Posted by: bluesyemre | June 15, 2021

The New Abnormal: Periodicals Price Survey 2021

Looking past the pandemic to the new periodicals landscape

“The year… will be remembered as one of angst, with the economy dominating news around the world. Few libraries were immune [from] the extraordinary financial pressures. The library marketplace by year’s end was in a weakened position, with prospects of a long recovery at best. Concern  persists that even deeper budget cuts will come when federal stimulus money expires…. Even when the economy improves, increased funds for libraries are not likely to be at the top of the list for new spending priorities. Libraries may not [ever] see a ‘return to normal’ [and] instead…search for a ‘new normal.’ ”

So opened LJ’s Periodicals Price Survey for 2010. Jump ahead to 2021 and a paragraph written 11 years ago rings even truer. But having spent over a decade adjusting to a “new normal” of serials inflation, harsh budget cuts, and a redirection of spending from collections to services, arguably few if any libraries were prepared for the turmoil wrought by a pandemic. Overnight, public and academic libraries across the United States scrambled to deliver collections and services entirely virtually, with little to no physical presence. Some moved to “click & collect” models to provide access to physical collections and/or took advantage of the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service. Regardless of the means, we have shifted to a new abnormal. How will libraries survive and thrive after the pandemic subsides? What might our new abnormal look like?

TABLE 1: AVERAGE 2021 PRICE FOR SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINES

DISCIPLINEAVERAGE PRICE PER TITLE
Chemistry$6,681
Physics5,309
Engineering4,390
Biology4,163
Food Science3,556
Technology3,426
Geology3,253
Botany 2,933
Zoology 2,707
Geography2,505
Health Sciences2,460
Agriculture;2,353
Astronomy2,277
General Science2,259
Math & Computer Science2,239
SOURCELJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2021

THE ECONOMY: CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM …?

Buoyed by trillions of dollars in federal government stimulus funding, the United States economy remained afloat through 2020, though the same wasn’t true for many individuals, especially after the temporary increase in unemployment benefits expired. The unemployment rate hovers around 7 percent, and disproportionately impacts people of color and white women. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020 as efforts continued to reopen businesses and resume activities postponed or restricted due to COVID-19. But overall GDP fell 3.5 percent for all of 2020. Inflation remains generally low, with sources indicating that the Consumer Price Index will average at around 2.2 percent in 2021. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.4 percent before seasonal adjustment.

… OR PESSIMISTIC REALISM?

Nevertheless, there is unlikely to be a quick return to the pre-pandemic economy, with the financial picture even murkier at the state level. The National Association of State Budget Officers reported that state general fund spending in FY21 is projected to decline for the first time since the Great Recession, based on enacted budgets. After nine consecutive years of budget growth, states saw revenue fall in FY2020, and greater declines are expected in FY21. State Higher Education Executive Officers reported that net tuition per FTE declined in 2019 for the first time since 2008, while state financial aid increased to an all-time high.

Higher education funding, generally considered more discretionary than K–12, will be disproportionately affected by any recession. The National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System predicts that enrollment will essentially be flat through at least 2029. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that U.S. births have fallen 1 percent since 2018, and some experts believe the pandemic and its impact on the economy will suppress the numbers further.

TABLE 2: TITLES INDEXED IN SCOPUS COST HISTORY BY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS SUBJECT

SUBJECTAVERAGE NO. OF TITLES 2019–21CHANGE 2019–21AVERAGE COST PER TITLE 2019AVERAGE COST PER TITLE 2020% OF CHANGE 2020AVERAGE COST PER TITLE 2021% of Change 2021
Business & Economics1,802-13$1,616$1,7015$1,7684
Fine Arts3721047250675284
Heath Sciences4,522-1251,4631,56271,6274
Humanities2,707-2545047354924
Law386065168757195
Life Sciences2,483-502,2062,31452,3753
Social Sciences3,101-379721,03461,0754
STEM5,968-852,2692,40762,4793
TOTAL/AVERAGE21,341-3251,5561,64861,7043
SOURCELJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2021

BUDGET OUTLOOK: HISTORIC DISRUPTION

A large number of public and academic libraries are also looking at moderate to severe budget contractions due to unplanned COVID-related expenses, declines in tuition dollars, and/or local and state funding cuts. Many institutions are seeing or planning for permanent cuts between 9 and 13 percent to their base budget, a key difference from temporary cuts made after the Great Recession. Public libraries may fare better than academics: in an LJ survey of 223 public libraries across the United States, 84 percent reported an increase in FY21 total operating budgets for a rise of 2.9 percent. (See “The Price of a Pandemic.”) This was more modest than last year’s 3.5 percent increase, but represents continued, if uneven, gains.

