Mergers and acquisitions of commercial scholarly publishers over the last fifteen years has led to market dominance by a small number of publishers. This increased concentration in the publishing industry has been accompanied by soaring inflation rates. From 1996 to 2005, average serials prices have inflated 167% compared to the consumer price index for this same time period which rose 78%. (See Monograph and Serials Expenditures (PDF), compiled by ARL, for more details.)
This chart indicates the consolidation of control among commercial scholarly publishers illustrating that more than 40 major publishers are now controlled by six entities. (PDF version of chart)
|Reed Elsevier||Taylor & Francis Informa||Wolters Kluwer||Candover & Cinven||Wiley Blackwell||Verlagsgruppe George von Holtzbrinck|
|~1800 journals||~1000 journals||~275 journals||~1350 journals||~1250 journals||~70 journals|
|Academic Press||AA Balkema||Lippincott Williams & Wilkins||Kluwer||A.R. Liss||Nature Publishing/ Macmillan|
|Cell Press||BIOS Scientific Publishers||Adis International||Springer||GIT Verlag||Scientific American|
|Congressional Information Service||CRC Press||Scripta Technica||WH Freeman|
|Elsevier||Curzon Press||VCH||Bedford, Freeman Worth|
|Engineering Information||Gordon & Breach||Wiley|
|Excerpta Medica||Harwood Academic||Interscience|
|Harcourt||Marcel Dekker||Blackwell Publishing|
|Morgan Kaufmann||Routledge||Blackwell Publishing Asia|
|Mosby||Swets Zeitlinger||Blackwell Synergy|
|Pergamon Press||Taylor & Francis||Munksgaard|
|Urban & Fischer||Garland Science|
Source: The Academic Publishing Industry: A Story of Merger and Acquisition. Profiles some twelve publishers of scholarly journals and books.
Journal Pricing and Mergers (PDF)
Mark McCabe of Georgia Tech investigates how "commercial firms have aggressively raised prices at a rate disproportionate to any increase in costs or quality."
Libraries in the Marketplace: Antitrust issues in Scholarly Publishing
From the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Presents information on efforts to "encourage state and federal antitrust enforcement agencies to adopt a new standard for antitrust review for publisher mergers."
Information Access Alliance
This organization examines merger transactions in the serials publishing industry. They have produced a number of resources related to this issue including Publisher Mergers: A Consumer-Based Approach to Antitrust Analysis (PDF), which examines how increased concentration in the publishing industry, particularly in science, technology, and medicine (STM), has lead to significant price increases and a Frequently Asked Questions document.