Sticker Shock and Looming Tsunami: The High Cost of Academic Serials in Perspective


Recession is currently causing a resurgence of the academic serials crisis. Profit-mongering by commercial publishers is once again denounced as the key driver of the crisis. However, a critical analysis of institutional and bibliometric data does not reveal excessive corporate greed in recent years; instead, it suggests that the present hurdles stem largely from years of inadequate budget allocations to academic libraries and from a publishing frenzy fuelled by simplistic methods of evaluating faculty productivity. To prevent what is likely to be the publishing equivalent of a tsunami in the next few years, universities and research institutions urgently need to re-emphasize quality over quantity in the publishing process, and they must find ways to include peer-reviewing efficiency among their criteria for productivity and impact. Achieving these goals will require concerted efforts by researchers, librarians, and publishers.