From Nicole Allen in SPARC News:
Over the past year, one of SPARC’s top priorities has been tracking the evolution of the academic publishing industry and its implications for the future of research and education. The urgency of the issues outlined in our Landscape Analysis was put into sharp relief in May, when Cengage and McGraw-Hill—the second and third largest college textbook publishers—announced plans to merge. If approved by federal regulators, the merger would reshape the U.S. higher education course material market as a duopoly—with potentially dire consequences in terms of price, access, and control of student data.
Shortly after the merger was announced, SPARC began to explore avenues for taking action. Over the past two months, we’ve been working with industry and antitrust experts to build arguments against the merger, which we intend to file with the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. While we acknowledge that the current regulatory environment makes opposing any merger an uphill battle, we think that this is an important opportunity to educate antitrust enforcers about the unique challenges presented by the textbook market, and especially the implications of the growing control of academic publishers over key higher education infrastructure.
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