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August 2011

Rupert Murdoch, a socialist of the publishing world? You had better believe it. It is good to see that the Guardian has reported who the real pirates and racketeers are in the publishing arena, namely the academic publishers. In his article “Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist” George Monbiot reports that the monopolistic racket that the academic publisher run make “Walmart look like a corner shop and Rupert Murdoch a socialist”. According to Monbiot, the late Robert Maxwell made most of his profit from academic publishing! and not the gutter press and page three girls.

The case that many academic publishers push in relation to their high costs is that they “add value”, however according to research carried out by Deutsche Bank the actual value add is very little. This is something that authors have known for a long time. The control the academic publishers wield over academic and research institutions is astounding. Even now that the open access movement is well underway we are still standing at the edge of the moat and the drawbridge to the academic publisher’s castle is still up. Throw someone a fiver (or £31.50) and they may lower it just for you, but only you.

Perhaps as the article suggests, someone should take this to the ACCC - Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. At least there is still one difference between Murdoch and the academic publishers, they are not in the business of phone hacking; yet.