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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.

I totally agree that there are specific vendors who may be operating in a
manner not considered fair or reasonable to the consumers.  What I wrote
regarding price-gouging was:

  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.

I was trying to say is that that my particular experience, which is with a
wide array of publishers who work with HighWire Press, does not indicate
to me that such behavior is endemic to the industry. Of course, I'm only a
software developer (as an aside to Joe Esposito, I wanted to point out
that I happen to be a 29 year developer; alas I have no piercings nor

The scope of my diatribe was off the mark, as David Goodman pointed out
later on.  I was arguing, to the wind I suppose, that as a whole the
industry cannot reasonably considered a monopoly -- there are many
vendors, there are many pricing options. There is no unreasonable barrier
to prevent competition from entering the market in general.

When you narrow the focus down to a single company or a single article,
naturally one has to agree that it is a monopoly. I just don't see the
point of that argument when discussing free-market in general. It's like
arguing that because someone wants a super-fast sports car, it is unfair
that there are only a handful of vendors who hold a monopoly on the
domain. If one ones something which is exclusive by nature, one has four
choices: agree to the vendor's prices, disagree and walk away, negotiate,
or enter the market yourself.  The publishing world is seeing a lot of the
last two vis-a-vis the self-publishing and OA arguments.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
James A. Robinson                       jim.robinson@stanford.edu
Stanford University HighWire Press      http://highwire.stanford.edu/
650-723-7294 (W) 650-725-9335 (F)