The Cost of Knowledge: Academic Journal Pricing and Research Dissemination

49 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2024

See all articles by Yonghong An

Yonghong An

Department of Economics, Texas A&M University

Michael Williams

Berkeley Research Group, LLC

Mo Xiao

University of Arizona - Eller College of Management - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 10, 2024

Abstract

The research community is deeply concerned about the high prices of academic journals and restrictions on access to published research. To evaluate the effects of these barriers, we compile a comprehensive database of articles, journals, and publishers in three major academic fields (economics, physics and electronic engineering). To identify the effects of increasing prices and publishers’ market power, we exploit variations in publishers' product portfolios that do not directly affect an article's outcome. In addition, we inquire into university-publisher contracts and the timing of journals moving out of publisher paywalls to investigate the inner workings of these barriers. Elevated prices and substantial publisher power significantly diminish the volume of article citations and collaborative research. While these barriers operate somewhat differently across academic fields, the hindrance effects consistently prove more pronounced for lower-ranked institutions and developing countries.

Keywords: Academic Publishing; Knowledge Dissemination, Market Power

JEL Classification: L1, L13, L31

Suggested Citation

An, Yonghong and Williams, Michael A. and Xiao, Mo, The Cost of Knowledge: Academic Journal Pricing and Research Dissemination (January 10, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4691124 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4691124

Yonghong An (Contact Author)

Department of Economics, Texas A&M University ( email )

Department of Economics
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States

HOME PAGE: http://yonghongan.org

Michael A. Williams

Berkeley Research Group, LLC

2200 Powell St
#1200
Emeryville, CA 94608
United States

Mo Xiao

University of Arizona - Eller College of Management - Department of Economics ( email )

McClelland Hall
P.O. Box 210108
Tucson, AZ AZ 85721-0108
United States
5206097649 (Phone)

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