U.S. academic libraries are largely waiting to see what state funding and enrollment reveal. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s Current Term Enrollment Estimates indicate that first-time student enrollment in fall 2020 plunged 13.1 percent compared to fall 2019, with community colleges seeing the greatest declines. Public colleges overall lost 4 percent of their enrollment, a concerning fact, given that public institutions enroll seven out of 10 students. Some of this falloff was caused by a drop in international student enrollment. Those numbers declined for the fourth year in a row. Another factor was the substantial number of Americans who would normally have attended college but opted to stay away this past fall. The Ithaka S+R US Library Survey 2020 reported that most academic libraries, particularly doctoral universities and public colleges, experienced budget cuts and are very uncertain about the likelihood of any longer-term financial recovery. Academic libraries, strapped for cash and bracing for reduced government support, will continue to push academic publishers to change their business models.

TABLE 3: COST HISTORY FOR ONLINE TITLES IN CLARIVATE ANALYTICS INDEXES

SUBJECTAVERAGE NO. OF TITLES 2019–21AVERAGE COST PER TITLE 2019AVERAGE COST PER TITLE 2020% OF CHANGE 2019–20AVERAGE COST PER TITLE 2021% OF CHANGE 2020–21
Agriculture81$1,251$1,3246$1,3603
Anthropology4054457966034
Arts & Architecture9143746264804
Astronomy131,9592,01132,1045
Biology1952,8903,05963,1312
Botany242,2152,32352,3461
Business & Economics3771,8401,93351,9953
Chemistry735,3935,61345,8154
Education1361,0861,16471,2185
Engineering1942,4732,60452,6753
Food Science162,7022,83252,9233
General Science421,4121,47651,5082
General Works6124725842663
Geography621,5271,61661,6824
Geology391,3911,45341,4731
Health Sciences5581,9262,02252,0592
History28648050765305
Language & Literature41039141664344
Law8747449655042
Library Science3165068157043
Math & Computer Science1051,6911,76241,8022
Military & Naval Science101,1201,17751,2153
Music5232935063593
Philosophy & Religion19342444244573
Physics1024,0764,29454,4023
Political Science9086992369483
Psychology1141,0231,09061,1122
Recreation3884188869426
Social Sciences459501,03191,0441
Sociology2571,0061,07571,1113
Technology462,3722,49552,5633
Zoology652,5832,68742,6910
TOTAL/AVERAGE3,9331,4571,53451,5753
SOURCELJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2021

READ & PUBLISH—THE NEW BIG DEAL?

For the publishing giants, business largely continues as usual—at least for 2021—with Read & Publish agreements gradually supplanting traditional Big Deal and subscription agreements. Increasingly, institutions are signaling that they will accept moderate price increases as long as the content becomes open access, and large publishers are learning that charging universities when they publish rather than read journals can still be profitable. RELX’s Elsevier unit saw strong growth in some Asian countries, while its overall subscription completion rate remained in line with recent years. Despite failing to reach a renewal of its Big Deal agreement with the University of California, MIT, and Purdue last year, the publisher has seen its Open Access (OA) revenue continue to accelerate, with revenue growing faster than the subscription segment.

Although privately held Springer shelved its third attempt to go public last year due to the pandemic and saw a subsequent expected decline in revenue, it remains the world’s largest OA publisher. The company signed two landmark transformative agreements: one with the University of California, the largest such agreement to date in North America, and one with Germany’s Max Planck Digital Library, the first such agreement for its Nature-branded titles. Market research firm Simba Information estimates that Springer Nature’s OA revenue reached $160 million in 2019, a 5.3 percent increase from an estimated $153 million in 2018.

PERIODICAL PRICES FOR HIGH SCHOOL AND PUBLIC LIBRARIES 

TABLE 4: COST HISTORY FOR TITLES INDEXED IN MASTERFILE COMPLETE
Future price increases for titles in EBSCO Publishing’s Masterfile Complete are expected to be in the 3.0%–4.0% range for 2022.

