At Cornell University there is "preliminary discussion on a national symposium" to be held at the upstate New York campus to discuss, among other things, the rising costs of subscriptions to commercially published academic journals, according to Ross Atkinson, Cornell's deputy university librarian.
The backdrop for the potential symposium? A number of recent significant events in the world of academic publishing:
- The release in December 1998 of the Journal Price Study1 by a Cornell University faculty committee. The study of 314 agricultural and biology journals concluded commercially published journals in these two areas are far more expensive than those published by nonprofit academic societies. The prices far exceed factors such as exchange rate (most commercial publishers are in Europe) and cost of living. "The journal costs charged by commercial publishers as institutional costs are extraordinary compared to costs charged by other types of publishers," the study found.