Do You Subscribe to Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing?

If Not, Why?

For a number of years, the division has offered the electronic version of Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing (PEP/WEB) to our members, currently for the price of $60 per year. This subscription allows members access to a full range of premier psychoanalytic journals and newsletters (complete through 2008) as well as an impressive library of psychoanalysis that includes both the English and German versions of Freud’s collected works. The database is fully searchable by author, title, keywords, etc.

For those of you who are not yet familiar with PEP you can search the database, since abstracts of articles and books are available for free. For those of you who are not yet subscribers, I want to raise the question: Why not? In addition to freeing your library space by allowing you to throw out pre-2009 journal issues, PEP is the fastest way to sample the psychoanalytic literature on any topic or review at a glance the work of individual authors. Or, according to the PEP website, you have electronic access to 650,000 pages of material, which stacked end to end would be 213 feet high. Why anyone needs to know this, I don’t know; but it is impressive.

Following the leadership of Nancy McWilliams and Henry Seiden, the division board struck an agreement with PEP in 2007 that would allow division member access to PEP/Web at a discounted price. Currently, for example, individuals  may independently subscribe to PEP/Web for $135 (but only after paying a hefty first-time fee of $1,000). Psychoanalytic institutes may subscribe at a much reduced price, but in most cases only if all members of the institute subscribe. Other groups also tend to charge an entrance fee. There may be other arrangements that other organizations have made with PEP, but I know of none that involve a better deal than the one you can get through Division 39.

I have outlined the information available on the PEP website in order to provide a context for the arrangement the division developed with PEP and its current iteration. Initially, the division agreed to pay a large yearly fee, $20,000, and in exchange our members were entitled to subscribe at the rate of $55 per year. Over the years we have renegotiated the rate, which now stands at $13,600 per year and $60 per subscriber. To date we have about 800 member subscribers (out of a potential of about 3,000 subscribers).

There are a number of ways to break out the costs to our members and the overall division budget. One way to look at it is that the division pays about $4 per member to PEP, and in exchange any member may subscribe at the reduced rate of $60 per year. While some of our members, perhaps 20 percent, have alternative access to PEP through university or institute affiliation, the great majority of our members, especially our student and ECP members, do not have this alternative. Finally, as part of our agreement with PEP, the division’s yearly fee will be reduced if our subscription numbers go up. If more members subscribe to PEP, that is, the division’s fee will go down substantially.

As a practical matter, I suspect that we will never have full member subscription to PEP, although I hope we can increase the numbers in the coming years. The division board, however, made the decision to subsidize PEP for our members for a philosophical rather than a financial reason. As part of our mission to increase and enhance psychoanalytic education, we felt that providing access to the full range of psychoanalytic writings was and is a major responsibility of our organization.

As a division we only have limited ways to directly involve our members in advancing our educational mission. Clearly our journal (as along with our other publications) is a vital part of this mission. Our Spring Meeting and meetings during the APA Convention also advance psychoanalytic knowledge. As I see it, access to PEP as a member benefit is an important third component of our educational mission. Allowing our members to have access to PEP (and its full range of psychoanalytic perspectives) at such a reasonable cost seems to me a natural extension of our task to promote psychoanalytic knowledge and psychoanalytic community.

So here comes the sales pitch:

  • Learn more about PEP  

  • If you did not know about this division benefit, contact Ruth Helein and she will help you begin your subscription today (subscribing is continuous, so you will only be billed on the yearly anniversary of your subscription). 

  • If you subscribe to PEP, tell a colleague about this benefit. Feel free to adapt the information included above to send to your local chapter or other psychoanalytic groups to publicize this important benefit of membership in the division. 

  • Wow your friends and colleagues with your psychoanalytic knowledge by using the PEP mobile compatibility feature, allowing you to surreptitiously uncover important psychoanalytic facts during late night discussions!