I missed this David Crotty post from the fall, on still-more concentration in scholarly publishing:

Overall, the market has significantly consolidated since 2000 — when the top 5 publishers held 39% of the market of articles to 2022 where they control 61% of it. Looking at larger sets of publishers makes the consolidation even more extreme, as the top 10 largest publishers went from 47% of the market in 2000 to 75% in 2023, and the top 20 largest publishers from 54% to controlling 83% of the corpus.

It’s a good, transparent post—complete with spreadsheet shared for scrutiny. The consolidation figures are indeed staggering—and more reason still to wrest back publishing control from the oligopolist firms.

My beef with the post is the way it’s used as a cOAlition S battering ram.

These data show two main waves of market consolidation. The first wave aligns with the rise of The Big Deal journal subscription package model, roughly 2000 to 2006. […] From 2006 through 2018, there was only minor movement toward consolidation. […] The next wave of market consolidation began in 2018 and continues through the present day, presumably driven by the rise of OA due to new funder regulations.

Emphasis added, since that’s a big “presumably.” Yes, it’s probably true that Plan S, until its recent reversal, helped bring on some consolidation, in a case of disastrous unintended consequences. But it’s a profound stretch to lay the “second wave” of publisher consolidation—given a trend-line that, since the early 1970s, has shown a fairly consistent slope—on cOAlition S alone. Correlation, etc.

P.S.: I thought publisher consolidation was supposed to be a good thing.