Northern Illinois University

Scholarly Communication at NIU

person typing at computer and stack of journals

The Issues

The Issues—The price of scholarly materials, especially serials, has skyrocketed over the last two decades.  The negative impact of this inflation rate has been a continuous series of journal cancellations.  It is necessary to understand how we landed in our current predicament in order to formulate a positive response and regain the highground in scholarly discourse.

  • Van Orsdel, The state of scholarly communications
    The article offers a concise overview of the unsustainable features plaguing the serials marketplace.  He also offers a number of guidelines on how to successfully counter the current serials crisis.
  • Periodicals Price Survey 2008, Library Journal
    This is an annual report published each April by Library Journal.  The latest edition highlights a couple of trends—including open access—taking place in the serials universe.  Of universal interest to the scholarly community is a compilation of average price per journal by academic discipline.
  • Ted Bergstrom’s Serials Pricing Page
    Ted Bergstrom is an economist affiliated with the University of California Santa Barbara.  He has studied the serials marketplace systematically for years, and has arrived at a number of arresting conclusions.
  • Economic Analysis of Scientific Research Publishing
    The Wellcome Trust, an influential biomedical research institute operating out of London, initiated the study in an attempt to offer a full analysis of the impact of serials prices on biomedical research.
  • Chart from ARL showing inflation rate from 1986-2004
    The chart graphically—and dramatically—illustrates the rising tide of serials costs over the last two decades.