In 1984 an annual subscription to Leukemia Research cost a library $160. It’s now $540. In 1985 a year’s worth of Gene was $627.40. This year it’s $1,870. Computers and Structures was $425 in 1983. Today’s rate:, $1,425. Brain Research, a weekly, is now priced at $5,080 per year.

“Price gouging,” says Duane Webster, executive director of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). “Devastating,” says Michael Keller, an associate librarian at the Sterling Library at Yale University. And Chuck Hamaker, director of the Louisiana State University library, declares that the trend is “horrendous.”

The price of professional science journal is skyrocketing, forcing librarians to cancel subscriptions to old titles and declare moratoriums on accepting new ones. Meanwhile, the researchers who depend on these journals are worried about the free flow of scientific information. They also see the rising unavailability of certain journals hampering their work. As one scientist says, chance...

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