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Paper 124_elpub2009:
Economic sustainability during transition: the case of scholarly publishing

id 124_elpub2009
authors Dubini, Paola; Elena Giglia
year 2009
title Economic sustainability during transition: the case of scholarly publishing
source ELPUB2009. Rethinking Electronic Publishing: Innovation in Communication Paradigms and Technologies - Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Electronic Publishing held in Milano, Italy 10-12 June 2009 / Edited by: Susanna Mornati and Turid Hedlund. ISBN 978-88-6134-326-6, 2009, pp. 239-262
summary In recent years, Open Access has received increased attention by scholars and practitioners as an alternative paradigm to traditional journals for the publication and diffusion of scholarly publishing. The steady increase in the number of successful Open Access journals shows that the model is a viable alternative in terms both of reputation and visibility; recent studies have also demonstrated its cost-effectiveness. However, the analysis of the sustainability of different models for scholarly publishing needs to take into consideration the existence of network externalities and information asymmetries, that generate two sided markets; the introduction of innovative business models needs to overcome the problem of reaching critical mass both on the readers' and on the authors' market. In this exploratory paper we seek to understand to what extent offering configuration contributes to double market development; we compared twelve peer reviewed scientific journals, selected from different academic disciplines. Within each group we selected a pure Open Access (OA) journal, a journal that converted from Toll Access (TA) to Open Access, a hybrid journal, and a pure traditional TA journal. We mapped the offering characteristics and we classified them in terms of accessibility for the reader, visibility for the author and benefits for researchers; we also added information on the pricing scheme of the journal. Results show a pre-eminence of OA titles in each of the three markets - as they took advantage of the possibilities offered by digitization technologies in a faster and cost effective way -, even though TA journals have been quick in keeping up with the innovative services offered by OA journals; on the other hand, many TA journals still enjoy significant first mover advantage and reputation rent which they can leverage to strengthen their offering. In the asymmetry of the scholarly communication market, competition on the author side is therefore likely to be very strong. The presence in the market of a variety of business models has benefited the research community, as services have increased; the refereeing process is becoming more transparent, high quality contributions have higher chances of being accessed by wider market segments. We did not find a significant correlation between business models and offering configuration, neither between price and offering configuration, nor IF and offering configuration; although wider access has determined an acceleration in the ability of OA journals to reach visibility. As the two business models are likely to be increasingly in direct competition due to scarce financial and reputational resources, we expect that publishers (both OA and TA) will look for specific offering configurations for the different research communities they are targeting. In this transition phase, universities are going to play a key role in orienting the development of offerings of different publishers.
keywords Open Access; Toll Access; E-journals; Sustainability Of Business Models; Two Sided Markets
series ELPUB:2009
type normal paper
email paola.dubini@unibocconi.it
content file.pdf (741,891 bytes)
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urn:nbn urn:nbn:se:elpub-124_elpub2009
last changed 2009/09/08 17:27
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