Matt Wall on Medium, applying Cory Doctorow’s theory of enshittification to scholarly publishers:

Here’s the thing though, the final part of Doctorow’s enshittification process as applied to online platforms is “then they die”. There currently seems to be little evidence of that. The outright profiteering and blatant exploitation of researchers has arguably shifted up a gear in the last couple of decades with the advent of open-access fees, but this process has been going on since the 1970s; academic publishers are the original enshittificationists (enshittifiers?). They have kept on re-inventing ways of enshittifying the process of disseminating scholarly information and maintaining their grossly-inflated profit margins, most notably by co-opting the open-access movement and using it as an excuse to charge ridiculous publication fees. They are a leech on the body of scholarly work, slowly sucking out the life-blood, but just never quite enough that researchers and institutions abandon them wholesale. My feeling is that they will continue doing so for many decades into the future.

chart comparing big tech and scholarly publishing profit margins