Game theory and scholarly publishing: premises for an agreement around open access

Actors in research and scientific publishing are gradually joining the Open-Access (OA) movement, which is gaining momentum to become nowadays at the heart of scientific policies in high-income countries. The rise of OA generates profound changes in the chain of production and dissemination of knowledge. Free access to peer-reviewed research methods and results has contributed to the dynamics of science observed in recent years. The modes of publication and access have also evolved; the classic model, based on journal subscriptions is gradually giving way to new economic models that have appeared with the arrival of OA. The objective of this article is twofold. First, propose a model for the publishing market based on the literature as well as on changes in open science policies. Second, analyze publishing strategies of publishers and institutions. To do so, we relied on game theory in economics. Results show that in the short term, the publisher’s equilibrium strategy is to adopt a hybridpublishing model, while the institutions’ equilibrium strategy is to publish in OA. This equilibrium is not stable and that in the medium/long term, the two players will converge on an OA publishing strategy. The analysis of the equilibrium in mixed-strategies confirms this result.