(Would you buy a used
The patent in question was granted to Professor of Economics Joseph Henry Vogel. He believes that piracy, lending and reselling of books is a threat to the publishing industry.
“Professors are increasingly turning a blind eye when students appear in class with photocopied pages. Others facilitate piracy by placing texts in the library reserve where they can be photocopied,” Vogel writes.
The result is less money for publishers, and fewer opportunities for professors like himself to get published. With Vogel’s invention, however, this threat can be stopped.
car Transdisciplinary Mini-Course from this man?)
Interesting. Compare the above with this:
Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist
The returns are astronomical: in the past financial year, for example, Elsevier's operating profit margin was 36% (£724m on revenues of £2bn). They result from a stranglehold on the market. Elsevier, Springer and Wiley, who have bought up many of their competitors, now publish 42% of journal articles.
More importantly, universities are locked into buying their products. Academic papers are published in only one place, and they have to be read by researchers trying to keep up with their subject. Demand is inelastic and competition non-existent, because different journals can't publish the same material. In many cases the publishers oblige the libraries to buy a large package of journals, whether or not they want them all. Perhaps it's not surprising that one of the biggest crooks ever to have preyed upon the people of this country – Robert Maxwell – made much of his money through academic publishing.
The publishers claim that they have to charge these fees as a result of the costs of production and distribution, and that they add value (in Springer's words) because they "develop journal brands and maintain and improve the digital infrastructure which has revolutionised scientific communication in the past 15 years". But an analysis by Deutsche Bank reaches different conclusions. "We believe the publisher adds relatively little value to the publishing process … if the process really were as complex, costly and value-added as the publishers protest that it is, 40% margins wouldn't be available." Far from assisting the dissemination of research, the big publishers impede it, as their long turnaround times can delay the release of findings by a year or more.
What we see here is pure rentier capitalism: monopolising a public resource then charging exorbitant fees to use it. Another term for it is economic parasitism. To obtain the knowledge for which we have already paid, we must surrender our feu to the lairds of learning.
Academic spring: how an angry maths blog sparked a scientific revolution
Elsevier — my part in its downfall
Case Finland: Tertiary education is free of charge for students. In 2011, Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences (either by themselves or through a consortium called FinELib) spent a tad over €19 million on "e
materials" — my rough, half-educated guesstimate is that half of that money went to Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Springer Link & IEEE/IEE Electronic Library. (Finland has 5.4 million inhabitants, by the way.)
And, according to professor Vogel, students (armed with photocopiers) are killing the industry. Crikey.
The idea is simple. As part of a course, students will have to participate in a web-based discussion board, an activity which counts towards their final grade. To gain access to the board students need a special code, which they get by buying the associated textbook.
Electronic learning environments are the norm these days. And, in many cases, universities
— oops! — "outsource" 'em... to publishers (e.g. Pearson
). Students must "pass" the exercises (based on the course book by the same publisher) before they can take the exam.
This means publishers can charge multiple times for a book that was sold only once.
Dunno if this is patentable though... after all, the underlying [sic!] idea of the world's OLDEST
profession is "ya got it, ya sell it, ya still got it!"