Given the lack of substantial price differences between paper-copy and e-subscriptions, I am not sure Rene Olivieri is being clear about his company's motivations for moving to e-subscriptions. While a paper copy of the journal is yours to keep, e-subscriptions are run on a licence model; halting your subscription halts your access to the back issues you have already subscribed to. This leads to an expansion of pricing power by journal publishers (losing the archive may discourage cancellation of a subscription even if the price rises). Indeed, throughout the content industries we are seeing moves away from sale to rental of products. While this makes sense for publishers, it is less attractive to users, as the open- access campaigners realise.
Professor of political economy