Bjoern Brembs from the University of Regensburg did a short analysis of the german library statistics regarding the money they spend on publications like journals. In the statistics (freely available here) you can check every one of the 250 university libraries and how much they spent on what in which year. Here is what he found:

German libraries spent in 2011

  • 170 million € on books
  • 130 million € on subscriptions

This amounts to an average of about 660k € in subscription costs for each library (I did not check the distribution to see if I should have calculated the median instead). Given a conservative estimate of publisher profits of around 30%, this suggests that each German library paid about 220k € to publishers’ shareholders in 2011. Obviously, this will vary from library to library. For instance, our library here in Regensburg paid about 700k € in 2011 towards publishers’ profits.
What one could also see was that an average German library in 2011 subscribed to 2k print journals and 15k e-Journals, at an average cost of 34€ per title.

Christian Heise


Research Associate at the Hybrid Publishing Lab and Member of Board of the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, currently working on his Ph.D thesis about Open Science. More about me...

One response to

  1. Am I incorrect, or does that miss out on the money spent by consortia (i.e., lots of e-journal access comes from collective licenses paid for the the Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft)?

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