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Harvard Announces that Major Periodical Subscriptions Cannot be Sustained

In a memorandum on journal pricing, the Harvard Faculty Advisory Council communicated to faculty that the Harvard Library can no longer afford the subscription rates for scientific journals from major publishing houses, such as Elsevier, Springer and Wiley.

Harvard’s annual cost for journals from several key providers approaches $3.75 million.  The price for online content from two providers has increased by about 145% over the past 6 years.  The Council has concluded that major periodical subscriptions to electronic journals published by several key providers have become untenable and are encouraging faculty to submit their articles to open access journals and DASH, Harvard’s central open access repository.

In an interview with the Guardian, Robert Darnton, the director of the Harvard Library, called the current system of scholarly communication absurd.  Faculty carry out research, write papers, referee papers for other researchers, sit on editorial boards – all for free – and then pay publishers extravagant prices for their research.

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