IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Academic copyright in the publishing game: a contest perspective


  • Eberhard Feess

    () (Frankfurt School of Finance and Management)

  • Marc Scheufen

    () (Ruhr University of Bochum (RUB))


Abstract As scientists are motivated by readership rather than by royalties, one might doubt that academic copyright is required for stimulating research. Consequently, establishing an open access regime is currently intensively being discussed. We contribute to the literature by using a contest-model in which differently talented researchers compete for limited journals space. The contest perspective adds a rent-seeking motive into the publishing game which questions that private incentives for research are always too low due to the positive externalities of scientific progress. In our model, open access always leads to higher social welfare when incentives are too high. When incentives are too low, then open access is only superior if the benefits from larger readership is sufficiently high.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:ejlwec:v:42:y:2016:i:2:d:10.1007_s10657-016-9528-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s10657-016-9528-1

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 2001. "Free Labour for Costly Journals?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 183-198, Fall.
    2. Thomas Eger & Marc Scheufen & Daniel Meierrieks, 2015. "The determinants of open access publishing: survey evidence from Germany," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 475-503, June.
    3. Migheli, Matteo & Ramello, Giovanni B., 2014. "Open Access Journals & Academics' Behaviour," IEL Working Papers 18, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    4. Goodall, Amanda H., 2009. "Highly cited leaders and the performance of research universities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1079-1092, September.
    5. John Houghton & Charles Oppenheim, 2010. "The economic implications of alternative publishing models," Prometheus, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(1), pages 41-54.
    6. Hanauske, Matthias & Bernius, Steffen & Dugall, Berndt, 2007. "Quantum Game Theory and Open Access Publishing," MPRA Paper 15986, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. 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.
    8. Matteo Migheli & Giovanni B. Ramello, 2014. "Open Access Journals And Academics' Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(4), pages 1250-1266, October.
    9. Stephan, Paula E., 2010. "The Economics of Science," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, in: Bronwyn H. Hall & Nathan Rosenberg (ed.),Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 217-273, Elsevier.
    10. Amanda H Goodall, 2005. "Should top universities be led by top researchers, and are they?," General Economics and Teaching 0510003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Gunther Eysenbach, 2006. "Citation Advantage of Open Access Articles," Working Papers id:626, eSocialSciences.
    12. Hanauske, Matthias & Bernius, Steffen & Dugall, Berndt, 2007. "Quantum game theory and open access publishing," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 382(2), pages 650-664.
    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.
    14. John Houghton & Charles Oppenheim, 2010. "Economic implications of alternative publishing models: authors' response," Prometheus, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(2), pages 203-205.
    15. Piero Cavaleri & Michael Keren & Giovanni B. Ramello & Vittorio Valli, 2009. "Publishing an E-Journal on a Shoe String: Is It a Sustainable Project?," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 89-101, March.
    16. Ramello, Giovanni B., 2010. "Copyright and endogenous market structure: a glimpse from the journal-publishing market," POLIS Working Papers 146, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    17. Craig, Iain D. & Plume, Andrew M. & McVeigh, Marie E. & Pringle, James & Amin, Mayur, 2007. "Do open access articles have greater citation impact?," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 239-248.
    18. Steffen Bernius & Matthias Hanauske & Wolfgang König & Berndt Dugall, 2009. "Open Access Models and their Implications for the Players on the Scientific Publishing Market," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 103-115, March.
    19. repec:cdl:ucsbec:16-01 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Müller-Langer, Frank & Watt, Richard, 2010. "Copyright and Open Access for Academic Works," MPRA Paper 24095, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. 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.
    22. Edlin, Aaron S. & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 2004. "Exclusion or Efficient Pricing? The "Big Deal" Bundling of Academic Journals," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt9hc6n6ds, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Matteo Migheli & Giovanni Battista Ramello, 2018. "The market of academic attention," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 114(1), pages 113-133, January.
    2. Sergio Copiello, 2020. "Business as Usual with Article Processing Charges in the Transition towards OA Publishing: A Case Study Based on Elsevier," Publications, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(1), pages 1-14, January.

    More about this item


    Open access; Copyright; Cultural economics; Economics of science; Publishing game; Tullock contest;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • K29 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Other
    • L17 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Open Source Products and Markets
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:ejlwec:v:42:y:2016:i:2:d:10.1007_s10657-016-9528-1. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.