January 19, 2022

New Research Article: “Evaluating Big Deal Journal Bundles” (Roundup)

NOTE: Access to the full text article linked below is paywalled or available via some library subscription databases. Supplemental material is open to all and also linked below. 

The following article appears in the June 16, 2014 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Additional material and background can be accessed from on Ted Bergstrom’s Journal Page and JournalPrices.com.


Evaluating Big Deal Journal Bundles
Abstract, Author Info, and Footnotes

Supplemental Material (18 Data Tables)
Titles of Tables Listed Below


Theodore C. Bergstrom
University of California Santa Barbara

Paul N. Courant
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

R. Preston McAfee
Strategic Technologies, Google

Michael A. Williams
Competition Economics LLC


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Vol. 111 No. 24

Highlights and Abstract

Bundled journal access agreements between journal publishers and research institutions display variability in pricing that cannot be explained by institution characteristics alone, according to a study. Although some publishers and libraries hold the details of such agreements confidential, Theodore C. Bergstrom and colleagues used Freedom of Information Act requests to examine agreements between public universities and both commercial and non-profit journal publishers. The authors compared the cost of access to journal bundles, measured as the cost per citation of articles in the journals, for large research universities, small PhD degree-granting universities, and predominantly master’s degree-granting institutions.

Commercial publishers charged large research universities between three and ten times more, and small PhD-granting institutions between two and four times more, compared with non-profit publishers. For master’s-granting institutions, however, some commercial publishers charged less than non-profit publishers and others charged up to two times more than non-profit publishers.

The results suggest that pricing variation cannot be fully explained by university enrollment or PhD production alone, and suggest that some institutions have been more successful than others at price negotiation, according to the authors.

Direct to Abstract (Full Text Paywalled)

Direct to Supplemental Material (13 pages; PDF)

Supplemental Material Includes the Following Data Tables :

  • Total Costs and Citations by Institution Type (2009)
  • Bundle Prices of Non-Profit Publishers with Tiered Pricing

    by Type of Institution (2009)

  • Bundle Cost Per Citation: Non-profits with Uniform Pricing (2009)
  • Cost of Elsevier Freedom Package: Research 1 and 2 Institutions (2009)
  • Cost of Elsevier Freedom Package: Master’s Institutions (2009)
  • Cost of Springer Journal Collection (2009)
  • Cost of Sage Journal Package: Research 1 and 2 (2009)
  • Cost of Sage Journal Package: Master’s Institutions (2009)
  • Cost of Wiley Journal Package: Research 1 Institutions (2009)
  • Cost of Wiley Journal Package: Research 2 Institutions (2009)
  • Cost of Wiley Journal Package: Master’s Institutions (2009)
  • Cost of Cambridge University Press Journal Package (2009)
  • Cost of Taylor & Francis Journal Package (2009)
  • Cost of Emerald Journal Package (2009)
  • Cost of American Chemical Society Journal Bundle (2009)
  • Cost of Oxford University Press Journal Package (2009)
  • Cost of Cambridge University Press Journal Package (2009)
  • Comparison of Alternative Measures of Cost-Effectiveness (2009)
  • Regression coeffcients used to estimate average costs to universities by Carnegie classification

Additional material and very interesting background can be accessed on Ted Bergstrom’s Journal Page and JournalPrices.com.


Hat Tip/Thanks to FullTextReports.com Editor Shirl Kennedy For the Tip!

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.