Would You Pay $4.84 PER PAGE to read a journal?

Posted on April 12, 2011

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In addition to the many things I am currently doing, I am writing up/editing a paper for the newest issue of the Assemblage Journal. The topic of the article is journal publishing in archaeology. I do not want to give away all of results before it gets published, but this calculation just blew my mind and I have to share it. I was looking at how much per page an institute will pay this coming year for a journal. To do that I took this years cost for archaeology journals (see here for a list of journals, why they are included, and currency conversions) and divided them by their last years page count. The results range from as low as six pennies to as high as $4.48 a page. Now of course, these are only advertised or estimated costs for the publishing webpages. For American Antiquity or LAA, because no organization prices are advertised, it was assumed that a university would simply take out its own SAA membership and receive a subscription (paying extra for both AA and LAA then dividing by two to get the costs of each). Also, one has to take in to consideration that these journals might be part of a bulk or consortium discount. Still, if a CRM company wanted to order a journal, which they would not receive a discount for, would they really pay $4.84 per page for a yearly journal subscription?

With budget cuts, I wonder how many universities are going to be look at stuff like cost per page or cost per citation when deciding what journal subscriptions to axe.

High cost- is the max amount paid for a journal usually including paper version. Low cost- is the lowest advertised price for the journal usually only an electronic access (digital pages). The table is broken into four images to fit in this post.

Posted in: Publishing