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George Monbiots vote for the most ruthless capitalists in the western world goes to… the Academic publishers.

His wonderful and latent cynical article “Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist” has been published in “The Guardian” on August 29th, 2011. Monbiot states “Academic publishers monopolistic practices” make Walmart “look like a corner shop” and “Rupert Murdoch a socialist”.

His article tells a short story about the absurdity of the escalating expenses for toll access journals like Elsevier’s record-breaking Biochimica et Biophysica Acta for which libraries have to pay $20,930 p.a. On the other hand it briefly examines the rise and potentials of Open Access publishing. But this way out is not the main point of this article.

These are the “absurd numbers”, like Elsevier’s astronomic operating profit margin of +36% in the past financial year. Or the fact that in the meantime three companies, Elsevier, Springer and Wiley publish 42% of STM journal articles.

Indeed, knowledge monopoly racketeers.