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Electronic Publishing in Radiology: Economics and the Future


Electronic Publishing in Radiology: Economics and the Future

Felix S Chew et al. J Am Coll Radiol.


Scholarly publishing is a large market involving thousands of peer-reviewed journals but a decreasing number of publishers. An economic model can be described in which authors give their work to publishers who then sell access to this work. Because each published article is a unique work with few if any substitutes, publishers have some degree of monopoly power and can price their products accordingly. The advent of desktop publishing using personal computers made it possible for individuals to publish material without publishers, an activity that gained momentum when the publishing medium shifted from paper to electronic, and from electronic publishing to the Internet. This activity destabilized the industry, and in the rush to gain market share by providing free content, unsustainable business models were created. Scholarly publishing is now dominated by a small number of multinational corporations that acquired many smaller publishing operations. As these companies have exercised their monopoly power, an open access movement has gained traction in which authors (or their institutions) initially pay for publication, but readers have free and open access to the published articles. This movement is in diametric opposition to the commercial publishing model, and it remains to be seen whether and how well the two can coexist in the future.

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