Knowledge Costs

By Maya Ibars / May / June 2000
October 19th, 2007
Keeping up with the latest breakthroughs isn’t just expensive – it can be exorbitant. With a one-year journal subscription costing as much as $23,000 (for Tetrahedron, a math periodical), the Brown libraries have started Seeing Red, an effort to figure out which of these publications researchers can do without. This spring, red price tags began appearing on shelves holding journals that cost more than $1,000 a year. Librarians have also started asking graduate students and faculty members which journals are indispensable.

"We are spending 106 percent more on subscriptions than we did ten years ago – for 20 percent less material," says Sam Mizer ’74 A.M., manager of the sciences serial department, who conceived of Seeing Red. Faced with these rising costs, Mizer says, the libraries must make choices. The hope is that faculty and students will help them make wise ones.

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May / June 2000