Chalcedony stone with red coloration
Don’t be fooled, the red seen in this heliotrope variety of chalcedony is from iron oxide inclusions, not actual blood (image via Wikipedia)

Editor’s Note: Joe Esposito’s provocative post last week on the competition between publishers raised a few eyebrows. To offer a more complete picture, I thought it was worth going back to several of Rick Anderson’s posts discussing the economics of journal publishing from the library’s point of view.

Prices, Models and Fairness: A (Partly) Imaginary Phone Conversation offers key insights into understanding Joe’s notion that journal publishing has become something of a zero sum game. There’s only so much money in the library budget, so no matter how much value you offer, you can’t draw blood from a stone.

Competition, Value and Sustainability — Why This Can’t Go On begins to explore the economic distortions of the journals market, and why the pricing structure is what it is. Rick raises some interesting questions about whether the Gold OA market will be subject to normal market pressures, unlike the subscription model, which, at least so far, remain unanswered.

Signal Distortion: Why the Scholarly Communication Economy Is So Weird expands on those themes and looks at the various distortions that have come into play in the market.


Rick Anderson

Rick Anderson

Rick Anderson is University Librarian at Brigham Young University. He has worked previously as a bibliographer for YBP, Inc., as Head Acquisitions Librarian for the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, as Director of Resource Acquisition at the University of Nevada, Reno, and as Associate Dean for Collections & Scholarly Communication at the University of Utah.


1 Thought on "Stick To Your Ribs: Library Budgets, Journals and Blood From A Stone"

Rick says that subscriptions are not subject to normal market pressures, while Joe’s post seems to say they are, intensly in fact. Can both be right? Perhaps they are talking about different aspects of the subscription system.

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