Research in Higher Education

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 307-314

First online:

University libraries and pricing practices by publishers of scholarly journals

  • H. Craig PetersenAffiliated withDept. of Economics, Utah State University

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Scholarly journals exhibit significant variations in price. Part of this variation is attributable to costs of production and distribution, but noncost factors may also affect the pricing of journals. These factors include publisher type, country of origin, and the discipline of the journal. This study utilizes multiple regression analysis to evaluate publisher pricing practices for a random sample of 439 scholarly journals. Holding cost factors constant, it was determined that prices to U.S. academic libraries are significantly higher for journals in the physical science disciplines and for those from commercial publishers, especially European commercial publishers. The estimated European price differential is too large to be attributed entirely to the extra cost of shipping serials to U.S. libraries.