The following tweet was sent in response to my previous post by Tom Reller, Elsevier, @TomReller
Incorrect. That’s the number for the parent company – 4 total businesses, not just Elsevier. Best I can tell its comparable to saying Foodstuffs has the same operating profit as its parent company, Progressive Enterprises.
Which is an entirely fair call. So, I have asked him to provide the percentage profits to the group from subscription scholarly publishing and APCs.
Keen readers of this blog will know that I am not opposed to complementary business models in scholarly publishing, but I do have a position on superprofits, as an inefficiency in the system. I have also written about the ethical issues behind pay-to-publish models. Elsevier indulge in both of these practices.
On a personal note, I tend to think that subscription publishers are, in general, trying to achieve the same thing as OA publishers are – the best dissemination of the world’s new knowledge possible. Closed Access (CA) publishers provide amazing levels of support for their authors – and that level of support is something a lot of OA publishers need to find a way of funding, especially with books.
CA publishers though are on the waning, unsustainable, side of changing set of business models. The effects of scale have meant they have done very well financially, but exactly the same technologies, and their decreasing cost for provision and maintenance, mean that free-to-read-free-to-publish OA will become an increasingly better solution for scholarly publishing.
Its the dialectic, innit?