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February 14, 2006

Journal Editor Resigns to Protest High Price

Journal Editor verdict: Financial policy of the journal is inconsistent with the culture and practices of the academic community

In an open letter dated yesterday, Max Steuer resigned as an editor of Emerald's Journal of Economic Studies in part because of its high subscription price. (Thanks to Ted Bergstrom and Peter Suber Open Access News Blog)

Excerpt from Dr. Steuer open letter:

"You may want to know that I resigned from editing the Journal of Economic Studies on 6 January 2006. Shortly before that date it was suggested to me that the financial policy of the journal is inconsistent with the culture and practices of the academic community. It was careless of me not to look into this before taking on the job. I simply assumed that the fees charged and other aspects of policy were roughly in line with academic conventions. This turns out not to be the case. On the 6th of January I met with a representative of Emerald Publications to discuss the position. I wanted to be sure of the position, and if possible to affect a change in policy. It was clear that the pricing policy was and is very different from that of many well-known economics journals. In particular, the current price of £6,000 plus vat for six copies is far out of line. It was also clear from our discussion that no change in policy was to be forthcoming.

As we know, the contributors and referees of academic journals are on the whole not paid and regard taking on work, particularly refereeing, as part of being members of a scholarly community. I feel badly at having asked many people to devote time to the journal... The policy of the Journal of Economic Studies is not determined by the Board of the journal, but by the owners... Board members should consider their positions."

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