Academic publishers: The original enshittificationists | by Matt Wall | Apr, 2024 | Medium

peter.suber's bookmarks 2024-04-14


"This concept of enshittification is why Google search sucks now, why your Facebook feed is full of bullshit ads, why there are so many weird porn bots on Twitter, and so on. Once users are locked in, platforms are free to degrade their product, in order to extract more revenue from their advertising customers.

It occurred to me that academic publishers also fit this model quite well, and in fact have been playing the enshittification game for decades. A lot has been written about the evils of academic publishing, but for those readers who may not be aware the business model goes like this: Researchers (mostly funded by public money from government grants) do scientific research. The researchers then give the results of their work to academic journals for free. Other researchers then work (also, for free) to do peer reviews of the papers, which the publishers print in journals and sell back to universities and other organisations, at a massive profit. In fact in recent years, with the advent of ‘open-access’ journals, the researchers often pay (eye-wateringly high fees) to the journal to publish their research as well....

So, I think the enshittification model works quite well here. First publishers were good to their users (the researchers). “We’ll publish your paper for free and all your peers and rivals can read it and be awed at your brilliance!” Sounds great. Then they exploit their users — in this case it’s for free labour in performing peer-review of other’s papers and in charging high open-access fees. Then they exploit their business customers (the universities and institutions that buy subscriptions to the journals) by massively hiking up prices to levels that the richest universities in the world say are no longer affordable...."


From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) » peter.suber's bookmarks

Tags: oa.publishers oa.profits oa.business_models oa.economics_of

Date tagged:

04/14/2024, 12:21

Date published:

04/14/2024, 08:22