Academic publishing has reached oligopoly status, uMontreal study concludes

June 12, 2015

A new study led by Vincent Larivière of the University of Montreal concludes that consolidation of academic publishers has led to an oligopoly. In 1973, the top five publishers published 20% of all academic papers; by 2006, this figure had risen to 50%. The social sciences have the highest level of consolidation, with 70% of papers published by the top five publishers; in the humanities, the figure is 20%. Noting that large commercial publishers have profit margins of nearly 40%, Larivière said that “it is questionable whether [publishers] are still necessary in today’s digital era.” Inside Higher Ed | Full Study