nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2024‒04‒15
three papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström, Axventure AB

  1. Against predatory publishing: the IAP report results By Minh Ha-Duong
  2. Beyond paywalls and paid prestige: the ethical minefield of contemporary scientific dissemination By Souza, Bruno Rezende
  3. The 'Must Stock' Challenge in Academic Publishing: Pricing Implications of Transformative Agreements By W. Benedikt Schmal

  1. By: Minh Ha-Duong (CIRED - Centre International de Recherche sur l'Environnement et le Développement - Cirad - Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AgroParisTech - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - Université Paris-Saclay - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: The problem of predatory academic publishing is that many journals and conferences pretend to have scientific standards but, in reality, have only financial motivations. They will publish anything as long as the author pays for it. Too many researchers, under the pressure of "publish or perish, "
    Date: 2023–05–05
  2. By: Souza, Bruno Rezende (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais)
    Abstract: Scientific publishing has become a complex economic engine intertwined with prestige and power. While publicly funded research fuels prestigious journals owned by private entities, the success of scientists and institutions becomes intimately tied to a cycle of increasing publication costs and limited access. The initial section of this article employs a satirical analogy, drawing parallels between the scientific publishing industry and the familiar framework of social media platforms. It offers a succinct historical overview, elucidating the progression of the present publishing structure. The final section delves into the paradoxical realities of this system. (1) Nation-funded research, public players, private profits: Public institutions and nation-states fuel research, but publishers reap the financial benefits through copyright ownership and inflated Article Processing Charges (APCs); (2) The prestige trap: Journals become platforms for constructing and maintaining scientific authority, with citation counts fueling the cycle of high prices and exclusivity; (3) Higher prices, more visibility: The APCs add a layer of financial burden, hindering access for researchers, especially from developing countries. This article proposes potential solutions such as leveraging existing models. Platforms like arXiv demonstrate sustainable open-access models, relying on voluntary contributions and community engagement. Integrating scientist-driven peer review within open-access frameworks can create a more equitable and accessible system, empowering the scientific community. The future of scientific publishing demands a shift towards transparency, affordability, and open access. By disentangling the economic web and prioritizing open access and transparency, we can create a more equitable and sustainable future for scientific publishing, ensuring that knowledge truly serves its intended purpose – to benefit humanity as a whole.
    Date: 2024–03–08
  3. By: W. Benedikt Schmal
    Abstract: The high relevance of top-notch academic journals turns them into 'must stock' products that assign its often commercial owners with extraordinary market power. Intended to tackle this, university consortia around the globe negotiate so-called 'transformative agreements' with many publishing houses. It shall pave the way towards standard open-access publishing. While several contract designs exist, the 'publish-and-read' (PAR) scheme is the one that comes closest to the ideal of an entirely open access environment: Publishers are paid a fixed case-by-case rate for each publication, which includes a fee for their extensive libraries. In turn, all subscription payments are waived. I theoretically derive that this contract design benefits the included publishers regardless of whether the number of publications in these publishers' journals grows or declines. Consequently, widespread PAR contracts are likely to raise entry barriers for new (open-access) competitors even further. Intending to lower costs for the universities, their libraries, and, ultimately, the taxpayers, this PAR fee contract design of transformative agreements might cause the opposite.
    Date: 2024–03

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