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The Pricing of Academic Journals: A Two-Sided Market Perspective


  • Doh-Shin Jeon
  • Jean-Charles Rochet


More and more academic journals are adopting an open access policy by which articles are accessible free of charge, while publication costs are recovered through author fees. We study the consequences of this open access policy on the quality standard of an electronic academic journal. If the journal's objective were to maximize social welfare, open access would be optimal. However, we show that if the journal has a different objective (such as maximizing readers' utility, the impact of the journal, or its profit), open access tends to induce it to choose a quality standard below the socially efficient level. (JEL L11, L82)

Suggested Citation

  • Doh-Shin Jeon & Jean-Charles Rochet, 2010. "The Pricing of Academic Journals: A Two-Sided Market Perspective," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 222-255, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:2:y:2010:i:2:p:222-55 Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.2.2.222

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2014. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 10.
    2. Mathias Dewatripont & Victor Ginsburgh & Patrick Legros & Alexis Walckiers & Jean-Pierre Devroey & Marianne Dujardin & Françoise Vandooren & Pierre Dubois & Jérôme Foncel & Marc Ivaldi & Marie-Dominiq, 2006. "Study on the economic and technical evolution of the scientific publication markets in Europe," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9545, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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    10. Caillaud, Bernard & Jullien, Bruno, 2003. " Chicken & Egg: Competition among Intermediation Service Providers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 309-328, Summer.
    11. Mark McCabe, 2004. "Information goods and endogenous pricing strategies: the case of academic journals," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 12(10), pages 1-11.
    12. Mark Armstrong, 2010. "Collection Sales: Good Or Bad For Journals?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 163-176, January.
    13. McCabe Mark J & Snyder Christopher M., 2007. "Academic Journal Prices in a Digital Age: A Two-Sided Market Model," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-39, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. He, Qiao-Chu, 2017. "Virtual items trade in online social games," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 187(C), pages 1-14.
    2. Mueller-Langer, Frank & Watt, Richard, 2012. "Optimal pricing and quality of academic journals and the ambiguous welfare effects of forced open access: a two-sided model," MPRA Paper 40191, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Emmanuel Farhi & Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2013. "Fear of rejection? Tiered certification and transparency," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 44(4), pages 610-631, December.
    4. Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Krichel, Thomas, 2010. "The creation of internet communities: A brief history of on-line distribution of working papers through NEP, 1998-2010," MPRA Paper 27085, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Damien Besancenot & Radu Vranceanu, 2017. "A model of scholarly publishing with hybrid academic journals," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 82(1), pages 131-150, January.
    6. Eberhard Feess & Marc Scheufen, 2016. "Academic copyright in the publishing game: a contest perspective," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 263-294, October.
    7. Ponce, Jorge, 2012. "The quality of credit ratings: A two-sided market perspective," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 294-306.
    8. Doh-Shin Jeon & Nikrooz Nasr Esfahani, 2012. "News Aggregators and Competition Among Newspapers in the Internet," Working Papers 12-20, NET Institute.
    9. Campbell, James D., 2015. "Ownership and pricing of information: A model and application to open access," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 29-42.
    10. Yuqing Zheng & Harry M. Kaiser, 2016. "Submission Demand In Core Economics Journals: A Panel Study," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(2), pages 1319-1338, April.
    11. Roberto Bombana & Carla Marchese, 2014. "Designing fees for music copyright holders in radio services," ECONOMIA E POLITICA INDUSTRIALE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(2), pages 5-19.
    12. Armstrong, Mark, 2014. "Opening Access to Research," MPRA Paper 55488, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Esfahani, Nikrooz Nasr & Jeon, Doh-Shin, 2013. "News Aggregators and Competition Among Newspapers in the Internet," IDEI Working Papers 770, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 16 Jul 2014.
    14. Jeon, Doh-Shin & Menicucci, Domenico, 2013. "The Benefits of Diverse Preferences in Library Consortia," TSE Working Papers 13-425, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Dec 2015.
    15. Richard Watt, 2014. "Open source and open access: new paradigms in the theory of copyright," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Copyright, chapter 17, pages 311-327 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. Frank Mueller-Langer & Marc Scheufen, 2013. "Academic publishing and open access," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Digital Creative Economy, chapter 32, pages 365-377 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    17. Gehrig, Thomas & Stenbacka, Rune, 2017. "Journal Competition and the Quality of Published Research: Simultaneous versus Sequential Screening," CEPR Discussion Papers 12065, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Andre Veiga & E. Glen Weyl, 2011. "Multidimensional Heterogeneity and Platform Design," Working Papers 11-33, NET Institute, revised Nov 2011.
    19. Jeon, Doh-Shin & Menicucci, Domenico, 2013. "When Is Building a Library Consortium Bene ficial?," IDEI Working Papers 791, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 07 Apr 2014.
    20. Dubois, Pierre & Hernandez-Perez, Adriana & Ivaldi, Marc, 2006. "The Market of Academic Journals: Empirical Evidence from Data on French Libraries," IDEI Working Papers 416, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    21. Mueller-Langer, Frank & Scheufen, Marc & Waelbroeck, Patrick, 2017. "Does Online Access Promote Research in Developing Countries?," Discussion Papers in Economics 31973, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    22. repec:hal:journl:hal-00971541 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. MARK J. McCABE & CHRISTOPHER M. SNYDER, 2014. "Identifying The Effect Of Open Access On Citations Using A Panel Of Science Journals," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(4), pages 1284-1300, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media


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