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

Cross-field comparison: prices, pages, and publisher types

In the previous case-study, we saw that for-profit journals tend to be more expensive per-page than are non-profit or jointly-owned journals. Examination of six fields - ecology, economics, atmospheric sciences, mathematics, neurobiology, and physics - reveals a very similar pattern in each discipline.

Price versus pages across fields
[ View a high-detail PDF version of this image ]

Indeed, average price per page - shown in the table below - differs dramatically across publisher types. These differences are consistant across in all six fields studied.

Field (year, # journals) For-profit Joint Non-profit
Ecology (2000, n=78) $1.19 $0.70 $0.19
Economics (2000, n=156) $0.81 $0.42 $0.16
Atmos. Sci. (1999, n=34) $0.95 $0.15
Mathematics (2000, n=171) $0.70 $0.27
Neuroscience (1997, n=71) $0.89 $0.10
Physics (1997, n=93) $0.63 $0.19

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Last modified November 7, 2003
Copyright © 2003 Carl T. Bergstrom