The obscene profits of commercial scholarly publishers - News - Bubblews
"In an article that many of you will now have seen, Heather Morrison demonstrated the enormous profits of STM (Scientific, Technical and Medical) scholarly publishers. The figures are taken from her in-progress dissertation which in turn cites an article in The Economist. It all checks out. I emphasise this because I found the figures so hard to believe. Here they are again: profits as a percentage of revenue for commercial STM publishers in 2010 or early 2011 ... What does it all mean? Yes, publishers have a right to make a living. Not only that, but they have a right to make as big a profit as the market can bear (though of course when they form a cartel that distorts the market monopolistically, that changes things). But here’s what it means to scientists that Elsevier’s profit is 35.74% of revenue: When you pay $37.95 to download a PDF from an Elsevier journal, $13.56 of that goes straight into the pockets of Elsevier shareholders. When you pay $3000 to have your submission to an Elsevier journal appear as open access, $1072.20 of that goes straight into the pockets of Elsevier shareholders. When your library pays $1.7m for a bundle of Elsevier-journal subscriptions, $607,580 of that goes straight into the pockets of Elsevier shareholders. When you or your library pays Elsevier $23783 for any reason, that is enough for them fund Representative Caroline Maloney’s $8500 bribe to co-sponsor the evil Research Works Act, out of their profits alone. You just have to ask yourself whether that’s where you want your money going."