MASTERFILE
PREMIER
NO. OF TITLES 2019–21AVERAGE COST PER TITLE 2019AVERAGE COST PER TITLE 2020% OF CHANGE 2019–20AVERAGE COST PER TITLE 2021% OF CHANGE 2020–21
U.S.929$314$3336.1$3494.9
International2104384656.24833.9
SOURCELJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY, 2021

 

PERIODICAL PRICES FOR UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE LIBRARIES 

TABLE 5: 2022 COST PROJECTIONS FOR TITLES INDEXED IN ACADEMIC SEARCH ULTIMATE
Future price increases for titles in EBSCO’s Academic Search Ultimate are expected to be in the 3.0%–4.0% range for 2022.

ACADEMIC SEARCH PREMIERNO. OF TITLES% OF LIST2021 AVERAGE COST PER TITLE% OF COSTPROJECTED % OF INCREASEProjected 2022 AVERAGE COST PER TITLE% OF COSTPROJECTED OVERALL % OF INCREASE
U.S.2,63340$1,396314.2$1,455314.0
International3,989602,070693.92,15069 
SOURCELJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2021

TABLE 6: COST HISTORY FOR TITLES IN ACADEMIC SEARCH ULTIMATE

SUBJECT AVERAGE NO. OF TITLES
2019–21
CHANGE 2019–21AVERAGE COST PER TITLE 2019AVERAGE COST PER TITLE 2020% OF CHANGE 2019–21AVERAGE COST PER TITLE 2021% OF CHANGE 2021
Agriculture177-2$1,567$1,6666$1,7314
Anthropology55066971477515
Arts & Architecture63252656985975
Astronomy2609911,02941,0391
Biology444-13,1753,34853,4754
Botany56-11,6491,75361,8194
Business & Economics24401,0751,14461,1975
Chemistry160-15,4705,72055,9494
Education27409611,02371,0806
Engineering61342,9823,17063,3044
Food Science3701,8051,90962,0115
General Science8111,6871,78661,8594
General Works98029730733184
Geography9611,5961,70371,7784
Geology7802,7262,88162,9874
Heath Sciences1,23011,6881,81271,8854
History399448351365395
Language & Literature337-248451565374
Law231-140342554424
Library Science82-173277257983
Math & Computer Science275-12,0942,20052,2743
Military & Naval Science39163667877196
Music91222423972494
Philosophy & Religion319-335236853813
Physics18624,0534,25154,4084
Political Science120175780368425
Psychology178-11,0071,07571,1053
Recreation37092899171,0506
Social Sciences50288094379531
Sociology35401,0471,11571,1564
Technology6702,1592,26952,3594
Zoology122-11,5531,59931,6221
TOTAL/AVERAGE6,61961,6361,73461,8034
SOURCELJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2021

Informa (Taylor & Francis) reported continued strong demand for its OA products and robust full-year revenue, while SAGE signed national Read & Publish agreements with academic libraries in Germany, Sweden,
and Switzerland, and launched a new portal to support OA workflow. Wiley purchased Hindawi with the intent to strengthen its growing position in the global research industry, particularly in China, one of the world’s fastest-growing research markets. The acquisition of Hindawi doubles Wiley’s OA journal portfolio.

While large publishers have made it to 2021 unscathed, smaller publishers and academic societies will be hit harder, particularly in the United States, where the lack of a national funding strategy will make it difficult to balance costs between institutions that publish and those that read. Though many publishers agreed to freeze or reduce price increases for 2021, decreased library collections budgets means that libraries will undoubtedly be forced to cancel titles with lower usage or a lower impact factor—bad news for smaller houses that may rely on a steady income stream to support their transition to online and/or OA. For 2022, libraries will undoubtedly drop print subscriptions faster than ever before, placing small and niche publishers and societies under increasing pressure to shift all content online. Whether the Subscribe to Open (S20) model of OA will work for these smaller players remains to be seen. The recently formed Subscribe to Open Community of Practice may provide the necessary support for them to offer open content in some form.

Regardless of what model is used, OA offerings will continue to grow. Simba Information estimates that, by 2024, OA journal revenue will represent 9 percent of the market, for an OA market size of $1.1 billion. Such growth is not surprising, given the jump in article submissions over the past year. At Elsevier, for example, the number of article submissions grew over 25 percent in the past year to almost 2.5 million, nearly double the total number of submissions received just five years ago, while the number of articles published was 40 percent higher.

