[Irtalk] On the marginal cost of scholarly communication | read.science.ai

Hilton Gibson hilton.gibson at gmail.com
Mon Dec 28 13:31:40 SAST 2015

*We assessed the marginal cost of scholarly communication from the
perspective of an agent looking to start an independent, peer-reviewed
scholarly journal. We found that various vendors can accommodate all of the
services required for scholarly communication for a price ranging between
$69 and $318 per article. In contrast, if an agent had access to software
solutions replacing the services provided by vendors, the marginal cost of
scholarly communication would be reduced to the cloud infrastructure cost
alone and drop to between $1.36 and $1.61 per article.* Incidentally, DOI
registration alone accounts for between 82% and 98% of this cost. While
vendor cost typically decreases with higher volume, new offerings in cloud
computing exhibit the opposite trend, challenging the notion that large
volume publishers benefit from economies of scales as compared to smaller
publishers. Given the current lack of software solutions fulfilling the
functions of scholarly communication, we conclude that the development of
high quality “plug-and-play” open source software solutions would have a
significant impact in reducing the marginal cost of scholarly
communication, making it more open to experimentation and innovation.


*​Also see:
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