I got an email last week asking if I had written up the talk on the Political Economy of Peer-Reviewed Academic Publishing that I gave at COA a few weeks ago. I haven't written a paper on this, nor do I even have any reasonable notes. My talk was videotaped, and I'm working on finding a way to have at least the audio from the talk put online. In the meantime, here are some links to some of the references I've found particularly useful.
Ted Bergstrom, professor of Economics at UCSB, has written a number of papers on journal pricing, and has assembled a very useful webpage about journal pricing. I'd recommend starting with "Free Labor for Costly Journals?" (Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fall 2001), available here. This paper is an excellent overview.
A Morgan Stanley report on Elsevier makes interesting reading. I also found Reed-Elsevier's annual report to be quite interesting. The 2004 annual report, which I used for my talk, can be found here. And the 2005 report, which I've not read, is here. In brief, the financial statements make it clear that Elsevier is making lots and lots of money.
Bergstrom, Preston McAfee, and Vera te Velda have put together a website, http://www.journalprices.com/, that lets the user search for journals by keyword and discipline and will display a number of statistics, including cost, cost per article, and cost per citation. The output can be saved as a spreadsheet for further analysis.
2 days ago