What Do Publishers Know?

  • Casey Brienza City University London
Keywords: markets, funding, publishing, open access


In this short contribution to the open access debate, I will draw upon my expertise as a sociologist who has studied the publishing industry to argue that publishers do in fact have knowledge that is absolutely critical to an informed understanding of open access and how it may be successfully implemented. After providing an overview of who publishers are and what motivates them, along with some of often little-understood complexities of the academic publishing industry, I focus upon the one important thing that publishers understand very well—and far better than most academics—how publishing is funded. I then discuss why collaboration, not competition, between publishers and academics is the only real way forward and conclude with a warning to fellow academics that casually dismissing their potential contribution is both counterproductive and, in the worst case scenario, may threaten the future flourishing of our profession.

Author Biography

Casey Brienza, City University London

Casey Brienza is a sociologist and Lecturer in Publishing and Digital Media at City University London’s Department of Culture & Creative Industries. She holds a first degree from Mount Holyoke College, an MA in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University, and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Cambridge. Her doctoral thesis, titled ‘Domesticating Manga: Japanese Comics, American Publishing, and the Transnational Production of Culture,’ and is currently being revised into a book manuscript. Casey also has refereed articles in print or forthcoming in International Journal of Cultural Policy, Journal of Popular Culture, Studies in Comics, Publishing Research Quarterly, Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Logos, and International Journal of the Book. She may be reached through her website.

Debating Open Access (Comments, Non Peer-Reviewed)