Almost all scientific publications are controlled by six companies

Import: Scientific research publications are one of the most important tools that a researcher can use to promote and disseminate his work, to receive constructive criticism and to recognize his efforts. And with the term "his work" we refer to all that of innovations, inventions and discoveries that stem from scientific research and aspire to be the basis of progress and culture.

And yet, as long as we can not deny that the research activity has received impressive growth in the last 100 years with the similar impact on everyday life in all areas, we can not deny that the framework for scientific publications with that which existed only shortly after the middle of the last century. What changed in the meantime?

Οι μεγαλύτερες και σημαντικότερες αλλαγές στη δημοσίευσης των επιστημονικών εργασιών αφορούν την διαχείρισή αυτών από τους εκδοτικούς οίκους. Σήμερα, όπως τεκμηριώνεται με αριθμητικά στοιχεία, η πλειονότητα της παγκόσμιας βιβλιογραφίας ελέγχεται (καθώς οι συγγραφείς υπογράφουν μεταβίβαση των δικαιωμάτων προκειμένου να δημοσιευτεί η εργασία τους) από μόλις έξι μεγάλους εκδοτικούς οίκους (ACS, Sage, Taylor & Francis, Springer, Elsevier, Wiley). Η πρόσβαση στην εκάστοτε εργασία επιτρέπεται από τον εκδοτικό οίκο σε μέλη που πληρώνουν ετήσια συνδρομή και σε μη-μέλη με κατ' αποκοπή πληρωμή.

The result of this policy is the loss of free access to scientific research, while at the same time high profits for such firms as they publish a huge volume of literature without incurring costs / percentages of writers and evaluators. It should be noted that the largest proportion of this scientific research has been funded and continues to be funded by governmental and non-governmental organizations to promote know-how, research methodology and therapies in medicine.

Thus, the objectives of research funding agencies are in direct contrast to the policies of publishing houses. Awareness of these contradictions has led members of the scientific community to found new publishers such as,, Ms., who develop one open access approach in which authors or research funding organizations pay a one-time fee to make their work freely accessible to the entire scientific community. Although the open access current is gaining more and more in the scientific community, the great volume of the literature remains in the hands of the six.

Vassilis Kokkinos

Electrical Engineer, MSc, PhD

Almost all scientific publications are controlled by only six companies

(Republish with translation from: YourNewsWire, "Nearly All Scientific Papers Controlled By Same Six Corporations"Posted on July 20, 2015, by Sean Adl-Tabatabai in Sci / Environment)

Only six companies control the flow of scientific information, as revealed in a new study in Canada. As all scientific journals, from the 1970 decade and beyond, are controlled by these same few companies.

The researchers examined the scientific literature published between 1973 and 2013 and found that the companies ACS, Reed Elsevier, Legend, Taylor & Francis, Springer in the upcoming years, while Wiley-Blackwell they control almost all of their publications, each one of them.

βλ. PLOS, Research Article, "The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era"(The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Age), Vincent Lariviere, Stefanie Haustein, Philippe Mongeon, Published: June 10, 2015, DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0127502
Summary: The integration of the scientific publishing industry has been the subject of much debate within and outside the scientific community, especially in relation to the high profit margins of major publishers. However, the share of scientific production published in the journals of these major publishers, as well as its evolution over time in various industries, has not yet been analyzed. This paper provides such an analysis, based on 45 million articles posted on the Web of Science during the period 1973-2013. This shows that in both the natural and medical sciences (NMS) and the social sciences and humanities (SSH), the publishers / companies Reed-Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Springer, and Taylor & Francis have increased their share in published production, especially after the advent of the digital age (mid-1990s). Taken together, the top five publishers account for more than 50% of all work published in 2013. The social science sector has the highest concentration (70% of articles from the top five publishers), while the humanities have remained relatively independent (20% of the top five publishers). NMS industries are somewhere in between these percentages, mainly due to the strength of their scientific communities, such as the ACS (American Chemical Society). ) in chemistry or APS (American Physical Society ) in physics. This research also examines the migration of magazines between small and large publishers and explores the effect of publisher change on referrals, ie on the influence factor[*]. It ends with a discussion about the financial elements that exist in the educational edition…. (the continuation in the survey summary in English)

[*] Ο influencing factor (impact factor, IF an academic journal (academic journal) is a measure reflecting the average number of referrals (quotes) in recent articles published in this magazine. It is often used as a substitute for the relative importance of a magazine in its field, with journals having higher incidence factors being considered to be more important than those with lower ones. The influence factor was invented by Eugene Garfield, his founder Institute for Scientific Information. Influencing factors are calculated annually, starting with 1975 for journals listed in Journal Citation Reports.

