What the Acquisition of Meta Means for Scholarly Publishers

What the Acquisition of Meta Means for Scholarly Publishers

The acquisition of Meta by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) promises to transform scientific investigation. As a byproduct of this, it will likely transform scientific publishing as well. I am on the Board of Directors of Meta, and I must say that the path to the company’s new ownership did not entirely come as a surprise. People have been sniffing around the company for the past two years as interest in data and data science has exploded. By working with the scientific literature, Meta has found a new way to expedite research and to bring added value to the underlying publications.

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Turnarounds, Pivots, and Repositioning

Turnarounds, Pivots, and Repositioning

By Joe Esposito. This year I had the good fortune to moderate a panel on business turnarounds at the Charleston Conference. By “turnarounds” I mean situations where an organization has fallen on hard times. From a management point of view, this is a very different experience from working on a start-up or having the responsibility for a company that is doing well.

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The Network Model of Publishing

The Network Model of Publishing

The portfolio of even a small publisher may include journals, books, databases, conferences, newsletters, Webinars, and much more, all of which increasingly are asked to work together. The various properties share many things — administrative overhead, for example, or a common customer database — and they also reinforce one another. Think of each property as a node on the network, gaining strength through the linkage to the other nodes. This has important implications, not least of which is Metcalfe’s Law: the value of a network is equal to the square of the number of nodes attached to it. Every successful publisher is going to become the manager of a network publishing system.

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For Open Access Monographs, Peter Pays Paul. Who Pays Peter?

For Open Access Monographs, Peter Pays Paul. Who Pays Peter?

Libraries acquire what people use: the problem monographs have is that their demand is simply not as great as that for STM journals, and hence monograph publishers find it increasingly difficult to continue to publish. Enter the open access monograph. There may be insufficient demand to read a particular monograph, but the demand to publish that book is enormous, beginning with the author and extending to friends and colleagues. Institutions that subsidize OA monographs are opening a new source of funding to satisfy the demand to be published, rather than the demand for access.

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People Make the Difference: Steering a Start-up to Success

People Make the Difference: Steering a Start-up to Success

Moderating a panel of three entrepreneurs, the common element that particularly caught my attention is something that I have had occasion to ponder many times. All three CEOs pounded on the issue of recruiting and retaining the best people. It is an obsession of the leadership of start-ups. One bad hire can stop a company in its tracks. 

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What Is “Publishing” if Even a Library Can Do It?

What Is “Publishing” if Even a Library Can Do It?

Whether the subject is journals, books, stories, blogs, tweets, or anything else connected to media, the one thing that can be relied upon is that people want more. Not that they want to read more (there are only so many hours in the day and a growing abundance of ways to spend one’s time without resorting to text), but they wanted to write more. We live in the Age of Abundant Production and Dispersed Attention. To this situation we now add library publishing.

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Our Rationale for Founding STMA - Illustrated by our First Announced Transaction

Our Rationale for Founding STMA - Illustrated by our First Announced Transaction

This post reproduces our press release announcing the formation of STM Advisers LLC, the first financial advisory firm dedicated to STM publishing and scholarly communications. We recently closed our first transaction, representing the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals, in its acquisition of Peer Review Evaluation (PRE). For us the transaction shows some of the specializations - working with nonprofits, understanding new digital products, and familiarity with the scholarly ecosystem - that drove us to form STMA.

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STMA Advises AAAS, Publisher of Science, In Its Acquisition of Peer Review Evaluation (PRE) Service

STMA Advises AAAS, Publisher of Science, In Its Acquisition of Peer Review Evaluation (PRE) Service

In our first announced transaction, STM Advisers LLC is proud to have advised the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in its acquisition of PRE Peer Review Evaluation from the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. We initiated the transaction and served as the representative of AAAS.

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The Changing Nature of Scale in STM and Scholarly Publishing, by Michael Clarke

The Changing Nature of Scale in STM and Scholarly Publishing, by Michael Clarke

Smaller independent and society publishers are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the economies of scale around production, technology, and (most important) institutional sales that can be brought to bear by a large publisher. If you are a society that has been self-publishing for many decades, such effects may appear as only a recent headwind in a long publishing tradition. This headwind, however, is most likely not a temporary zephyr but rather a permanent fixture of the STM and scholarly publishing landscape, and one that will only increase in intensity. To understand why, it is helpful to look at the two vectors on which scale operates in STM and scholarly publishing: horizontal and vertical. While horizontal scale has long been the province of commercial publishers, society publishers are typically organized to take advantage of vertical scale. The headwinds are presently blowing along the horizontal plane, from the perspective of the society publisher.

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Can We Stop Talking about the “System” of Scholarly Communications, Please?

Can We Stop Talking about the “System” of Scholarly Communications, Please?

Although “everybody knows” there are too many journals, new journals appear every year. Although it is assumed that the university press sector is under strain and shrinking, at least two new such enterprises have come to my attention in the past several months. And for all the trumpeted reductions in library budgets, the publishers that sell materials to libraries are reporting modest growth. Now where could that have come from? The answer seems to be that entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs don’t read the headlines.

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Getting Beyond “Post and Forget” Open Access

Getting Beyond “Post and Forget” Open Access

Should secondary commercial exploitation of OA materials be encouraged or embargoed? Even though common Creative Commons licenses allow commercial re-use, many think that publishers capitalizing on this license should be hoisted on their own petard. Joe respectfully disagrees, noting that re-use may lead to new self-sustaining business models - and higher readership for article authors.

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