 2,567 6
General Science 71 -1 1,426 1,501 5 1,556 4
General Works 84 0 184 191 4 201 5
Geography 99 -1 1,533 1,630 6 1,742 7
Geology 78 1 2,072 2,233 8 2,381 7
Health Sciences 1,213 5 1,513 1,623 7 1,736 7
History 377 10 346 367 6 393 7
Language & Literature 533 -3 294 309 5 324 5
Law 138 2 321 339 6 359 6
Library Science 56 0 571 600 5 630 5
Math & Computer Science 158 1 1,847 1,899 3 1,971 4
Military & Naval Science 12 1 913 975 7 1,040 7
Music 63 -2 254 264 4 279 6
Philosophy & Religion 249 0 285 298 5 310 4
Physics 190 0 4,083 4,203 3 4,369 4
Political Science 108 0 709 751 6 804 7
Psychology 180 1 833 895 8 953 6
Recreation 40 0 651 710 9 750 6
Social Sciences 65 1 728 786 8 834 6
Sociology 327 0 849 911 7 967 6
Technology 67 0 2,025 2,117 5 2,234 6
Zoology 107 0 1,822 1,899 4 1,988 5
AVERAGE 1,453 1,536 6 1,623 6
SOURCE: LJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2017

TABLE 10: 2018 COST PROJECTIONS BY BROAD SUBJECT

# OF
TITLES
% OF
LIST
2017
COST
% OF
COST
AVG
COST
PER
TITLE
% OF
INCREASE
PROJECTED
2018 COST
% OF
COST
PROJECTED
OVERALL
%
INCREASE
ARTS AND HUMANITIES CITATION INDEX
U.S. 460 31 $95,816 20 $208 4.8 $100,415 20 5.2
NON–U.S. 1,023 69 375,731 80 367 5.8 397,523 80
SOCIAL SCIENCES CITATION INDEX
U.S. 889 41 651,662 29 733 6.6 694,671 29 7.2
NON–U.S. 1,290 59 1,593,025 71 1,235 5.4 1,679,048 71
SCIENCE CITATION INDEX
U.S. 1,146 42 2,584,790 34 2,255 6.4 2,750,217 34 5.6
NON–U.S. 1,574 58 5,057,352 66 3,213 5.5 5,335,507 66
PROJECTED OVERALL INCREASE FOR ALL CLARIVATE TITLES: 5.8%
SOURCE: LJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2017

The 2018 Forecast

The 2018 serials marketplace will continue to see steady price increases, with no indicators that this will change. Drivers in the marketplace, such as budget compression, currency fluctuation, OA, government mandates, shifts in the global political climate, new assessment and evaluation tools, and alternating patterns of the distribution of information offered by research platforms and social networks have not changed the fundamentals of the business models, and serials price inflation remains constant. Publisher and vendor consolidation will continue, and libraries will actively manage their portfolios to get the biggest return for their dollars. Annual price inflation has hovered in the 6% range since 2012. As in previous years, the 6% average price increase seen in 2017 is expected to be much the same for 2018. The mature market seems to have found the 5%–6% equilibrium a rate of increase that neither libraries nor publishers like but with which both can work.

The Value of Journals

Journal price data is important for budget management processes, but price alone is not the sole factor determining value. Some metrics such as Impact Factor are important in assessing value, and similar metrics will only increase in importance in the future. Improvements in usage data gathering (such as COUNTER 4 and 5) and developments in altmetrics may provide even more data that could be used to help make qualitative assessments of the impact of scholarly publishing. Data-based decisions will be very important in determining values as libraries actively manage their information resources.

The standardization of altmetrics data made progress in 2016 as NISO released a set of recommended practices for its collection. Altmetric tools such as those offered by Altmetric and Plum Analytics are increasingly employed by institutions, publishers, and funding agencies to measure the significance of content. Altmetric partners with publishers such as Wiley and Taylor & Francis; Plum Analytics was acquired by Elsevier earlier this year.

TABLE 4: COMPARISON OF AVERAGE PRICE OF TITLES IN CLARIVATE (FORMERLY ISI) INDEXES GROUPED BY PRICE TO IMPACT FACTOR, ETC.

PRICE
BAND
TITLES AVG
PRICE
2017
% PRICE
INCREASE
2016-17
AVG OF
LATEST
IMPACT
FACTOR
AVG
EIGEN-
FACTOR
AVG
ARTICLE
INFLUENCE
SCORE
AVG
COST
PER
CITATION
Less than $201 1,539 $61 -3 1.79 0.6963 0.77 $0.05
Between $201 and 550 1,265 375 5.3 1.66 0.365 0.91 0.25
Between $551 and 1,075 1,291 782 6.4 1.71 0.5749 0.83 0.3
Between $1,076 and 2,290 1,385 1,571 6.3 2.8 1.703 1.17 0.21
Greater than $2,290 1,382 5,196 5.7 3.52 2.917 1.32 0.36
SOURCE: LJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2017

Until altmetrics matures, other standardized metrics will suffice. This year we continue to work with the title and publisher data collected for this article to explore the relationship between prices and metrics used to assess journals, e.g., Impact Factor, Eigenfactor, and Article Influence Score. This year, the relationship between serial prices and numbers of citations also was explored, with interesting results. The metric definitions follow:

The Impact Factor of a journal is the average number of citations received per paper published in that journal during the preceding two years. The Impact Factor is calculated by dividing the number of current year citations by the source items published in that journal during the previous two years.

ljx170402webPlacementsChart1

The Eigenfactor® rates journals according to the number of incoming citations, with citations from highly ranked journals weighted to make a larger contribution to the score than citations from poorly ranked journals. Journals are considered influential if they are cited often by other influential journals.

