Open Access, Open Data, and Open Educational Resources

What Do Journals Cost at Virginia Tech?

by Philip Young, posted on September 16, 2013

It’s a simple question with a not so simple answer, and I’ll probably need a follow-up post to cover all the complexities. Publishers do their best to obfuscate prices through journal bundling (making it difficult to determine the price of a specific journal and also making it difficult to cancel specific journals) and through the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). These practices further warp what is a badly dysfunctional “market” in which publishers have profit margins comparable to Google or Apple (30%+), all by taking free content from faculty members and selling it back to us.

The annual costs below are list price, not actual price. Through what seems to be a combination of NDAs preventing price sharing, and lack of a good internal price querying method, I’m not able to provide the actual (i.e. “negotiated”) amount that Virginia Tech is paying for these journals. So this list doesn’t include all journals Virginia Tech subscribes to (I’m told one or more of the AIP journals might make this top ten list) or accurate prices (either because we can’t tell you or can’t get them out of our system).

With all those caveats in mind, here are the ten most expensive journals that Virginia Tech subscribes to:

Journal Publisher Cost
Journal of Comparative Neurology Wiley-Blackwell $30,860
Journal of Applied Polymer Science Wiley-Blackwell $26,714
Brain Research Elsevier $24,038
Molecular Crystals & Liquid Crystals Taylor & Francis $21,104
Journal of Polymer Science Wiley-Blackwell $21,000
Tetrahedron Elsevier $20,773
Electronics and communications in Japan Wiley-Blackwell $20,712
Ferroelectrics Taylor & Francis $19,683
Journal of Chromatography A Elsevier $18,688
Chemical Physics Letters Elsevier $17,257

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