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RE: Monopolies

Jim, I'm not sure what you consider price-gouging but take a look at the
thread on Nature price increases from the LIS E-Journal archives
(http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A1=ind0405&L=lis-e-journals) .
Here is one sample: "we've just received our quote for the renewal of the
majority of our Nature e-journals. I was rather shocked to discover that
the price increase across the 14 titles was nearly 75% on last year."

Maybe not all publishers are doing this but many of the ones who are in
highest demand feel that they can.  That may not fit your definition of a
monopoly but it feels like one from my point of view.

David L. Osterbur, Ph.D. 
BioLabs Library 
Harvard University

-----Original Message-----
[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of James A.
Sent: Tuesday, June 08, 2004 7:39 PM
Subject: Re: Monopolies 


If I remember my Econ-101 correctly, the theory behind free markets is
basically that people pay for resources which a) they able to afford and
b) they believe are sold at a worthwhile price (note I do not write "fair
price").  Unless pop-culture theory has corrupted my memory (strong
possibility), the theory of free markets also states that a monopoly
doesn't exist as long as others may reasonably enter the market, usually
with either reduced prices or a superior product in order to gain market
share.  I don't believe a monolithic monopoly exists right now. My
department works with many organizations who are not, as far as I can see,
price-gouging or stifling competition.  In fact, from my point of view,
there are very strong market forces at work, and have been for a long

The entire point behind Open Access (as you've certainly supported via
BMC) is to reduce the price to the consumer (readers) in an attempt to
gain market share (more readers), drawing that market away from the
current large publishers. The debate is whether or not the producers
(author + publishers) believe the model is worthwhile, and whether or not
two believe they can reach their desired goals (be it the dissemination of
the research or profit) and stay in business (performing research or
publishing it).


James A. Robinson                       jim.robinson@stanford.edu