[Open-access] [open-science] Data expedition idea - scholarly publishing income

Encremento info at encremento.com
Mon Nov 25 16:16:56 UTC 2013


I certainly think this is a suitable topic for exploration. I've added my
name to http://pad.okfn.org/p/scholarly-publishers-data-expedition to carry
on with the momentum. I can see though that there's only one more
participant signed up for it at the moment. Just wondering if any people
that participated in the discussion would like to join too.

To what's been said, I would like to add that OA monographs may also suffer
from deficient business models. Open Science journals are certainly taking
the agenda forward in OA, but in the Humanities and certain areas of Social
Sciences, monographs are far more important than journal articles. For
example, it wouldn't be uncommon to have books published 20/30 years as key
readings in undergraduate university modules. These books may have been out
of print for some time but they can't be released as Open Access either. 

Regarding publishing models, it is often overlooked that fees for publishing
Open Access monographs are unaffordable for most research budgets. Palgrave
can charge up to $17,500 + VAT/taxes http://www.palgrave.com/open/faq.asp  

Therefore, if this project goes ahead, it may be interesting to compare
publishing models for books too.

Best wishes

Dr. Juan J. Jiménez-Anca
Lecturer In International Business and Spanish
Founder of Encremento c.i.c.

School of Languages and Social Sciences
North Wing NW915
Aston University
Aston Triangle
Birmingham  B4 7ET (UK)
j.j.jimenez-anca at aston.ac.uk

-----Original Message-----
From: open-access [mailto:open-access-bounces at lists.okfn.org] On Behalf Of
Heather Morrison
Sent: 22 November 2013 01:28
To: Jenny Molloy
Cc: open-access at lists.okfn.org; Carl Boettiger; open-science
Subject: Re: [Open-access] [open-science] Data expedition idea - scholarly
publishing income

hi all,

Study of the dysfunction marketplace that is scholarly communication has
been around for a while. In brief, the scholarly journal system has arguably
been in a state of crisis for decades. Before the second world war, almost
all scholarly journals were published by the non-profit sector (scholarly
and learned publishers, university presses). After the second world war, the
commercial sector became involved, and are now involved in publishing about
half of scholarly journals (sometimes owned outright, other times published
on behalf of scholarly societies). The commercial sector itself has been
characterized by market consolidation, so that today a very small number of
publishers (Elsevier, Wiley, Springer and Informa.plc under the
scholar-friendly-sounding brand Taylor & Francis) own a disproprotionate
share of the market. This market has been the subject of anti-trust
investigation. Open access advocates should note that these large companies
are moving into open access. For example, Springer owns BioMedCentral.
Wolters Kluwer bought Medknow, a large Indian open access publisher.
Meanwhile, Edgar & Willinsky have observed what they call a renaissance in
scholar-led publishing. A survey they did of over 900 journals using the
free, open source software found that these were the largest group involved
in publishing. 

My two next research projects are focused on economics of transition to open
access: one on OA article processing fees, and the other on resource
requirements to sustain scholar-led scholarly publishing. I would be
interested in hearing from others working in this area. 

Some references:

Morrison, H. (2013). Economics of scholarly communication in transition.
First Monday, June 2013.

I cover a bit more of the history in chapter 2 and chapter 6 of my
dissertation - the full final version is available here:

The ARL has been tracking the serials crisis for decades - see for example:

Association of Research Libraries (ARL). (1989). Report of the ARL serials
prices project: A compilation of reports examining the serials prices
problem. Washington, DC: The Association of Research Libraries. Retrieved
August 27, 2011 from http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/001527850

The UK's Office of Fair Trade conducted an investigation of the industry in
2002 (results inconclusive):
U.K. Office of Fair Trading. (2002). The market for scientific, medical and
technical journals No. OFT 396 U.K. Office of Fair Trade. Retrieved
September 13, 2011 from

Edgar, B. D., & Willinsky, J. (2010) (In press). A survey of the scholarly
journals using open journal systems. Scholarly and Research Communication,
Retrieved August 27, 2011 from http://pkp.sfu.ca/node/2773


Heather Morrison

On 2013-11-21, at 5:42 PM, Jenny Molloy wrote:

