Wiley buys Blackwell: Growing dysfunction in the journal market

[Thanks to Peter Suber]
The ARL has published an Issue Brief on Wiley’s acquisition of Blackwell, February 26, 2007.  Excerpt:

This document briefly outlines the growing dysfunction in the journal market resulting from the exercise of market power by an ever-shrinking group of large commercial publishers….

This planned consolidation within an already concentrated market immediately raised concerns within the library community….

Libraries have observed significant dysfunctions in the scholarly journal market place for some time.

  • Costs for resources continue the trend of past decades in rising well in excess of background inflation. Numerous studies have documented that journals from the largest commercial publishers cost many times more than comparable journals from not-for-profit publishers. In addition, prices rise more rapidly following large acquisitions.
  • A spiral of rising prices and ongoing market concentration squeezes out support for small society journals.
  • It is very difficult for other publishers to start new scholarly journals in the current marketplace.
  • The advent of electronic journal formats and large publisher bundles have increased the ability of merging companies to exercise market power to raise prices and direct compensatory cancellations onto other publishers’ journals….

History shows that mergers of large journal publishers lead to price increases….

Elsevier, Springer, Wiley/Blackwell, and Taylor & Francis […] control more than half of the market for STM journals. (Fettdruck durch mich)

Im weiteren ruft die ARL die Fachgesellschaften auf, die ihre Titel bei Blackwell verlegen lassen, sich genau anzuschauen, was Wiley ihnen bietet und im Falle der reinen Profitorientierung den Verlag zu wechseln. Leider ist es nur allzu wahrscheinlich, dass die meisten Fachgesellschaften gerade wegen der Profitorientierung bei Blackwell gelandet sind …