A Journal is a Club: A New Economic Model for Scholarly Publishing
24 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2016
Date Written: April 12, 2016
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: Suggested Citation