> Hi Carl and all
> [Cc'ing the open-economics and data-driven-journalism lists in the 
> spirit of fostering some cross working group collaboration. Please let 
> me know if this is too off-topic for your lists!]
> Thanks for your responses, I agree these are all interesting questions and
we definitely seem short of expertise in economics so I have copied in the
open-economics list where hopefully some economists reside who might be able
to help us in responding to your comments.
> Does anybody know of someone doing academic work on this already? The data
expedition format lends itself more to an investigative journalism type
approach, finding what data one can and building a narrative, so my initial
suggestion was not really around an academic study but I think both
approaches would be worthwhile. 
> If anyone on the ddj list would be interested (or has a contact who
would), please do come and join the discussion on the open-science list - we
would love to hear from you.
> Jenny
> On Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 9:07 PM, Carl Boettiger <cboettig at gmail.com>
> Hi Jenny,
> I'm not an economist, but I would definitely be curious to understand how
an economist interprets these observations (along with a bit more digging of
the type you suggest).  
> My understanding is that an efficient marketplace is supposed to erode
profit margins (not revenues). A single company can make large profits as
the result of innovations that put them well ahead of the competition, at
least for a period of time.  But it seems particularly unusual to see
sectors in which every major player is making a large profit margin. It
seems this would suggest to the economist that the marketplace was not
efficient, and thus not spurring innovation. 
> I'd be curious to hear from a more expert opinion if economists view this
as evidence of an inefficient market?  If so, how it has come about
(nondisclosure of prices? bundled subscriptions? something else?) What would
restore an efficient, competitive, innovative marketplace?  
> Beyond an academic study, I've also wondered if this issue would interest
investigative journalists such as the NPR Planet Money Team?  
> Cheers,
> Carl
> On Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 7:46 AM, Jenny Molloy <jenny.molloy at okfn.org>
> Hi All
> I wondered about a potential collaboration between School of Data and the
Open Science/Open Access working groups on a Data Expedition around
scholarly publishers and their income.
> The bottom line is some make a lot of profit, much of it from public
funding of higher education and research and possibly pay very little tax,
but there's not been much exploration of this beyond some figures on profits
which appear in blogs and a few articles and mostly in text and tables. 
> It would be great to try and draw a more comprehensive dataset together,
visualise it and tell some stories. 
> Some figures:
> THE Summary: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/421672.article
> Full article: https://lra.le.ac.uk/handle/2381/9689
> From Mike Taylor
ishers/ :
> "Here they are again: profits as a percentage of revenue for commercial
STM publishers in 2010 or early 2011:
> 	• Elsevier: £724m on revenue of £2b — 36%
> 	• Springer‘s Science+Business Media: £294m on revenue of £866m —
> 	• John Wiley & Sons: $106m on revenue of $253m — 42%
> 	• Academic division of Informa plc: £47m on revenue of £145m —
> Similar figures are also in Heather Morrison's thesis:
> http://pages.cmns.sfu.ca/heather-morrison/chapter-two-scholarly-commun
> ication-in-crisis/
> A few questions:
> 	• Do you think this is a suitable topic for exploration?
> 	• What are the thoughts of those who have run data expeditions or
spending stories type projects before? 
> 	• Does anyone feel strongly about this and would like to coordinate
the project?
> 	• Would anyone like to help out? (could you host a workshop, are you

> organising an event or conference where this could run as a session, are
you a data wrangler, visualisation expert, journalist, coder, accountant,
researcher or anybody just interested in digging in?) Reply to the list and
sign up on the pad if so!
> http://pad.okfn.org/p/scholarly-publishers-data-expedition
> Thanks very much :)
> Jenny
> _______________________________________________
> open-science mailing list
> open-science at lists.okfn.org
> http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/open-science
> Unsubscribe: http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/open-science
> --
> Carl Boettiger
> UC Santa Cruz
> http://carlboettiger.info/
> _______________________________________________
> open-science mailing list
> open-science at lists.okfn.org
> http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/open-science
> Unsubscribe: http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/open-science

Dr. Heather Morrison
Assistant Professor
École des sciences de l'information / School of Information Studies
University of Ottawa

Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca

open-access mailing list
open-access at lists.okfn.org
Unsubscribe: http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/open-access

More information about the open-access mailing list