New UC Report: The Promise of Value-based Journal Prices and Negotiation

The University of California libraries have released The Promise of Value-based Journal Prices and Negotiation: A UC Report and View Forward.

Here is the report’s abstract:

In pursuit of their scholarly communication agenda, the University of California ten-campus libraries have posited and tested the case that a journal’s institutional price can and should be related to its value to the academic enterprise. We developed and tested a set of metrics that comprise "value-based pricing" of scholarly journals. The metrics are the measurable impact of the journal, the transparent measures of production costs, the institutionally-based contributions to the journal, such as editorial labor, and the transaction efficiencies from consortial purchases. Initial modeling and use of the approaches are promising, leading the libraries to employ and further develop the approaches and share their work to date with the larger community.

This excerpt from press release provides further information:

The report describes a value-based approach that borrows from analysis done by Professors Ted Bergstrom (UC Santa Barbara) and R. Preston McAfee (Caltech) on journal cost-effectiveness (www.journalprices.com). The UC approach also includes suggestions for annual price increases that are tied to production costs; credits for institutionally-based contributions to the journal, such as editorial labor; and credits for business transaction efficiencies from consortial purchases.

Through the report the libraries ask how an explicit method can be established, validated, and communicated for aligning the purchase or license costs of scholarly journals with the value they contribute to the academy and the costs to create and deliver them. In addition to describing the work done to date, the report provides examples of potential cost savings and declares UC’s intention to pursue value-based prices in their negotiations with journal publishers. In addition, the report invites the academic community to work collectively to refine and improve these and other value-based approaches.

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