Based on a paper presented at the 27th UKSG Conference, Manchester, March 2004
In the press you read financial reports on some of the companies you buy journals from. You see them being bought and sold; you are told that further consolidation is inevitable, driven by technological change, the hunt for economies of scale and the globalization of scientific research. Recently, new financial investors have entered the publishing business. We try to explain what is motivating all this activity, but we also give voice to the silent majority of publishers in the industry - the learned and professional societies - those who are small, stable and motivated by more than the search for greater profits. What are the differences and similarities between these organizations and the large commercial publishers? What specifically do they do and where does publishing fit into their overall mission? How are they responding to changing market dynamics and the looming prospect of open access?