Wednesday, June 16, 2010


The academic publishing industry, like the music industry (and we know that battle is already lost) is determined to preserve the kind of control over its product that allows for often usurious pricing schemes.

Unfortunately, the growth of open access publishing and institutional repositories has the potential to make publishers superfluous. But you can't blame the industry for trying to hold on to a system that has been so profitable. The latest salvo has been taking place at Georgia State, and involves e-reserves:

And no, I am not expressing my inner Marxist by rejecting the reality of copyright and private property.

But we all know that publishers take material produced by employees of universities (professors), repackage it, and then sell it back to universities for often rapacious sums. There is value added by the publishers, but not at levels commensurate with most publisher pricing schemes.

And since self-publishing, institutional publishing, and open access publishing are so accessible, it may be that we're seeing the publishing industry white-knuckling it at this point, clinging to a system that is on its way out. It was nice (for them) while it lasted.

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