Do we need to move from communication technology to user community? A new economic model of the journal as a club - Hartley - 2019 - Learned Publishing - Wiley Online Library
peter.suber's bookmarks 2019-01-25
Abstract: Much of the argument around reforming, remaking, or preserving the traditions of scholarly publishing is built on economic principles, explicit or implicit. Can we afford open access (OA)? How do we pay for high‐quality services? Why does it cost so much? In this article, we argue that the sterility of much of this debate is a result of failure to tackle the question of what a journal is in economic terms. We offer a way through by demonstrating that a journal is a club and discuss the implications for the scholarly publishing industry. We use examples, ranging from OA to prestige journals, to explain why congestion is a problem for club‐based publications, and to discuss the importance of creative destruction for the maintenance of knowledge‐generating communities in publishing.
The justification for open access (OA) remains founded on scientific rather than economic principles.
The rationale for using outsourced specialists (publishers) has shifted from the costs of production (print era) through those of dissemination (desktop era) to those of scale (internet era).
Hopeful predictions about OA have missed the mark or otherwise been frustrated, we believe, by a misunderstanding of the basic economics of scholarly journals.
A scholarly journal is a club where a group of scholars works together to understand their domain and share common language and knowledge as markers of insider/outsider status.
The most effective journals operate as clubs, providing frameworks and protocols for the production of knowledge and the creation of trust within a specialized community...."