Five companies control more than half of academic publishing

A study at the University of Montreal shows that the market share of the five largest research publishing houses reached 50% in 2006, rising, thanks to mergers and acquisitions, from 30% in 1996 and only 20% in 1973. “Overall, the major publishers control more than half of the market of scientific papers both in the natural and medical sciences and in the social sciences and humanities,” said Professor Vincent Larivière of the School of Library and Information Science, who led the study. “Furthermore, these large commercial publishers have huge sales, with profit margins of nearly 40%. While it is true that publishers have historically played a vital role in the dissemination of scientific knowledge in the print era, it is questionable whether they are still necessary in today’s digital era.” —> Read More