A Rebellion Erupts Over Journals Of Academia: "There's been a rebellion, not with pitchforks but pocket calculators. The nine members of the editorial board of the Oxford University-based mathematics journal Topology have signed a letter expressing their intention to resign on December 31. They cited the price of the journal as well as the general pricing policies of their publisher, Elsevier, as having 'a significant and damaging effect on Topology's reputation in the mathematical research community.'
The subscription cost of journals can be difficult to determine, since institutions often subscribe to many periodicals in a single bundle. But according to Elsevier's Web site, in 2007 the cost of a single year (six issues) of Topology, in all countries except Europe and Japan, will be $100 for individuals and $1,665 for institutions. ....
"Elsevier's prices are very high," said an emerita mathematics professor at Barnard College, Joan Birman, who resigned a few years ago from the board of an Elsevier journal, Topology and Its Applications. She said her feeling was, "We do the work, we check each other, we referee the articles, edit and typeset them and send them to the publisher, which slaps them between two covers and charges a huge amount.""
Some years ago I reviewed a book (published by Elsevier, as I recall) on the "reification problem" in formal methods of programming. ("Reification" means "to make the abstract more real and concrete" and the reification problem in this context is the problem of translating a program in a formal mathematical notation into an implementable form. Just in case you wanted to know.)
The book was one of those common books in Computer Science: everyone writes a paper for a conference, they turn over camera-ready copy to the publisher, who prints them in covers as a book. Everyone has a book chapter for their curriculum vita.
The only thing was, this book, of roughly 250 pages, came out to cost 62.5 cents a page. In about 1985.
Make of this story what you will.