I recently published the below chart to document the outrageous profit margins of scholarly publishers in the sciences.
This post is to provide the sources for the numbers in the chart.
The Woolworths number comes from their website, where they write “As a group, Woolworths Limited makes less than seven cents in the dollar before we then pay interest and tax”.
The Rio Tinto figure of 23% is based on the operating profit they report divided by the consolidated sales revenue in their 2011 financial summary.
Apple’s profit of 35% is based on these numbers, dividing their operating income for the year ending September 2012 of 55.2 billion by the revenue for the same period of 156.5 billion.
The 34% number for Springer comes from Heather Morrison’s PhD thesis, in which she writes that “Springer’s Science + Business Media (2010) reported a return on sales (operating profit) of 33.9% or € 294 million on revenue of € 866 million, an increase of 4% over the profit of the previous year.”
For Elsevier, I used the figure reported by investment analyst Claudio Aspesi.
For Wiley, I again used Heather Morrison’s analysis in her thesis, based on $99 million in profit on $245 million in revenue.
Thanks to Nick Scott-Samuel and Mike Taylor.