international pricing of Elsevier journals

It looks like Elsevier are charging UK institutions more than US institutions for the same journals. It is quite difficult to compare their prices across different years or territories, because they are not very transparent. To the best of my knowledge there is no definitive list of the prices of electronic access to Elsevier journals. All prices in the calculations below were obtained from myelsevier.com. They are list prices for electronic access for mid-sized (10,000-25,000) institutions and do not include VAT. I filled in the details on the webpage to get an estimate for the cost to a UK institution, and then deleted the cookie from the browser and did the same for other countries. The exchange rates were taken from xe.com on 9th May.

Tetrahedron:

The UK price is £13,203, the US is $17,428 (£10,342), and the eurozone is €15,580 (£12,739).

The UK price is 28% higher than the US price and 3.7% higher than the European price.

Cell:

The UK price is £7,239, the US is $10,251 (£6,078), and the eurozone is €8,542 (£6,984).

The UK price is 19% higher than the US price and 3.7% higher than the European price.

The Lancet:

The UK price is £6,287, the US is $8,580 (£5,082), and in the eurozone is €7,419 (£6,065).

The UK price is 24% higher than the US price and 3.7% higher than the European price.

Energy Policy:

The UK price is £2,882, the US is $3,805 (£2,257), and in the eurozone is €3,400 (£2,780).

The UK price is 28% higher than the US price and 3.7% higher than the European price.

Sport Management Review:

The UK price is £298, the US is $464 (£276), and in the eurozone is €351 (£287).

The UK price is 8% higher than the US price and 3.8% higher than the European price.

China, India, and most of the world pay in USD and get it at the same price as the US. Many developing countries do not need to pay this however because of schemes such as HINARI, AGORA, and OARE.

From this analysis we can see that the UK and European prices are pegged, with the UK price being 3.7% higher. This is before VAT, so it would be interesting to see where this price difference comes from. Elsevier is incorporated in both the UK and Eurozone (Netherlands) which I think means there isn’t any currency-switching charge going on. Perhaps it comes from a difference in the exchange rates between when the prices were set and now; it is possible that they were equivalent at that time but we don’t know when the prices were set.

The US price, on the other hand, is very variable. It is much higher than the UK and the difference varies greatly. Clearly the exchange rate is not the main factor here because the difference ranges from 8-28%. Are there other taxes that could affect it? I’m not sure, because the prices above are for digital goods and do not include VAT. And these are core title prices which are unaffected by Collection deals. So I don’t understand what is going on and would be interested to hear their reasoning.

 

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