About Archaeology Journal Publishing

Posted on May 19, 2011


Currently, I am writing up a paper for the Assemblage, an open access journal, about archaeology journals. It is amazing how little we know archaeology journals considering that some archaeologists are dependent on publishing in them for their jobs/livelihood. As the saying goes publish or perish.

As part of this research I have complied a list of all the journals that primarily focus on archaeology (includes publications that contain original research that are not monographs) I could find, a nice round 250 so far. You can see the full list here.  Since then, I have been examing the characteristics of these journals for this paper.

I am going to try something new and post some of the raw conclusions and findings here in this blog. As a way for me to work through my findings but also as a way to get some feedback. It would be great if you, the reader of this blog, could comment or add in your two cents. A sort of pre-peer review process. Of course you do not have to ether.

Now that explanation is done with onto the findings-

The first thing I examined was the cost of journals. Taking away open access journals this left me with 189 journals that one would have to pay to view. Looking at the maximum cost of each journal for individuals and institutes I calculated the average maximum cost of journals for both.

Average Cost Per Journal

Pounds Dollars Euros
avg. cost- for institute £131.18 $215.04 € 149.06
avg. cost- for  individual £50.88 $83.41 € 57.82

$= .61£      €=.88£   £=1£

Another way to look at this would be cost per page. I took the price of journals then divided it by last years page count (page counts stay fairly constant from year to year) and then averaged the results. (it was not possible to get every journals page count so the sample was only 131 journals)

Average Cost Per Page

Pounds Dollars Euros
avg. cost per page- for  institute  £0.50 $0.82 € 0.57
avg. cost per page- for individual  £0.23 $0.37 € 0.26

While it looks like institutes are getting the raw deal it is important to remember that they are offering access to multiple people. Still paying an average $215 per journal subscription/$.82 per page can add up quite quickly.

Next post: costs- big publishers vs. not-for-profits.

Any feedback is much appreciated.

Posted in: Publishing