Many of the smaller publishers have been absorbed by major publishers / businesses, for example, and academic research teams have become more and more indebted to the interests of these major publishers, who tend to favor major industries such as the medicinal products and vaccines.

Much of the independence that has once been valuable within the scientific community has virtually gone, as these big publishers have taken control of them and now they even dictate what types of content will be published. The result is a publishing oligopoly in which scientists are silenced by a primordial tendency towards politically correct and a "science" that must have the industry's favor to move forward.

"In general, these major commercial publishing companies control more than half of the science market in both the physical and medical sciences as well as in the social and human sciences"Said the professor Vincent Lariviere, lead author of studies from the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Montreal.

"In addition, large commercial publishers have huge sales, with profit margins reaching almost 40%. While it is true that publishers have played a vital role in disseminating scientific knowledge at the time of paper publishing, it is very doubtful whether they are still necessary in the digital age of today".

The following infographic from Natural News depicts the alarming prevalence of this oligarchy in academic publications / publications:

βλ. Academic oligarchs: Majority of science publishing is controlled by just six companies

Six major publishing companies control the fields of chemistry, psychology and social sciences

The fields that are the most controlled by this academic oligarchy include those dealing with chemistry, psychology, social sciences, and professional fields. On the other hand, biomedical research, physics, the arts and the humanities are affected to a lesser extent by these six corporate publishers, according to the study.

This means that, over time, some sciences have become more corrupt than others since they have already been absorbed by embracing corporate publications. Such content, though often not high, is extremely profitable for publishers who not only have to pay for the articles they publish but also resell this content digitally with a profit margin above 40%.

"While publishing in highly influential scientific journals is a requirement for researchers to obtain academic and other guarantees, to obtain funding for research and to recognize them from other colleagues, large commercial publishers will retain their sovereignty in the academic publishing system"Adds Lariviere.

Publishing / Publishing through one of the "Big Six" corporate magazines does not add value, the study notes

Does the publication in prestigious journals really make a big difference in the article's exposure to the scientific community and the amount of references to it? Not really, researchers find. Their range is about the same, they found, in addition to the fact that small publishers are less likely to actively promote a special agenda of interest and are therefore less likely to censor science that does not correspond to their official line.

"One would expect that obtaining a magazine from a major publisher would result in an increase in the magazine's visibility"Said Lariviere. "However, our study shows that there is no clear increase in terms of references / referrals after switching from a small to a large publisher".

"Our findings question the real added value of major publishers. Ultimately, the question is whether the services provided to the scientific community by these publishers can justify an increase in the share of funding from universities, which has actually passed on their own hands".

A study reveals the downward effect of the high influence of magazines

(Republish with translation from: UdeMNouvelles, "The study reveals the declining influence of Mercredi's high impact factor journals,, 07 November 2012 12:02 News, Home> English> News)

The world's most prestigious journals, such as Cell, Nature, Sience and the American Medical Association (JAMA), have less and less influence among scientists, according to a research co-author is Vincent Lariviere, a professor at the University of Montreal at the School of Librarianship and Scientific Information Systems. The research questions the relationship between the influence of magazines and the number of references / referrals post-post from other papers / publications.

"1990, 45% of 5% of the top most cited articles, were published in the top 5% of the highest influential magazines. 2009, this percentage was just 36%"Said Lariviere. "This means that the most cited articles are published almost exclusively in magazines with a high influence factor". The percentage of these articles published in major scientific journals declined sharply over the past twenty years. The study was based on a sample of more than 820 million bibliographic references and in 25 million articles published between 1902 and 2009. The findings were published [pdf file 14 pages in English] in the Journal of the American Society for Information Technology and Technology (JASIST).

For each year analyzed in the study, Lariviere evaluated the strength of the relationship between article references two years after publication in relation to the journal's influence factor. He then compared the percentage of the most cited articles published in journals with the highest factors in the influence factor. "Using various measures, the aim was to see if the "smart" power of the factor to the influence on the references received by the articles has changed over the years."Said Lariviere. "From 1902 to 1990, great findings were reported for major magazines"Says Lariviere. But this relationship is now less true today.

