asa audit information

Neal Caren points out to me that ASA does have a page called “Audit of Financial Records”. There isn’t a link to the page on the ASA site, as far as I can tell. And the last year it has was 2007. That appears to say that publications brought in about 3 million and cost about 1.1-1.2 million in 2007, for a surplus of 1.8-1.9 million.

Granted, ASA requires members buy a journal (presently $45), which it could simply charge as dues and give everyone one journal for free, which I presume would shift about $600K from publications income to dues income. (All that said, I make no claims to be an accountant.)

Just so we’re clear, the ASA journals have been losing subscribers, both on the institutional (where the real money is) and individual level. The larger point, though, is that the ASA journals are not a break-even proposition for the organization. The journals make money and ASA uses that money for other matters (if you compare the 2008 Form 990s for the different disciplines that I mentioned in my previous post, the biggest outlier expense for sociology vs. other disciplines appears to be “occupancy”). The problem with reducing the profit from journals is not so much that it threatens the journals per se, but for the threat to these other expenses. Also, it means that one shouldn’t believe that the page limits of the ASA journals are somehow determined by what the journal revenues imply they can afford.

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

4 thoughts on “asa audit information”

    1. As I learned at an open access session sponsored by SWS at the meetings last August, Open Access after 12 months is now the law for anything that got federal money. Some publishers, especially Sage, are fighting it tooth and claw. At the session I was at, the Sage rep’s response to how long he thought a Sage journal should be embargoed before being open to all was “forever.” Authors may legally post PDFs of the version they sent to the journal (not the photocopy of the journal pages themselves) to meet the Open Access law.

      The SWS makes a ton of money from Gender and Society, as ASA makes on its journals. The thing is, the money is coming from somewhere, and the publisher is making even more money than the association is. The publishers are counting on making money from institutional subscriptions. With the budget cuts especially at public institutions, this is no longer the cash cow it once was. Taxpayers and private university endowments are buying those subscriptions that generate those profits. There is no free lunch. Money spent on one thing is money not spent on something else.

      For you social movements folks, a related matter surfaced at the CBSM meeting. Taylor & Francis, publisher of Social Movement Studies, contributed money to a CBSM workshop. Someone made a remark that Mobilization (the top SM journal) ought to contribute. BUT, of course, Mobilization is desktop published and sells for $50 to individuals and $200 to institutions. It has no money to donate. Social Movement Studies is $177 for paper only to individuals and $710 for an institutional subscription.

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    2. In 2007, the ASA reported 14,757 members. $1.9 million “surplus” divided by 14,757 members is about $128.75 per member (if redistributed equally). This certainly deserves looking into…

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  1. One question: why can’t ASR revoke it’s 75 year limit and apply the same rules to old journals that it now applies to new journals (is it two year limit?)? Would that be a huge lost to ASA revenue? A two year limit sounds reasonable, we could even discuss a five year limit, but what’s up with 75 years?

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