Reports & Publications

Monday 02 September 2002

Costs of Learned Journal and Book Publishing 2002

Prepared by Dryburgh Associates Ltd
Table of Contents 

Contents

  • Benchmarking in context
  • Individual measures
  • Overall results from the survey
  • Making use of the results in your organisation
  • The study was designed to identify a number of financial measures of efficiency across a sample of ALPSP members, in a way which permitted comparison between the different organisations.

A questionnaire was designed for participants to analyse and report their costs by different stages of the publishing process (refereeing, editing, typesetting, etc.) together with the related volumes (pages, papers or subscription numbers) involved at those stages. This enabled the calculation of a number of measures such as costs per paper for refereeing, costs per paper for editing or cost per page of typesetting.

Participants were principally not for profit organisations (8 out of 10). Most (9 out of 10) published in science. They covered the full range of sizes, numbers of titles published ranging from one to 140 and numbers of papers published from 100 to 12,000.

To calculate the costs of activities performed by staff members, the costs of salaries was allocated to the activities, which each individual staff member performed. This "raw" salary cost was then increased by 50% to allow for additional staff costs such as national insurance, pensions, training, accommodation and equipment costs.

Participants were promised anonymity so that the individual organisations are not identified, but the charts show typical values and the amount of variability. Some more general questions analysed were: what is the average first copy cost of a journal article?; are there economies of scale in journal publishing?; what is the impact of electronic delivery on costs of journal publishing?; and what is the overall cost structure of the industry?

This valuable research is important reading for all publishers when considering what changes might be made in their own businesses. Objective information about the real costs of publishing is all too scarce, and the figures will also help to inform the debate about what the process costs and how it should be funded.

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