A Glimpse Behind the Ivy Curtain—Footnote 6

[6] This is not to say that no one profits from these journals. The conglomerates who publish science journals, such as Elsevier, happen to enjoy quite comfortable margins as they charge libraries thousands of dollars for subscriptions that the libraries fear they cannot do without. See for example: “Academic Publishers Make Murdoch Look Like a Socialist,” The Guardian. Frustration with that model is leading some faculty to advocate open-source publishing on the Internet, which is gaining steam, but established journals continue to enjoy advantages of prestige and reputation.

  1. […] Another peculiarity of the academic world is that the vast majority of these publications are essent… Compensation comes indirectly, in the form of tenure, promotion, or merit bonuses from one’s own university (as long as one is on the tenure track…but you guessed that already). Rare is the professor who makes real money from books. Most are happy to sell a few hundred copies in hardback to research libraries.[7] A fortunate minority makes it to paperback. Those books are adopted for course use, and can enjoy lifetime royalties that may even extend into four figures. An even smaller, most fortunate few may actually reach the broader general audience that is referenced in every book proposal ever written. […]

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