For large publishers, any declines in profits from publishing are being offset by investments in products that support other parts of the research life cycle. No longer just publishers, these “research support and lifelong learning technology” companies continue to diversify by investing in sophisticated information-based analytics, research, and learning support tools. In 2020, Elsevier acquired Shadow Health and SciBite, Springer acquired Dentallect, Wolters Kluwer launched Lippincott Connect, and Informa folded F1000 Research into its Taylor & Francis unit. Not to be outdone, Wiley purchased mthree, Knewton Alta, and zyBooks. Independent initiatives such as Chronos and the OA Switchboard promise to assist authors, publishers, libraries, and institutions in managing OA payments, but it’s conceivable that large publishers will move into this area eventually.

TABLE 7: TITLES IN CLARIVATE ANALYTICS INDEXES COST HISTORY BY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS SUBJECT

SUBJECT AVERAGE NO. OF TITLES 2019-2021CHANGE FROM ’19–’21AVERAGE COST PER TITLE 2019AVERAGE COST PER TITLE 2020% OF CHANGE 19-20AVERAGE COST PER TITLE 2021% OF CHANGE 2021
Agriculture 1161$2,137$2,2726$2,3534
Anthropology45-164167867094
Arts & Architecture 96049152375515
Astronomy 1402,1342,24352,2771
Biology38703,8234,02754,1633
Botany 3002,6632,83162,9334
Business & Economics53761,9322,03352,1084
Chemistry 14406,1676,42146,6814
Education 16301,2121,30381,3665
Engineering 32813,9854,22764,3904
Food Science 2203,2193,41463,5564
General Science 5502,0552,18562,2593
General Works71027228442902
Geography8502,2712,41262,5054
Geology6702,9783,14863,2533
Health Sciences1,01802,2202,36162,4604
History330452055365815
Language & Literature 445246649365155
Law100150853355452
Library Science 43-19501,00661,0333
Math & Computer Science 15002,1342,20332,2392
Military & Naval Science 1301,1731,23961,2864
Music57136237953944
Philosophy & Religion206145647544924
Physics 15414,9475,18255,3092
Political Science 9601,0261,09471,1273
Psychology15701,2221,30471,3393
Recreation4109451,01371,0706
Social Sciences 5901,0541,12061,1392
Sociology29701,2091,29171,3353
Technology5703,1013,29963,4264
Zoology 7502,6242,70132,7070
TOTAL/AVERAGE5,458162,0162,12962,2064
SOURCELJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2021

THE 2022 FORECAST

Transformative agreements will make more content openly available, but they won’t pump any more money into library budgets or promise to make scholarly communications more sustainable. In the absence of national or statewide plans for funding OA (California being the notable exception), it’s difficult to see most “publish” universities in the United States agreeing to shoulder the costs of transformative agreements to make content open for all to read, particularly when faced with permanent budget cuts. Many libraries, unable to initiate a large serials review project in time for the 2021 subscription renewal deadline, will be taking a very careful look at their title lists and packages for 2022. New products like Unsub predict the value and costs of individual journals to specific institutions, allowing libraries to determine whether a Big Deal is still appropriate for their institution or if it’s time to unbundle. These value-added service offerings will become increasingly important as libraries look to align their expenditures with a new reality.

The past year affirmed a lot about libraries’ ability to adjust to a strange new world. Libraries quickly found creative and innovative ways to provide alternate access to physical collections and services. The complimentary access many publishers provided to subscription collections during the first few months of the pandemic only further whetted users’ appetites for full OA. With users now habituated to online delivery and open collections, “collection” strategies will become “connection” strategies, and libraries will increasingly facilitate access to content outside their local licensed collection. (For example, the Midwest-based Big Ten Academic Alliance recently announced that it would treat the separate collections of the 14 university libraries as a single collection.) A growing interest on campus in access to datasets and systems that support the entire research lifecycle provides an opportunity for libraries to show their expertise in knowledge management.

For the first time in a decade, libraries can anticipate subscription price increases of less than 6 percent: 3-4 percent is predicted for 2022. If a local serial portfolio skews toward large publishers, then the increase will be toward the 4 percent level. But with most institutions preparing for further collection cuts, even such a modest increase is not sustainable. Supported by faculty and emboldened by seeing the goals of Plan S and OA2020 start to come to fruition, libraries will be likely more prepared than ever to walk away from the table. Publishers will need to sharpen their pencils.