Lariviere and his colleagues George Lozano and Yves Gingras from UQAM's Observatoire des sciences et des technologies also found that the decline in the high impact factor of magazines began in the early 90s, when the internet experienced rapid growth within the scientific community. "Digital technology has changed the way researchers learn about scientific texts. History tells us that we have subscribed to magazines from time to time. The magazines were the main source for the articles and we could not avoid the big magazines"Says Lariviere. "But from its appearance Google Scholar, για παράδειγμα, η διαδικασία ς πληροφοριών έχει αλλάξει εντελώς. Οι παρέχουν πρόσβαση σε όλα τα άρθρα, έστω και αν αυτά δεν έχουν δημοσιευθεί σε έγκριτα επιστημονικά περιοδικά".

The influence factor as a measure of the influence of a magazine was developed in the 1960 decade by Eugene Garfield, one of the founders of the book. "This is essentially the average number of times that a magazine's articles refer to a two-year period"Explains Lariviere.
"Initially, this index was used to help libraries decide which magazines to subscribe. But over time, it has also been used to evaluate researchers and determine the value of their editions". The importance of the influence factor is so deeply rooted in the collective consciousness of the academic community that researchers themselves use the influence factor to decide which journals their articles will submit for publication.

Several scholars have criticized the use of the influence factor as a measure of the projection of an academic journal. A common critique is that the pointer contains a basic calculation error. "References from all types of articles published by a magazine are calculated"Says Lariviere,"but they are only divided by the number of articles and research reports (and not by the number of all articles). Thus the influence factor is overestimated for journals that publish a large part of editorials, letters to editorial, and scientific news rather than scientific papers, as do the magazines Science and Nature".

Another criticism is that the timeframe in which reports are calculated when calculating the influence factor is very short. "There are research areas in which the spread of knowledge is quicker than it is in others"Said Lariviere. "We can not, for example, expect to have the same kind of influence factor, the field of engineering as that of biomedical sciences". However, the influence factor of the journals is calculated for a fixed period, up to two years after publication of the articles, irrespective of the field or branch of science to which they refer.

Τα αποτελέσματα της έρευνας αποκαλύπτουν μερικά ενδιαφέροντα σημεία. Από τη μία πλευρά, τα περιοδικά έχουν ολοένα και πιο φτωχές στους αριθμούς των αναφορών σε ένα άρθρο που μπορεί να αναμένουν ότι θα λάβουν. “Not only the predictive capacity of the influence factor has been reduced, but also the influence factor is no longer suitable for the evaluation of the research"Said Lariviere. In his opinion, if we want to evaluate the researchers and their work, it is best to use references, which are a real measure of the effect of an article. "This indicator is more accurate. This is not an assessment based on the magazine hierarchy". On the other hand, research confirms that the dynamics of scientific journals are changing, in particular due to the free access to knowledge made possible and carried out by the Internet.
"So what is the current function of scientific journals?" Lariviere asks. "There is only one of them: peer review,[**]".

[**] Peer review (peer review): Η αξιολόγηση από ομότιμους είναι η αξιολόγηση του έργου από έναν ή περισσότερους με παρόμοια αρμοδιότητα πάνω σε παραγωγούς εργασιών (peers). Αποτελεί μια μορφή αυτο-ρύθμισης από καταρτισμένα μέλη ενός επαγγέλματος ή μιας επιστήμης μέσα στο αντίστοιχο πεδίο. Οι μέθοδοι αξιολόγησης από ομότιμους κριτές χρησιμοποιούνται για τη διατήρηση των προτύπων ποιότητας, τη βελτίωση των επιδόσεων και για να παρέχουν αξιοπιστία. Η ακαδημαϊκή αξιολόγηση από ομότιμους συχνά χρησιμοποιείται για τον προσδιορισμό της καταλληλότητας για δημοσίευση μιας ακαδημαϊκής εργασίας. Η επανεξέταση από ομότιμους μπορείς να κατηγοριοποιηθεί ανάλογα με το είδος της δραστηριότητας και τον τομέα ή το επάγγελμα στο οποίο πραγματοποιείται η δραστηριότητα, πχ., ιατρική αξιολόγηση από ομότιμους (medical peer review).

The University of Montreal is officially known as the Université de Montréal.

For more information:
William Raillant-Clark
International Press Attaché
University of Montreal
Tel: 514-343-7593

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