[Editor's note: Between 1986 and 1988, the median price of professional science journals increased 32 percent faster than the increase in the cost of publishing them, according to the Association of Research Libraries, an organization representing 119 of the largest North American research libraries. During the same period, journal expenditures increased by 43 percent, but the number of titles that libraries bought remained the same.

This, ARL says, is because skyrocketing prices have forced many libraries to cancel subscriptions to old titles and declare moratoriums on acquiring new ones. Librarians call it the "serials crisis." Publishers call it the "library problem" (The Scientist, July 24, 1989, page 1).

Meanwhile, scientists who depend on these journals for their work are concerned that the disappearance of information from library shelves is thwarting important research. And, by any label, all parties seem to agree that the steady increase in journal prices...

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