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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: January ::
Price of Academic Journals
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0004  Wednesday, 3 January 2007

[1] 	From: 	Norman D. Hinton <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 30 Dec 2006 13:47:24 -0600
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.1109 Price of Academic Journals

[2] 	From: 	Norman D. Hinton <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 30 Dec 2006 13:48:25 -0600
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.1109 Price of Academic Journals

[3] 	From: 	Shannon Miller <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 30 Dec 2006 15:46:15 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.1109 Price of Academic Journals

[4] 	From: 	Donald Bloom <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 2 Jan 2007 10:25:54 -0600
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.1109 Price of Academic Journals

[5] 	From: 	Julia Griffin <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 02 Jan 2007 16:57:09 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.1109 Price of Academic Journals


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Norman D. Hinton <
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Date: 		Saturday, 30 Dec 2006 13:47:24 -0600
Subject: 17.1109 Price of Academic Journals
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.1109 Price of Academic Journals

On this topic, one ought to note the disgusting practice of charging 
academic libraries more (often much more) for the journals than members 
of the associations or individual subscribers are charged.  This does 
not encourage making the journals available to people who cannot afford 
the membership or subscription fees.

I strongly advocate getting scholarly journals printed at the lowest 
possible cost.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Norman D. Hinton <
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Date: 		Saturday, 30 Dec 2006 13:48:25 -0600
Subject: 17.1109 Price of Academic Journals
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.1109 Price of Academic Journals

 >Tell the textbook publishers "No!" They're the same ones
 >who publish the journals you complain of.

Rarely the case.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Shannon Miller <
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Date: 		Saturday, 30 Dec 2006 15:46:15 -0500
Subject: 17.1109 Price of Academic Journals
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.1109 Price of Academic Journals

There will undoubtedly be many responses to Mr. Connors' comment on 
faculty as creating the problem of rising journal costs: I will focus on 
two points here.  First, let me respond to the remark about textbooks. 
Most, in fact almost all, of the faculty that I know are incredibly 
conscientious about the cost of books for their courses:  I try to keep 
the costs to my students comfortably below $100 for any course.  Since 
as an undergrad between 1981 to 1985 I budgeted $75-$100 per class, this 
seems a very reasonable amount.  And since tuition rates can make an 
individual course "cost" anywhere from $1,500 per class to almost 4K, 
$100 (and even a substantially larger amount paid for books) is a tiny 
fraction of the cost.  As to new editions of textbooks, there is reason 
we don't want to be using the same text of, say, the Norton Anthology 
from 1985:  the canon and access to that canon has been fundamentally 
changed, and we need to recognize this in our classes.  And personally, 
I think students should keep their books as a marker of what they have 
learned.  Worrying about the resale value of the very material that 
makes the course worth anything is truly letting the tail wag the dog: 
my students will refuse to write in the book so they get back more 
money, with the result that they know the material less well and do 
badly in the course.

Further, there seems to be no recognition in Mr. Connors' statement that 
faculty, who may spend many months on producing articles to expand the 
field and introduce new ideas, get no financial recompense for producing 
articles in scholarly journals.  Our labor is free in this equation 
because we care more about the circulation of ideas than we do about 
personal profit.  Are there other, more indirect, rewards?  Depends on 
the scholar and that scholar's institution.  But if there is a problem 
with the "cost" of journals, it is not because faculty are profiting 
directly from this transaction.

Shannon Miller

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Donald Bloom <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 2 Jan 2007 10:25:54 -0600
Subject: 17.1109 Price of Academic Journals
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.1109 Price of Academic Journals

Aspects of this issue puzzle me, so I am wondering if I could get some 
answers.

What are the names of the for-profit journals published by commercial 
publishing houses?

Do they have any relevance to English literary studies or the humanities 
generally? (Are any of our journals "profitable"?)

What kind of expenses do any scholarly journals have beyond those 
necessary for printed publication -- that is, beyond type-setting and 
layout, paper, ink and press time, and distribution costs?

Presumably you have to pay an editor and his or her secretary. For a 
peer-reviewed journal (the only ones worth discussing), do the members 
of the editorial board and the article reviewers get some kind of 
stipend? If so, how much? What is the bottom-line on costs for a 
first-rate journal?

We then can ask how these expenses are to be covered. I know that many 
journals are subsidized by universities, and I also know that there is 
constant pressure to save money by dropping these subsidies. If the 
costs could be reduced significantly so would the pressure- presumably.

It might also be possible to get foundation grants-perhaps ones so 
sizable that they could permanently fund the journal-especially if the 
costs did not include all those printing expenses.

Does anybody know what the figures are? Such knowledge might 
significantly speed the grass-roots movement that Gabriel speaks of.

Cheers,
don

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Julia Griffin <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 02 Jan 2007 16:57:09 -0500
Subject: 17.1109 Price of Academic Journals
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.1109 Price of Academic Journals

In reply to Mr. Connors: the reason why university professors "insist on 
the latest editions" is that they are, within about a year, the only 
ones readily available for mass purchase.  I would love to use the same 
edition of (say) the Norton Anthology of English Literature that I used 
four years ago; it is no longer in print.  I am therefore using the 
latest edition - not, as Mr. Connors implies, out of some imperious and 
irresponsible caprice, but because that is now all there is.  If he has 
a solution to the problem, other than giving up on anthologies 
altogether, I would be delighted to hear it.

Julia Griffin


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