Re: software -practice and experience

Jerry Leichter <>
19 Jan 1999 00:54:33 -0500

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software -practice and experience (1999-01-15)
Re: software -practice and experience (Jerry Leichter) (1999-01-19)
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From: Jerry Leichter <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 19 Jan 1999 00:54:33 -0500
Organization: System Management ARTS
References: 99-01-048
Keywords: journal, comment

| I see frequent reference to the "Software - Practice and Experience"
| articles in published papers. Does anybody know how I can subscribe to
| it? Is it a IEEE publication?
| [It's published by Wiley in the UK. The web site says that personal
| subscriptions now cost about $1300/yr (no, there's no period missing
| there). Is this really true? Yow. -John]

Sounds about right. SP&E has *always* been fantastically expensive.

For about the last 20 years, there's been a trend to raise the prices
of commercially-produced scholarly journals, year by year, with no end
in sight. The explanation given by the publishers is that it's very
expensive to produce these publications, and the audience is small -
they are generally purchased only by research libraries, which may
number in the hundreds in the entire world. The publishers neglect to
mention the flip side of the equation: Research libraries felt they
had no choice - they exist to buy and hold these journals, so they
*must* receive them, regardless of price. For years, the prices went
up every year, and the research libraries kept scrounging up the
funds. Needless to say, this can't go on forever. All but the
wealthiest libraries have by now been forced to cancel subscriptions
to "lesser" journals to keep up with the "more important" ones. This,
of course, makes the sub- scriber base for the "lesser" journals even
smaller - so their prices go up - while the "more important" journals
get ever more "market power", so *their* prices go up.

We're probably seeing the beginning of the endgame for this area.
Even the wealthiest libraries can't afford to pay current costs. The
writers for these journals - who've never been paid; in fact, they
often *pay* (in the form of page charges) for the privilege of being
published - are beginning to look for other venues (new non-profit
journals; Internet publishing). But, in the meanwhile, journals like
SP&E are still out there, listing prices that are - as Crazy Eddie, a
now-defunct chain of electronics stores here in the NY area, used to
put it - insane.

-- Jerry
[I agree. SP&E is a swell journal, they'd probably have far more than
20 times the circulation if they cut the price to 1/20 of what it is now.

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