Re: Query About Open-Access Journal Start-Ups

From: Michael Eisen <mbeisen_at_LBL.GOV>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2003 08:45:24 -0800

> > My name is [identity deleted], I am a graduate student in [] at []. My
> > professor [], recommended you when I discussed writing an essay on the
> > internet and the monopoloy of the journals. I think he was amused when
> > I said I wanted to take a marxist approach... Not so sure about that
> It is not that journals have a monopoly (there are 24,000 different
> peer-reviewed journals, publishing about 2.5 million articles per
> year), although 1500 of them are published by one publisher. What
> the top journals have is *inelastic demand.* (The university libraries
> *must* subscribe to them, because their researchers need access.) So
> the problem is not monopoly but access; nor is it a marxist matter:

I think one of the main problems is that journals are not monopolies. The
problem is not that any one publisher has control over the market, but
rather that any non-open access publisher has a monopoly on the distribution
of every article that they publish. Journal articles are not
interchangeable, and thus it is important to view the distribution of every
article as a market of its own. When the right to distribute any article or
collection of articles (no matter how small a fraction of the total
industry) is monopolized, all of the problems of monopolies follow -
especially excessive prices, poor customer service, etc... That these
monopolies also have a captive market that requires their products only
makes things worse.
Received on Fri Dec 19 2003 - 16:45:24 GMT

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