Market Forces in the Open Access Market and the Commodity Status of Scholarly Articles

Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay.
Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay.

While some scholars argue that researchers and scientists, as authors of scholarly articles, act as consumers in the market of article processing charges (APCs) that characterize the Open Access publishing sector, with regard to the supply and demand forces that apply to scientific outputs as commodities the picture can be more complicated.


On the one hand, Shaun Yon-Seng Khoo, in his relatively recent article on the APCs published in 2019, has noted that scholarly journals flipping to Open Access do not experience a significant reduction in their volumes of published articles. On the other hand, this researcher has discovered that, for a sample of 319 Open Access journals, this indicates not only the price insensitivity of scholarly authors vis-à-vis APCs, but also a positive association between APC levels and journal-level article output.

Yet these findings can also be interpreted in terms of the relationship that scholarly authors maintain with scientific articles as market commodities, in relation to which they act as producers and publishers operate as service providers and value chain participants, so that the interplay of supply and demand forces is not necessarily occurring between scholars and publishing houses, but between libraries and readers, on the one side, and agents that make books and articles available to the general public either via closed-access frameworks or in Open Access, on the other side.

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay.


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