Chill librarians, journal price hikes not so red-hot

A learned reader suggests the latest warning of journal price hikes is over-blown. Last week CMM reported information service provider EBSCO’s new estimate that Australian libraries face a 1-2 per cent price rise for journals in $US and 9-10 per cent for those billed in Euros and stg. Cover prices, ex currency fluctuations, will move up 5-6 per cent.

But the reader suggests, “the real point is that no-one is paying 5-6% on average, and certainly not the additional amounts “projected” in this and earlier EBSCO reports.  … For the bulk of library subscriptions the price increases are between 0-4% generally, and with the exchange rates there can be some variation, but not in the direction projected by EBSCO.”

This matters for librarians in environments where their spending growth lags the overall increase in universities, which they manage without cancelling major journal collections. “Exchange rates do play into annual distribution of expenditure, more so than the price increases.” Overall the reader counsels caution in accepting headline increases. “There is a lot of heat and often not enough underlying evidence.”


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