I have read a few articles in the last couple days about several problems with academic publishing. To me, the primary critique is that oftentimes, research is funded with public money, in public facilities, then researchers sometimes have to pay the academic publisher to have an unpaid, third-party peer-reviewer to scrutinize the work, before the academic publisher "publishes" the work, primarily electronically, behind a paywall; they then sell subscriptions to institutions and organizations at high rates, and put individual articles up for grabs for about $50 an article.
To add to it, their profit margins are outrageous. To provide some context, according to here, the consumer staples sector profit margin 5-year average is 6.5%. The energy sector is at 4.9%. The health care sector at 10.4%. The financial sector is at 15.8%. The wildly profitable information technology sector is sitting at 21.5%. And, the most profitable sector tracked by the S&P 500, the real estate sector, has a profit margin of 34.7%. So, what are the profit margins for the academic publishing sector? According to a New Scientist article, their profit margins sit around 40%. Which seems to be taken from this journal. New Scientist calls it the most profitable business the world.
And there is something about keeping mankind's knowledge behind a paywall that doesn't sit right with many researchers. Personally, as a hyper-curious layman, I FREQUENTLY am forced to shell out money for articles that my curiosity will not allow me to do without. And, all you have to do is Google "academic publishing money" to get scores of articles scourging the academic publishing industry, so it made me think, why not nationalize academic publishing?
When I Googled "nationalizing academic publishing" on Google Scholar, all that came up were papers talking about nationalizing science, which is a completely different thing. You can collaborate with other nations in your science projects and still peer-review and publish them via a federal academic institution. The first government agency that comes to mind where this academic publishing department could be located is the National Institute of Standards and Technology. I really feel like somewhere at some point, this conversation had to come up.
So, my question is there any literature (preferably recent, i.e., within past 10 years, but if not any literature) on nationalizing academic publishing.
To be clear, what I mean by nationalizing academic publishing is creating a single, federal government publishing office who would peer-review and publish ALL academic works in the country, then provide that information free to the public. It could be paid for by taxes on corporations, alcohol, cannabis, sporting events, or by fees paid by academic institutions.
The answer I am looking for is the one that includes a well thought-out discussion of the pros and cons of nationalizing, the structure of such an organization, the costs involved, and discussion on obvious issues such as how to prevent undue government influence.