Amazon’s disruption of traditional publishing has been has been covered in the press and blogosphere ad nauseam. But a less visible, though equally disruptive, change is happening in another area of traditional publishing: academic publishing.
The traditional academic publishers, such as Elsevier have had nice little
scam business model going for them. University professors and graduate students conduct research, often paid for by a combination of government funding, student tuition and grants from charitable organizations. They publish their results in peer-reviewed journals and receive nothing in return. These journals are then sold back to the same universities at outrageous prices, reportedly as much as $40,000 per year for a single journal subscription, running into the millions for a university library.