Monopoly On Scientific Papers
August 31, 2015
If you work in the academic community this headline from Your News Wire shouldn’t come as a surprise: “Nearly All Scientific Papers Controlled By Same Six Corporations.” A group of researchers studied scientific papers published between 1973-2013 and discovered that six major publishers ruled the industry: Wiley-Blackwell, Springer, Taylor & Francis, Sage, Reed Elsevier, and ACS. During the specified time period, it was found that the larger ones absorbed smaller publishers. Another, more startling, fact came to light as well: academic research groups must rely more and more on the main six publishers’ interests if they want to get their research published.
“Much of the independence that was once cherished within the scientific community, in other words, has gone by the wayside as these major publishers have taken control and now dictate what types of content get published. The result is a publishing oligopoly in which scientists are muzzled by and overarching trend toward politically correct, and industry-favoring, ‘science.’”
The six publishers publish subjects that benefit their profit margin and as a direct result they influence major scientific fields. Fields concerning chemistry, social sciences, and psychology are the most influenced by the publishers. This leads to corruption in the above disciplines and researchers are limited by studies that will deliver the most profits to the publishers. The main six publishers can also publish the papers digitally for a 40% profit margin.
There is good news. The study did find that publishing a paper via a smaller venue does not affect its reach. It also has the added benefit of the smaller venue not pushing a special interest agenda. The real question is are big publishers even needed in a digital age anymore?