Think about universities as governments, ruling over researchers and their virtual children, the students. Think about research results as bananas. The “universitary ” governments rule that the only good bananas are those accepted by publishers (mainly private entities, or even intimately associated with universities). In exchange for good bananas the researchers get vanity points, which they exchange for universitary positions or grant funds. They feed their virtual children, the students, some of the good bananas, namely their published books, or published books (validated bananas) from researchers of another, more prestigious university. These books, produced by researchers of one university are bought by another university library from a publisher, by default.
It’s a banana republic:
a banana republic is a country operated as a commercial enterprise for private profit, effected by a collusion between the State and favoured monopolies, in which the profit derived from the private exploitation of public lands is private property, while the debts incurred thereby are a public responsibility.
State = universities
Favoured monopoly = publisher
This post is triggered by Mike Taylor’s post “Predatory publishers: a real problem“.