A Journal is a Club: A New Economic Model for Scholarly Publishing

24 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2016  

Jason Potts

RMIT University

John Hartley

Curtin University

Lucy Montgomery

Curtin University

Cameron Neylon

Curtin University

Ellie Rennie

Swinburne University of Technology

Date Written: April 12, 2016

Abstract

A new economic model for analysis of scholarly publishing — journal publishing in particular — is proposed that draws on club theory. The standard approach builds on market failure in the private production (by research scholars) of a public good (new scholarly knowledge). In that model publishing is communication, as the dissemination of information. But a club model views publishing differently: namely as group formation, where members form groups in order to confer externalities on each other, subject to congestion. A journal is a self-constituted group, endeavouring to create new knowledge. In this sense ‘a journal is a club’. The knowledge club model of a journal seeks to balance the positive externalities due to a shared resource (readers, citations, referees) against negative externalities due to crowding (decreased prospect of publishing in that journal). A new economic model of a journal as a ‘knowledge club’ is elaborated. We suggest some consequences for the management of journals and financial models that might be developed to support them.

Keywords: club goods, media economics, institutions, economic evolution, externalities, groups

JEL Classification: B52, D71, Z13

Suggested Citation

Potts, Jason and Hartley, John and Montgomery, Lucy and Neylon, Cameron and Rennie, Ellie, A Journal is a Club: A New Economic Model for Scholarly Publishing (April 12, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2763975 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2763975

Jason Potts (Contact Author)

RMIT University ( email )

John Hartley

Curtin University ( email )

Kent Street
Bentley
Perth, WA WA 6102
Australia

Lucy Montgomery

Curtin University ( email )

Kent Street
Bentley
Perth, WA WA 6102
Australia

Cameron Neylon

Curtin University ( email )

Kent Street
Bentley
Perth, WA WA 6102
Australia

Ellie Rennie

Swinburne University of Technology ( email )

Cnr Wakefield and William Streets, Hawthorn Victor
3122 Victoria, Victoria 3122
Australia

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