TABLE 8: 2022 COST PROJECTIONS BY BROAD SUBJECT

 NO. OF TITLES% OF LIST2021 COST% OF COSTAVG. COST PER TITLEPROJECTED % OF INCREASEPROJECTED 2022 COST% OF COSTPROJECTED OVERALL % INCREASE
ARTS AND HUMANITIES CITATION INDEX      
U.S.42534$120,9610$2852.9$124,469204.6
INTERNATIONAL81966488,642805975.0513,07480 
          
SOCIAL SCIENCES CITATION INDEX      
U.S.81341836,997281,0303.6867,128283.7
INTERNATIONAL1,161592,144,611721,8473.82,226,10672 
          
SCIENCE CITATION INDEX       
U.S.966433,079,351363,1883.93,199,445373.5
INTERNATIONAL1,274575,372,050644,2173.25,543,95663 
          
PROJECTED OVERALL INCREASE FOR ALL TITLES IN CLARIVATE ANALYTICS INDEXES:  3.6%
SOURCELJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2021

VALUE OF JOURNALS

Journal price data is important for budget management processes, but price alone is not the sole factor determining value. Metrics such as Impact Factor are important in assessing value, and similar metrics will only increase in importance. Improvements in usage data gathering, such as Counter 5, may help make qualitative assessments of scholarly publishing. Data-based decisions will be very important in determining values as libraries actively manage their information resources.

There are flaws in the Impact Factor, but nothing has arisen to replace it. This year the survey continues to explore the relationship between prices and metrics such as Impact Factor, Eigenfactor, and Article Influence Score. The relationship between serial prices and citations was explored with interesting results.

TABLE 9: COMPARISON OF AVERAGE PRICE OF TITLES IN CLARIVATE INDEXES GROUPED BY PRICE TO IMPACT FACTOR, ETC.

PRICE BANDNO. OF TITLESAVERAGE PRICE 2021% PRICE INCREASE 2020–21AVERAGE LATEST IMPACT FACTORAVERAGE EIGENFACTORAVERAGE ARTICLE INFLUENCE SCOREAVG. COST PER CITATION
Less than $6001,776$3382.61.560.00170.62$0.20
Between $600 and $1,0501,6968113.62.080.00350.780.29
Between $1,050 and $1,7501,6411,3663.02.470.00590.870.30
Between $1,750 and $3,1501,5092,3373.33.160.01101.010.29
Greater than $3,1501,8776,6373.83.590.01751.080.43
SOURCELJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2021

To examine the relationship between price and value, the titles in the Scopus index for 2020 were divided into broad price categories. The selection of categories was based on median prices with standard deviations and those price bands remain in use for comparison. The average for Impact Factor, Eigenfactor, and Article Influence Score for all titles in a price range was compared to the averages in the other price bands. The results are displayed in the chart above (Table 9). All value metrics tended to increase with the increase in price. However, this increase was significantly less than the increase in price.

Although there were increases in the metrics for Impact Factor and Eigenfactor, the increases were not comparable to the increase in price. The average price ($6,637) for the most expensive journals was 18 times higher than the least expensive ($338), while the Impact Factor slightly more than doubled. The price increases for the more moderately priced titles were also lower than the more expensive titles, which showed close to a 4 percent increase. This analysis continues to show that higher priced titles do have higher Impact Factors and Eigenfactors, but the increase in the metrics is small when compared with the huge increase in costs.

The ratio of citations to serial costs by subject is reviewed in Table 10. For STM journals, the average prices tend to be high in comparison to other subjects. This scenario changes if the costs are divided by the numbers of citations. Chemistry has the highest average price, but the fifth lowest cost per citation. If citations are considered an indicator of value, then chemistry journals, despite high average prices, are high-value journals. Conversely, journals in philosophy, music, and history are relatively cheap but infrequently cited, so journals in those areas show the highest cost per citation.

It is not surprising that commercial publishers have higher per citation costs than other types of publishers. Commercial publishers showed a cost per citation of 35¢ and an average price of $2,345, while university presses showed 15¢ and an average price of $746, and societal publishers showed 9¢ and an average price of $1,481.