The Article Influence Score is determined by the average influence of a journal’s articles over the first five years after publication. It is calculated by dividing a journal’s Eigenfactor by the number of articles in the journal, normalized as a fraction of all articles in all publications. The mean Article Influence Score is 1.00. A score greater than 1.00 indicates that each article in the journal has above-average influence. A score less than 1.00 indicates that each has below-average influence.

The pricing data titles in the merged Clarivate indexes for 2017 was divided into five price bands: $200 or less, $201 to $550, $551 to $1,075, $1,076 to $2,290, and more than $2,290. These bands were selected to ensure that the number of titles in each area was reasonably comparable. The average for Impact Factor, Eigenfactor, and Article Influence Score for all titles in a price range was compared to the averages in the other price bands. The Impact Factor and Eigenfactor tended to show a strong increase with the increase in price. The Article Influence Score did not show a significant increase, with the average for titles less than $1,076 showing an average below the mean of one (below average influence) and the more expensive titles showing an average of 1.2 (above average influence).

TABLE 5: COMPARISON OF SERIAL PRICES WITH RATES OF CITATION BASED ON TITLES IN CLARIVATE ANALYTICS INDEXES

SUBJECT # OF
TITLES
TOTAL
COST
TOTAL
CITATIONS
COST
PER CITE
General Science 91 $125,412 1,537,429 $0.08
Astronomy 18 37,281 188,113 0.2
Health Sciences 1,467 2,384,393 11,158,103 0.21
Chemistry 192 916,472 4,140,507 0.22
Geology 79 185,811 744,254 0.25
Biology 527 1,503,677 6,016,294 0.25
Psychology 202 197,108 694,394 0.28
Botany 45 92,375 321,410 0.29
Physics 191 837,546 2,868,488 0.29
Engineering 380 1,277,665 4,271,288 0.3
Agriculture 149 242,963 793,858 0.31
Technology 81 164,282 519,004 0.32
Food Science 25 64,169 160,552 0.4
Geography 104 177,600 354,922 0.5
Zoology 111 217,480 429,060 0.51
Law 143 52,740 96,261 0.55
Math & Computer Science 165 321,543 564,206 0.57
Sociology 341 337,271 581,855 0.58
Anthropology 56 28,463 47,688 0.6
Business & Economics 590 874,317 1,376,772 0.64
Recreation 51 37,097 45,144 0.82
Education 170 170,803 203,117 0.84
Political Science 108 86,865 100,900 0.86
Social Sciences 67 57,272 56,089 1.02
Library Science 64 45,934 42,345 1.08
Military & Naval Science 14 14,783 12,772 1.16
History 378 150,731 82,386 1.83
Language & Literature 535 175,251 82,985 2.11
Arts & Architecture 121 45,110 19,578 2.3
General Works 84 16,880 6,362 2.65
Music 63 17,589 4,354 4.04
Philosophy & Religion 249 77,305 10,342 7.47
TOTALS 6,861 10,934,185 37,530,832 0.29
SOURCE: LJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2017

Higher priced titles do have higher Impact Factors and Eigenfactors, but the increase in metrics is small when compared to the increase in costs, since the average price ($5,196 for the most expensive journals) was 85 times higher than the least expensive ($61) journals. The price increases for the more moderately priced titles were also lower than the more expensive titles. Article Influence Score did not show a strong correlation between higher scores and prices. High-priced titles had the highest cost per citation.

The ratio of citations to serial costs by subject is reviewed in Table 5. For STM journals, the average prices tend to be high in comparison to other subjects. This scenario changes if the costs are divided by the numbers of citations. Chemistry has the highest average price for journals but the fourth lowest cost per citation. Journals in chemistry are very expensive but are heavily cited. If citations are considered an indicator of value then chemistry journals, despite high average prices, are extremely high-value journals. Conversely, journals in the area of philosophy, music, and literature are relatively cheap but infrequently cited, so journals in those areas show the highest cost per citation.

If cost per citation is reviewed by type of publisher, it is not surprising that commercial publishers have higher per citation costs than other type of publishers. Commercial publishers showed a cost per citation of 42¢ (average price $2,048), while university presses showed 19¢ (average price $754), and societal publishers showed 10¢ (average price $1,609).

Stephen Bosch is Materials Budget, Procurement, and Licensing Librarian, University of Arizona Library, Tucson, and Kittie Henderson is Vice President and Chief Librarian, Subscription Division, EBSCO Information Services, Birmingham, AL

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