VSSN needs members’ views on pricing its new journal

The VSSN Steering Group has been negotiating with The Policy Press over the launch of a new journal and we are pleased to report that they are keen to proceed in principle.

The majority of the journal’s content will comprise academic, peer-reviewed articles of around 8,000 words but it will also include two separate sections on Policy Review and on Practice containing shorter pieces especially commissioned for policy and practice audiences. Other possible inclusions are an editorial commentary at the beginning of each issue, a book review section, brief reports on new research publications and a look back at some ‘classic’ studies. The first issue of the journal is likely to appear early in 2010.

The journal’s Editorial Board will be elected by and from the VSSN membership. It will have nine members with one third elected each year. The editors will then be chosen by the Board, in consultation with the publishers.

To ensure adequate sales of the journal, it is intended that it will be part of a VSSN membership package. This requires that we establish a new membership fee that includes the journal. This must obviously be set at a level that is low enough to be acceptable to VSSN members but high enough to make the journal financially viable.

The launch costs are considerable and even if the price of the journal alone were £80 per annum, the publisher would still make a substantial cumulative loss over the first five years. The journal will therefore only be a viable proposition if all member subscriptions include a significant increase on the current figures in return for the journal. We do not intend to offer membership without a journal subscription.

We would like consult you about the level of the new subscription fee that includes the journal. (We will be consulting you about content for the early issues at a later date.)

The current VSSN annual subscription fees for individuals are:

£20 for those with pre-tax income of less than £20,000£30 for those with pre-tax income from £20,000 to less than £40,000£40 for those wilh pre-tax income of £40,000 or more

The principal financial benefit of membership is the £20 discount on each of the biannual VSSN seminar registration fees, commonly reducing the cost to £15 per seminar.

What fee would you be prepared to pay for a subscription that includes the new journal?

for those with pre-tax income of less than £20,000 – £100, £90, £80, £70, £60, £50for those with pre-tax income from £20,000 to less than £40,000 – £110, £100, £90, £80, £70, £60for those wilh pre-tax income of £40,000 or more – £120, £110, £100, £90, £80, £70

Remember that journal subscriptions may be tax deductible for academics (and perhaps for others) which significantly reduces the cost.

Please let us have your response before 13 October, by emailing the VSSN Executive Officer with the highest figure you are prepared to pay, noting which of the three pre-tax income categories you occupy.

Feel free to add further comments. In particular, we will be pleased to have your suggestions for fund-raising to support the launch, especially if you have contacts with potential donors. If we can secure some donations towards the start-up costs this will reduce the loss which the publishers will make and therefore make it more likely that we can go ahead with the journal.

We look forward to receiving your response. It is very important that you reply. Many members have expressed their support for a journal as the next step in developing VSSN. We now need your support if we are to make it a reality.

[see formatting – add bullet points]