TABLE 10: COMPARISON OF SERIAL PRICES WITH RATES OF CITATION BASED ON TITLES IN CLARIVATE ANALYTICS INDEXES

SUBJECTNO OF TITLESTOTAL COSTTOTAL CITATIONSCOST PER CITE
General Science141$294,8172,089,955$0.14
Psychology212285,3881,046,6920.27
Health Sciences2,2014,637,72115,525,9800.30
Geology146371,8811,178,8670.32
Chemistry2631,442,5594,495,9050.32
Physics3071,377,6244,272,3320.32
Food Science34115,503346,8760.33
Biology7062,445,6547,182,8720.34
Engineering9603,164,2189,204,0490.34
Agriculture273477,3431,308,3660.36
Geography150305,671823,0930.37
Botany93184,050478,7880.38
Astronomy3687,385199,0240.44
Technology159499,7291,120,8730.45
Recreation5666,668134,9320.49
Business & Economics6681,353,7762,682,1600.50
Sociology355508,729889,6920.57
Zoology174355,986579,0940.61
Library Science4663,283101,8360.62
Education190258,285391,6010.66
Political Science109124,873184,2590.68
Social Sciences7390,884126,0980.72
Anthropology4549,00267,5710.73
Math & Computer Science5701,148,3451,574,7460.73
General Works1515,89221,4290.74
Military & Naval Science2229,47038,0880.77
Law10167,17383,5630.80
Language & Literature165160,576165,9040.97
Arts & Architecture2328,69529,5210.97
History147130,771129,8101.01
Music129,5468,5351.12
Philosophy & Religion3332,90125,2121.30
TOTAL/AVERAGE8,34419,889,58354,417,7680.37
SOURCELJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2021

METHODOLOGY

The price survey, except for Table 3, uses a print-preferred pricing model based on the standard retail price for the titles in the selected indexes. Print pricing is used for consistency because not all publishers make their online-only pricing available or have a standard online-only retail price. The index contains pricing for print + online and online only, but only if those were the only rates offered. When all the data is reviewed, print only pricing is now 31 percent of the data used in these tables, so despite difficulties in getting online pricing, more journals are shifting to some form of online for their pricing, reflecting the overall decline in print.

The survey uses a combination of title sets to provide different views of the impact of inflation on libraries. Titles indexed in the Clarivate Analytics Citation Indexes (Arts and Humanities, Science, and Social Sciences) and the titles from Scopus provide data that is useful for large academic libraries. The data from these indexes is sorted by discipline and as well as by format, online vs print. Titles indexed in EBSCO’s Academic Search Ultimate database represent the titles most held in general academic and public library collections. Titles from EBSCO’s MasterFILE Complete are included to provide a data set that would be germane to smaller public and school libraries.

TABLE 1 The average price ($6,681) for chemistry titles rose 6 percent over last year and 55 percent over the average price ($4,227) reported in the 2012 Periodicals Price Survey. There were only slight shifts in relative rankings for other science, technology, and medicine (STM) subject areas. Content from the five major publishers—Elsevier, Springer Nature, Wiley, Taylor & Francis, and SAGE—continues to represent more than half (60 percent) of the titles in the merged Clarivate Analytics Indexes, but accounts for close to 75 percent of the dollar value.

TABLE 2 This is the largest sample used in the price studies (21,341 priced titles) and the larger data set makes results more reliable. Scopus data showed a 3 percent increase for 2021.

TABLE 3 Table 3 examines the titles in the combined Clarivate Analytics Citation Indexes (Arts and Humanities, Science, and Social Sciences) that offer published rates for online formats. As in Table 1, STM titles have the highest average cost, with chemistry leading the pack. The 2021 average cost was was $1,575. This was a 3 percent increase over 2020. Prices are lower in this sample, as many of the large publishers use custom quotes for online prices. Consequently, those high-price journals are not in the mix.

For comparison purposes, the rate of price increase is analyzed for 7,144 e-journal packages handled by EBSCO Information Services. Packages are a large part of the periodicals marketplace, so the rate of price increase for these is important data. For 2021, the average rate of increase was 2.12 percent, down by more than half from 4.3 percent in 2020 and 5.5 percent in 2019.


Stephen Bosch is Materials Budget, Procurement, and Licensing Librarian, University of Arizona Library, Tucson. Barbara Albee is Account Services Manager, EBSCO Information Services. Sion Romaine is Director of Acquisitions & Rapid Cataloging Services at the University of Washington Libraries.

https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=The-New-Abnormal-Periodicals-Price-Survey-2021


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