University library budgets have been hit by journal price increases of up to 94 per cent over the past four years, research has shown.
The study, published this week by Loughborough University, offers an insight into the pricing strategies of 12 key academic journal publishers.
It shows that since 2000, all the main publishers have raised their prices significantly.
Sage, which publishes journals including Neuroscientist , had the steepest increases with its average journal price rising by 94 per cent in the past four years.
Cambridge University Press, which publishes the Journal of Zoology , had the most modest rise, at per cent.
Toby Bainton, secretary of the Standing Conference of National University and College Libraries, said the price hikes had hit the sector hard. "These increases are well ahead of inflation and mean that libraries can afford fewer journals."
According to the research, commissioned by Oxford University Press, science journals tended to be more expensive than those in the humanities or social sciences.
But the report points out that publishing giant Elsevier, which produces more than 1,000 academic journals, has the highest average journal price in every academic subject area. The average annual cost of a science journal published by Elsevier was £1,349, almost twice as much as the nearest competitor, Kluwer, which had an average science journal cost of £635.
Arie Jongejan, chief executive of science and technology at Elsevier, said the study was misleading because it did not take block subscription deals into account.
He said: "I'm pleased to see that on price increases in almost all subject fields, we are last or nearly last."
% change 2000-04
Taylor & Francis
Univ of Chicago
Johns Hopkins University Press
Oxford University Press
Cambridge University Press