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Nathan Berg
''Coping with journal-price inflation: leading policy proposals and the quality-spectrum''
( 2002, Vol. 4 No.14 )
This paper presents a simple model in which research universities stock their libraries with academic journals by picking a threshold level of quality below which no subscriptions are ordered. This framework is used to analyze two sets of initiatives aimed at dealing with journal-price inflation: (1) promoting low-cost modes of production and distribution, e.g., e-journals, and (2) changing tenure and promotion requirements in order to reduce the incentive for scholars to prioritize quantity over quality. Although these initiatives are, in the author's view, laudable in many respects, the model makes the point that the range of quality among journals that libraries subscribe to may shrink as a result. If there are gaps between contemporary standards of ``quality'''' in academic publishing, and what turns out to be useful to society in the long-run, then a ``scholarly communication'''' policy that is sensitive to pluralism with respect to journal-quality is recommended.
JEL: D6 - Welfare Economics: General
Manuscript Received : May 30 2002 Manuscript Accepted : Jul 16 2002

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