JAPA session at #APA16 had a nice turn-out with tough questions asked…

Ok, in full disclosure: everybody else on the panel was super: Rob Olshansky, Michael Holleran, Karl Kim, Jennifer Minner, and Sandi Rosenbloom were all awesome. I generally sucked and rambled about the special issue I have coming out (our target in Spring 2017), but one of my authors, Bonnie Johnson, did a stellar job of discussing her paper on city managers and urban planners.

We got some push-back from the audience, however, about how none of them can access the Journal of the American Planning Association unless they cough up another $50, and they are right. When I used to belong to JAPA regularly–years ago, I admit–the Journal and Planning magazine were available to members, or at least it was a significant discount. Multiple members of the audience said they would like to have the information in JAPA, but subscriptions were too high for them given that they weren’t interested in whole issues. Oh, wait, the fee for members, I just looked, is an addition $38 if you want digital, and $48 if you want print.

One gentleman made the point that I, and a zillion other academics, review for free, I provide content for free…it’s “part of my job” for sure, but Taylor & Francis and Elsevier do not pay me…USC pays me. And then USC has to pay for the journal I provide content for.

This is all by way of saying that people, particularly APA members, should be able to buy single articles for a nominal fee, like $5. Why not? What does it cost publisher, really, to do that once the material has been prepared?

I am not sure. I am largely ignorant of the business of academic publishing, but $30 per article seems pretty high to me, granted the APA is the organization that contracts for the journal in the first place.