Scholarly Publishing and its Discontents

It’s 2017 and so it is high time I wrote and released another book. And so here it is. This one is about scholarly publishing and summarises the research of many people including those generously funded by a Sloan Foundation grant into the Economics of Knowledge Contribution and Diffusion.

This book isn’t for everyone. It is likely going to appeal to some academics and probably a greater set of librarians. Basically, I tackle the issue of market power in scholarly publishing. This is something academics and others have been railing about for decades but the value of commercial publishers seems to grow and grow. Boycotts, open access etc seem not to change too much. My assessment is that is because these things do not quite tackle the root causes of market power.

The book covers the economic theoretical arguments and also identifies the work of economists in understanding the scholarly publishing industry. I then turn to consider a number of other, untried options including a form of reverse price discrimination and also various means of unlocking the knowledge inside journals rather than the journals themselves.

My goal is that this a ‘go to’ read for the economics of these issues but it does not necessarily have a great coherent theme or a big idea. Hence, I have self-published it to get the ideas I do have out there. But mercifully, it is short and if you look on this site here, there is at least one format in which the price matches the expected value to any random individual in the global economy.

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