Home / Feauture Article July 2000

When IEEE Sensors Council President John Vig helped his library at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Ft. Monmouth, N.J., USA, cut costs by eliminating subscriptions to journals, it was an eye-opening experience for him. “Until then, if I needed a journal, I would ask the library to order it and I would not have to consider the prices. Suddenly, I was on a committee that had to decide which ones to cut,” says Vig. “I was flabbergasted when I learned that the prices of some commercially published journals can range to more than US$20,000.”
This cost-cutting exercise came in handy for Vig when the IEEE Sensors Council began researching competitive publications and their prices in the sensors field as background for its proposal to launch a sensors journal. Sensors are a multi-billion dollar industry, and an important area of research and development. The automotive sensor market alone is nearly US$6 billion. The IEEE’s journal will focus on the numerous sensor technologies spanned by IEEE societies, as well as emerging sensor technologies.
Commercial organizations — rather than professional societies — control most sensor publications, symposia and exhibits. The yearly subscription price for the dominant journal in the field is US$5,200.
To find a way to keep the price of the journal affordable, the IEEE Sensors Council began discussions with the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), an alliance of libraries that fosters expanded competition in scholarly communication. SPARC creates “partnerships” with publishers that are developing high-quality, economical alternatives to existing high-priced publications. If an agreement can be reached, IEEE Sensors Journal will be the first partnership between the IEEE and SPARC. By partnering with publishers, SPARC aims to create a more competitive marketplace where the cost of journal acquisition is reduced, and publishers who are responsive to customer needs are rewarded by increased subscriptions by libraries.
IEEE Sensors Journal will be a direct challenge to the dominant commercial journal. “I have been advocating that the IEEE compete more aggressively and create publications in areas where we have a strong interest and where the commercial publications are dominant,” says Vig. “The IEEE’s goal is not to maximize its income, and it shouldn’t be. Our goal should be the maximum dissemination of technical information while maintaining financial viability. Just because we could sell a journal for twice the price is not a reason for us to double the price. People who publish should be aware of the price of journals, because why publish in a journal you can’t afford when there is an alternative you can afford? I don’t know of many engineers who can afford US$5,200 a year for a subscription.”
To be launched in June 2001, the cost of the journal will be US$19 for members and US$490 for institional subscribers.
The deadline for submissions for the inaugural issue is 1 Sept. Initially, IEEE Sensors Journal will be published bimonthly.
To attract a wider audience than just sensor researchers, the journal will emphasize applications and review papers. It will be fully refereed and will use an online peer review system. Current and back issues will be available through IEEE Xplore. For more information about the Council or the Journal, visit “http://www.ieee.org/sensors“.
When IEEE Sensors Council President John Vig helped his library at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Ft. Monmouth, N.J., USA, cut costs by eliminating subscriptions to journals, it was an eye-opening experience for him. “Until then, if I needed a journal, I would ask the library to order it and I would not have to consider the prices. Suddenly, I was on a committee that had to decide which ones to cut,” says Vig. “I was flabbergasted when I learned that the prices of some commercially published journals can range to more than US$20,000.”
This cost-cutting exercise came in handy for Vig when the IEEE Sensors Council began researching competitive publications and their prices in the sensors field as background for its proposal to launch a sensors journal. Sensors are a multi-billion dollar industry, and an important area of research and development. The automotive sensor market alone is nearly US$6 billion. The IEEE’s journal will focus on the numerous sensor technologies spanned by IEEE societies, as well as emerging sensor technologies.
Commercial organizations — rather than professional societies — control most sensor publications, symposia and exhibits. The yearly subscription price for the dominant journal in the field is US$5,200.
To find a way to keep the price of the journal affordable, the IEEE Sensors Council began discussions with the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), an alliance of libraries that fosters expanded competition in scholarly communication. SPARC creates “partnerships” with publishers that are developing high-quality, economical alternatives to existing high-priced publications. If an agreement can be reached, IEEE Sensors Journal will be the first partnership between the IEEE and SPARC. By partnering with publishers, SPARC aims to create a more competitive marketplace where the cost of journal acquisition is reduced, and publishers who are responsive to customer needs are rewarded by increased subscriptions by libraries.
IEEE Sensors Journal will be a direct challenge to the dominant commercial journal. “I have been advocating that the IEEE compete more aggressively and create publications in areas where we have a strong interest and where the commercial publications are dominant,” says Vig. “The IEEE’s goal is not to maximize its income, and it shouldn’t be. Our goal should be the maximum dissemination of technical information while maintaining financial viability. Just because we could sell a journal for twice the price is not a reason for us to double the price. People who publish should be aware of the price of journals, because why publish in a journal you can’t afford when there is an alternative you can afford? I don’t know of many engineers who can afford US$5,200 a year for a subscription.”
To be launched in June 2001, the cost of the journal will be US$19 for members and US$490 for institutional subscribers.
The deadline for submissions for the inaugural issue is 1 Sept. Initially, IEEE Sensors Journal will be published bimonthly.
To attract a wider audience than just sensor researchers, the journal will emphasize applications and review papers. It will be fully refereed and will use an online peer review system. Current and back issues will be available through IEEE Xplore. For more information about the Council or the Journal, visit “http://www.ieee.org/sensors“.