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In the 1960s and 1970s, commercial publishers began to selectively acquire "top-quality" journals that were previously published by nonprofit academic societies.When the commercial publishers raised the subscription prices significantly, they lost little of the market, due to the inelastic demand for these journals.In open access publishing, a journal article is made available free for all on the web by the publisher at the time of publication.
The Journal des sçavans (later spelled Journal des savants), established by Denis de Sallo, was the earliest academic journal published in Europe.
Its content included obituaries of famous men, church history, and legal reports.
Early scientific journals embraced several models: some were run by a single individual who exerted editorial control over the contents, often simply publishing extracts from colleagues' letters, while others employed a group decision making process, more closely aligned to modern peer review.
It wasn't until the middle of the 20th century that peer review became the standard.
Many open or closed journals fund their operations without such fees.
The Internet has facilitated open access self-archiving, in which authors themselves make a copy of their published articles available free for all on the web.Investment analysts, however, have been skeptical of the value added by for-profit publishers, as exemplified by a 2005 Deutsche Bank analysis which stated that "we believe the publisher adds relatively little value to the publishing process...We are simply observing that if the process really were as complex, costly and value-added as the publishers protest that it is, 40% margins wouldn't be available." The university budget cuts have reduced library budgets and reduced subsidies to university-affiliated publishers.The decline in contested claims for priority in research discoveries can be credited to the increasing acceptance of the publication of papers in modern academic journals, with estimates suggesting that around 50 million journal articles have been published since the first appearance of the Philosophical Transactions.The Royal Society was steadfast in its not-yet-popular belief that science could only move forward through a transparent and open exchange of ideas backed by experimental evidence.Although there are over 2,000 publishers, five for-profit companies (Reed Elsevier, Springer Science Business Media, Wiley-Blackwell, Taylor & Francis, and Sage) accounted for 50% of articles published in 2013.(Since 2013, Springer Science Business Media has undergone a merger to form an even bigger company named Springer Nature.) Available data indicate that these companies have profit margins of around 40% making it one of the most profitable industries, These factors have contributed to the "serials crisis" – total expenditures on serials increased 7.6% per year from 1986 to 2005, yet the number of serials purchased increased an average of only 1.9% per year.These are the articles and the peer review process.Publishers argue that they add value to the publishing process through support to the peer review group, including stipends, as well as through typesetting, printing, and web publishing.The part of academic written output that is not formally published but merely printed up or posted on the Internet is often called "grey literature".Most scientific and scholarly journals, and many academic and scholarly books, though not all, are based on some form of peer review or editorial refereeing to qualify texts for publication.