The Economics of Journal Publishing


Case study: Ecology

Prices and publishers

Who publishes the top tier?

Cumulative plots

Estimating circulation

Journal numbers over time

Comparing other fields

Prices and publishers across disciplines

Cumulative plots across disciplines

Top science journals


Economics of ecology journals

Will open access be able to compete?

Costs and benefits of site licenses

Electronic subscriptions: A boon for whom?

Value and price by journal

Contact Information

Carl T. Bergstrom

Department of Biology
University of Washington
Box 351800
Seattle, WA 98195-1800

Ecology journals: prices, pages, and publisher types

Scholarly journals in the field of ecology differ dramatically in the per-page costs of institutional subscriptions. A subscription to the cheapest of these, Canadian Field-Naturalist, cost of roughly $0.04 per page in the year 2000. In the same year, a subscription to the most expensive, Global Ecology and Biogeography, cost about $3.20 per page. Perhaps unsurprisingly, per-page journal costs vary from publisher to publisher. The figure below depicts the 2000 institutional price against the number of pages published in the year 2000 for ecology journals. Price versus pages, ecology journals 2000 The figure shows that in general, non-profit journals have lower per-page prices than do for-profit journals. Indeed, journals issued by learned societies, university presses, and other non-profit publishers tend to be the least expensive, with an average per-page cost of $0.19. Journals issued by for-profit publishers without the support of an assoicated academic society tend to be the most expensive, with an average per-page cost of $1.20. Journals issued jointly by a society and for-profit publisher range all across the board, with an average cost of $0.70 and a large variance. Several outliers are lie beyond the range covered by the graph; their inclusion does not change the patterns observed.

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Last modified September 4, 2002
Copyright © 2002 Carl T. Bergstrom