Choosing a Publisher for PNAS’s New Open Access Companion Journal

National Academy of Sciences

Publishing Services Agreements

Selecting the best publisher partner to help launch a new OA journal to complement a prestigious, self-published flagship.


The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is the publisher of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), one of the world’s most-cited and comprehensive multidisciplinary scientific journals. NAS wished to explore launch of a new fully open access title as a companion to PNAS to provide authors with a high-quality publishing venue that is fully compliant with funder OA mandates. However, rather than self-publish the new journal (as with PNAS), NAS sought to work with a publisher partner, and  engaged C&E to facilitate the publisher evaluation, selection, and negotiation process.

What We Did

C&E created a model to evaluate publisher proposals that allowed side-by-side comparison of financial offers, incorporating scenarios for projected submissions (both direct and transfer) into the analysis. In addition, C&E helped NAS to identify where and how publisher capabilities aligned with NAS’s needs and strategy. C&E facilitated discussions and led iterative negotiations between NAS and publisher candidates. Throughout the project, C&E supported NAS staff in their internal evaluation of strategic and financial requirements, ensuring that the new publisher relationship would support NAS’s editorial, strategic, and sustainability goals for the new journal.


C&E helped NAS successfully negotiate a publishing partnership with Oxford University Press to launch PNAS Nexus, a new highly selective, multidisciplinary open access journal with a focus on innovation and rapid publication. PNAS Nexus opened its call for papers in summer 2021 for launch in January 2022.

C&E’s deep industry knowledge and experience helping societies select publishing partners enabled PNAS to embark on its first publishing partnership and first journal launch since 1915. C&E assisted PNAS in assessing alignment of strategic objectives with culture and capabilities of potential publishers and in working with Oxford University Press to establish a sustainable framework for the new journal.

Diane Sullenberger

Executive Editor