Scholarly Publishing: “Publishers and Market Consolidation–Part 2 of 2”
This month we present the second part of some results of big data analysis of the scholarly publishing industry. We look at the latest data sources to tease out information about numbers of publishers and changing patterns in consolidation of the industry.
Last month we examined the large degree of consolidation in journals publishing. We saw that 95% of publishers publish 10 journals or fewer, but account for barely one fifth of articles published. Meanwhile, half of total scholarly output is published by just 10 publishers, those with the largest numbers of journals.
We can further analyze the market’s consolidation by comparing annual growth rates in the numbers of publishers, journals and articles, as shown below.
Sources: OpenAlex, Delta Think analysis. © 2022 Delta Think Inc. All rights reserved.
The chart above shows the change in numbers compared with the previous year. The undulations in the lines are not uncommon when looking at annual changes. Activity does not always fall cleanly within calendar years. Changes on an annualized chart can therefore appear in fits and starts. However, by looking at the trends, some clear patterns emerge.
- The numbers of publishers (in blue) grew more quickly in the mid-teens than before or since. This is consistent with the S-shaped curve in the numbers of publishers we noted last month. So it seems the market showed signs of fragmentation in the mid-teens, followed by consolidation more recently.
- Growth in numbers of journals (in orange) accelerated until about 2017, then started to fall off. This happened in tandem with the slowing growth in the numbers of publishers.
- The rate of growth in numbers of articles (in grey) seems to run counter to the trends above. On average it was flat (at around 5%-6%) until 2018/2019, but then it accelerated. We think much this is because of the unusually high levels of submission in the wake of COVID (as we discussed in our market sizing analysis last year).
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.