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By Stijn Hoorens; Jeff Rothenberg; Constantijn van Oranje-Nassau; Martin van der Mandele; Ruth Levitt; et al; All authors

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Such declines in circulation have led in turn to further price increases (Tenopir and King 2000). There are considerable differences between different fields. For example, the average annual price for a journal in physical chemistry is €2,189, while a title in sociology costs €325 on average. In addition, a study by Dewatripont et al (2007) shows that within fields there are price differences between commercial ’for-profit’ publishers and not-for-profit publishers (typically, learned societies and academic publishers).

The traditional scientific publishing market is an imperfect market. Not only do a few large publishing companies dominate the market, but if readers need access to a particular research article, they cannot typically make use of an alternative article from another journal as a substitute. ’ Matthew Cockerill, BioMed Central Open access is viewed often by research libraries and funders as more sustainable than traditional publishing, since it can be linked more directly to research funding; dissemination can become a distinct component of a research grant.

Whereas it may have been sufficient a few years ago to provide online indexes to offline resources, the expectation now is that the resources themselves will be accessible online. Among other things, this makes scholars less aware of and concerned with which institutions own or offer what information. Online access creates a virtual merging of disparate information sources. Scholars will always be concerned with the authenticity of the information that they obtain, which may depend on the reliability and credibility of its stewardship, so institutional credentials may continue to be important from this perspective.

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