Price discrimination in academic journals

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Price discrimination, the practice of charging different prices to different customers for the same product, is analyzed for 89 of the "best" academic journals in the disciplines of chemistry, physics, psychology, economics, sociology, and business. These journals were selected by reference to rankings appearing in each discipline's literature or citation rank in the "Science Citation Index." Individual and institutional subscription prices were analyzed for two years (1974, 1984). The incidence of price discrimination rose between the two years, and the increase in mean institutional (library) subscription price exceeded the increase in mean individual subscription price. Additionally, the degree of price discrimination (the markup) differed by discipline and kind of publisher. Chemistry and physics journals exhibited the greatest mean markup of institutional price over individual price, while economics and business had the lowest.

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© 1985 The University of Chicago Press. Publisher's version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/601613

Publication Title

The Library Quarterly