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Researchers find some universities are getting poor value from bundled academic journal publishers

Posted June 18, 2014

A small team made up of four economists from four universities in the U.S. has found that some university libraries are getting a raw deal from companies that sell them bundled academic journals. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Theodore Bergstrom, Paul Courant, Preston McAfee and Michael Williams contend that by requiring university librarians to sign confidentially agreements, academic journal publishers are artificially inflating the prices of bundled journal packages and are charging universities widely different prices for the same content without any reason, other than that it brings them greater profit.


Academic journals are periodicals where researchers publish articles describing their work. They are published by companies such as Springer, Taylor & Francis, Sage, and Elsevier. Such periodicals can be sold on an individual subscription basis, to a university, or other group, or, they can be bundled together, like channels on cable TV and sold as a package deal.

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