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

24 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2016

See all articles by Jason Potts

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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