2 solutions to escalating prices of scientific journals
By Jan Kunnas
A major financial problem for research libraries is the escalated subscription prices of scientific journals. A year's subscription for a journal of neurology might be 20 000 dollars and the average price for a chemistry journal is 3500 dollars (Darnton, 2009 http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22281). I bring forth 2 solutions to these skyrocketing prices:
A higher status given for open-access journals in the recruiting and promoting process would in the long run create downward pressure for the escalated subscription prices.
A categorical cancellation by libraries of the most expensive journal in each subfield. This would punish the greediest publisher, and create a downward spiral in the pricing where each publisher would try to price its journals below the price of their competitors. In case of a draw, both journals should be cancelled in order to hinder pricing agreements between publishers.
To avoid an cancellation of high-quality journals in order to support lower quality journals, or cancelling much-used journals in order to support little-used journals. We could also consider dividing the price of the journal with its impact factor, taking into account different alternative impact factor indexes, and then cancel the one with the highest price/quality–index. Alternatively, we could calculate a price/use-index.