Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Some academic publishers accused of using tax avoidance strategies to boost profits while stifling competition

Date:
November 1, 2012
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Some of the biggest academic publishers are accused in a new study by researchers in the UK of using tax avoidance strategies to boost profits while they engage in football transfer style practices to stifle competition.

Some of the biggest academic publishers are accused in a new study by researchers in the UK of using tax avoidance strategies to boost profits while they engage in football transfer style practices to stifle competition.

In a paper on the findings, the authors from the University of Leicester School of Management claim that publication of academic papers -- based largely on state-funded research -- can be so lucrative that publishing houses are able to enjoy net profit margins as high as 53 per cent. That compares with 6.9 per cent for electricity utilities, 5.2 per cent for food suppliers, and 2.5 per cent for newspapers.

The returns are further enhanced when publishers operating in the UK move their offices to tax havens overseas -- a practice that raises ethical questions in times of austerity, the paper argues. Its authors are calling for the publishers of academic journals to be included in the review of tax havens ordered by Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. He has instructed civil servants to find a way to stop offshore companies receiving public subsidies or contracts.

The study follows the report by an independent working group led by Dame Janet Finch that found that giving industry free access to research could have considerable economic benefits. The review, commissioned by David Willetts, the Universities and Science Minister, urged the funders of research to encourage scientists to publish in free access journals instead of those that hide behind high subscription costs and Internet pay walls.

The Leicester School of Management paper, "What are we to do with feral publishers?," argues that if publishers refuse to lower their subscription prices, academics should boycott their journals and start up alternative and more affordable ones to increase access to scholarly work. The practice has been encouraged in the United States by Harvard University that recently told its faculty members to make their research freely available through open access journals and to resign from publications that keep articles behind pay walls. Harvard was responding to price hikes imposed by many academic publishers.

The Leicester paper, to be published in the journal Organization, urges publishers to make significant reductions in their annual subscription prices, or face the prospect of academics establishing more competitively priced journals.

One of the paper's authors, Leicester School of Management head Professor Simon Lilley, admits however that such a move would mean starting a new publication from scratch, as existing titles are governed by rules that make transferring ownership very difficult.

"Journals are like Premiership footballers in terms of transferability, negotiations can only begin if a current publisher clearly communicates a desire to sell," he said.

Nevertheless, strength of feeling against so-called "greedy publishers" is now so strong that "a mass boycott of journals is an increasingly realistic possibility," he added.

Professor Lilley wrote the paper with co-authors Dr David Harvie, a senior lecturer in finance and political economy, Dr Geoff Lightfoot a senior lecturer in entrepreneurship and accounting, and Kenneth Weir, an accountancy lecturer.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. Harvie, G. Lightfoot, S. Lilley, K. Weir. What are we to do with feral publishers? Organization, 2012; DOI: 10.1177/1350508412448859

Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Some academic publishers accused of using tax avoidance strategies to boost profits while stifling competition." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121031213958.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2012, November 1). Some academic publishers accused of using tax avoidance strategies to boost profits while stifling competition. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121031213958.htm
University of Leicester. "Some academic publishers accused of using tax avoidance strategies to boost profits while stifling competition." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121031213958.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins