The Economics of Open-Access Journals
Mark J. McCabe
Boston University - Questrom School of Business; University of Michigan - School of Information; SKEMA Business School Sophia Antipolis Nice
Christopher M. Snyder
Dartmouth College - Department of Economics
The move from traditional to open-access journals - which charge no reader fees, only author fees - is gaining support in academia. We analyze a two-sided-market model in which journals cannot commit to subscription fees when authors (who prefer low subscription fees because this boosts readership) make submission decisions. This leads to a hold-up problem, manifested as excessive subscription fees. Open access is a crude attempt to avoid hold up by eliminating subscription fees. We compare the efficiency and profitability of traditional versus open access under various market structures (monopoly, Bertrand competition) and extensions (non-profit journals, bundling, hybrid pricing).
Number of Pages in PDF File: 49
Keywords: open access, scholarly journal, two-sided market, competition
JEL Classification: L14, L82, D40, L31
Date posted: July 14, 2006 ; Last revised: October 24, 2014
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