Academic oligarchy: Majority of science publishing is controlled by just six companies

Academic oligarchy: Majority of science publishing is controlled by just six companies (Natural News, July 19, 2015):

The flow of science in this modern age is largely controlled by just six corporate publishing groups, which by calculated design have been gobbling up the journal market since at least the 1970s. And a new study out of Canada reveals that this mass consolidation of publishing power is, to a large extent, skewing what passes as scientific progress.

Researchers from the University of Montreal pored through the whole of scientific literature published between 1973 and 2013 and found that the publishing realm has changed dramatically during this time. Many smaller publishers have been absorbed into larger ones, for instance, and academic research groups have become increasingly beholden to the interests of these major publishers, which tend to favor large industries like pharmaceuticals and vaccines.

Much of the independence that was once cherished within the scientific community, in other words, has gone by the wayside as these major publishers have taken control and now dictate what types of content get published. The result is a publishing oligopoly in which scientists are muzzled by and overarching trend toward politically correct, and industry-favoring, “science.”

“Overall, the major publishers control more than half of the market of scientific papers both in the natural and medical sciences and in the social sciences and humanities,” said Professor Vincent Lariviere, lead author of the study from the University of Montreal’s School of Library and Information Science.

“Furthermore, these large commercial publishers have huge sales, with profit margins of nearly 40%. While it is true that publishers have historically played a vital role in the dissemination of scientific knowledge in the print era, it is questionable whether they are still necessary in today’s digital era.”

The following Natural News infographic illustrates the disturbing reach of this academic oligarchy:


Six major publishers control fields of chemistry, psychology and social sciences

The fields most controlled by this academic oligarchy include those dealing with chemistry, psychology, social sciences and the professional fields. On the flip side, biomedical research, physics, and the arts and humanities are influenced to a much lesser degree by these six corporate publishers, according to the study.

What this suggests is that, over time, certain disciplines have become more corrupted than others as they’ve been absorbed into the corporate publishing fold. Such content, though often skewed, is highly profitable for publishers which not only don’t have to pay for the articles they publish but also resell such content digitally at profit margins upwards of 40%.

“As long as publishing in high impact factor journals is a requirement for researchers to obtain positions, research funding, and recognition from peers, the major commercial publishers will maintain their hold on the academic publishing system,” added Lariviere.

Publishing in one of “Big Six” corporate journals doesn’t add value, study finds

But does publishing in high-impact journals really make much of a difference in terms of article exposure and the quantity of citations? Not really, the researchers found. The reach is roughly the same, they found, except that smaller publishers are less likely to be actively promoting a special interest agenda, and are thus less likely censor science that doesn’t correspond with the official narrative.

“One would expect that a major publisher acquiring a journal would have the effect of increasing the latter’s visibility,” said Lariviere. “However, our study shows that there is no clear increase in terms of citations after switching from a small to large publisher.”

“Our findings question the real added value of big publishers. Ultimately, the question is whether the services provided to the scientific community by these publishers warrant the growing share of university budgets allocated to them.”

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1 thought on “Academic oligarchy: Majority of science publishing is controlled by just six companies”

  1. Oh, yes. This is a growing problem. We are losing our integrity in science.
    I guess we have gone about as far as we can go………
    There are so many things going on that are not being acknowledged.
    Fukushima is a big one. Corporate domination of government and media is another. Corporate control of medical care…………….
    When greed replaces truth, it is but a short run to the end.

    I think of the Ancient Egyptians. Recently, they discovered an even more ancient kingdom….currently called the Zero kingdom……I am sure there were others. Why did these great empires vanish? Wars are a constant, but there are other aspects about which we are clueless……
    They had technology we have just begun to reproduce. They had aspirin, something we didn’t rediscover until 1898.
    Their literature, their science………….most is lost.

    Same with Rome. They had hot and cold running water for the rich….while the masses lived in sod huts. Their architecture and building methods were second to none, many of their bridges and roads still survive today. They were wiped out by wars, disease and too much going to just a few……..

    Throughout the Middle Ages, most of man lived in sod huts while a few lived in castles serving the so-called leaders of the nation. The castle life was squalor, they threw straw on the floors with herbs and sweet smelling things like lavender….When the straw got too filthy from human and animal waste, they swept it out and started over. Disease was rampant……

    Next came the birth of a New World, a hope took over western civilization. Man could venture to a new world, and if he worked hard and was brave and strong, he could carve out a good life. Such hope had not been seen in thousands of years.

    Then, came the Age of Enlightenment, the American and French Revolution…..For a while, man could speak about his leadership and persevere. It was a great time, and I wonder if man will ever know such a time again……………

    With the advent of TV and Radio came corporations. Now, they have a stranglehold on every aspect of government and business. Any free enterprise, along with any civil rights has been swallowed up.

    Any area of business that offers any return has been gobbled by a few greedy guts. They are so greedy, they don’t yet realize a strangled economy cannot buy their junk, either. The ongoing malaise we have suffered since 2008 continues to expand.

    Science has been bastardized, just like everything else.
    Orwell and Huxley were spot on……..I sure hope people still read their books.

    As a civilization, we are finished.
    All is over but the collapse.

    Over 95% of man’s history has been spent in sod huts. We have been fortunate to live in the best of times with air conditioning, hot and cold running water, clean food and water, easy mobility, and so many other benefits. Such a pity we will soon lose them all because of the endless greedy destruction wrought by our leaders. Perpetual war (and Fukushima) will end it all for us.


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