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The politics of journal publishing (music education edition) by Matthew Thibeault

In brief: for-profit journals in this field charge 250% more than not-for-profits. Why? Because they can!
Heather Morrison's profile photoDavid Solomon's profile photo
This is noting new. Some of you may be familiar with Henry Barschall who wrote a series of articles in 1986 and 1988 based on studies comparing the price and value of commercial and society published physics journals basically showing the same thing in physics. The story that ensued is pretty amazing.

The articles were published by journals of the American Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society. Several of the physics journals published by Gordon and Breach, a commercial publisher didn't fair too well in Barschall's studies and G&B sued Baschall and both societies in Germany, Switzerland France and eventually the U.S trying to bankrupt them into retracting the articles. The whole litany of suits and appeals went on for 12 years. In 1997 Barschall died at which point G&B sued his estate e.g. his wife and kids. G&B eventually lost or dropped the whole litany of suits and appeals and ended up getting eaten by Taylor and Francis about the same time time (there really is justice in the world).

What has always amazed my about this is not so much G&B's viciousness but their shear stupidity and arrogance all over three articles that found their journals to be a little pricey. Here's a publisher than made their money selling physics journals trying to bankrupt two physics societies and a really well known and respected physicist. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

Unfortunately most of the interesting stuff about this story has disappeared off the web but a summary of the US suits and appeals is still around at
Thanks David - I've started off my dissertation chapter on economics with this story. Love that the articles by Barschall and this website are still around while Gordon & Breach has bit the dust. Thanks are due to Barschall, AIP and APS for standing up for our right to talk about journal prices.

Nevertheless, unless I am mistaken, Matthew Thibeault is breaking new ground in advocating for change in the area of music education. That's what we need in my view - active advocates in every area of research.
You are welcome. I just hope he doesn't get sued in four countries over it! :-)
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