Introduction by OpenMethods Editor (Joris van Zundert): Open Access has made an impact on the business strategies of major publishing companies, but the effects may turn out to be perverse. Pressed by Open Access to find new revenue models publishing houses have moved to acquire ownership and dominance of academic data infrastructures. This article investigates the strategy of Elsevier to acquire renewed economical gain of academic work.
Over the last few decades, there has been ongoing debate and distress regarding the effects of the journal subscription paywall and the very real barriers to knowledge access that it creates. As major academic publishers invest and redirect their business strategies to open access and alternative paying structures, it may seem as if the access to knowledge battle is starting to be won. However, as big publishers move towards openness they have also been redirecting their business strategies towards the acquisition of scholarly infrastructure, the tools and services that underpin the scholarly research life cycle, many of which are geared towards data analytics. We argue that moves toward increased control over openness and data analytics by big publishers are simultaneous processes of profit maximization.
Original publication date: 20/09/2017.