February 1, 2000

Tackling the journal crisis; when authors pay with money instead of copyrights

CPB: Elektronische publicatie Publishers: Caught in the web?

Press release
Raken uitgevers in het Web verstrikt? Ze worden er in ieder geval wel door opgeschrikt. Elektronische mogelijkheden kunnen leiden tot een uitholling van de rol van uitgeverijen, bijvoorbeeld doordat auteurs of musici hun producten zelf uitgeven.

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The journal crisis is a logical result of the current set-up of the market. Publishers who obtain copyrights on high-quality papers (their most important input) are able to charge monopoly prices, since papers are not interchangeable like jars of peanut butter. Recent changes in ICT enable a reform of this market setup. If the government wants to fundamentally tackle the journal crisis it could target policy at the limitation of access: publishers' copyrights on scientific papers. When copyrights are made ineffective by placing them in the hands of an independent institute, and authors pay publishers with money instead of copyrights, a competitive system of scientific publishing and free access to scientific papers can result.


Maarten Cornet
Ben Vollaard