Assessing Publishing Partnerships to Support New Society Strategy

Materials Research Society

Publishing Services Agreements

Aligning a new society-level strategic direction and a quickly changing publishing landscape helped MRS pick the best-fit publishing partner.


The Materials Research Society (MRS) was in the second term of a publishing services agreement (PSA) with a major university press when it brought in C&E for a strategic assessment designed to help it put its publishing program on best possible footing in advance of contract renewal decisions. MRS determined it was the right time to reassess its publishing program (including journals, books, and proceedings) in light of changes in society-wide strategic goals as well as shifts in the publishing industry, especially new editorial models (such as editorial cascades) and new open access business models (including transformative agreements.

What We Did

Our engagement resulted in identification of a set of goals related to journal quality that allowed MRS to make focused investments that created a positive trajectory for the program. C&E subsequently managed a request for proposal (RFP) process for publishing services — helping MRS manage the decision-making process, evaluate the range of potential publisher partners, select the best-fit partner, and negotiate favorable terms. The process included direct involvement by a highly engaged, RFP Task force of MRS leadership, whose directive was to assess publishing services partners within the context of the society’s strategic priorities.


After a highly competitive RFP process, MRS selected a new publishing partner in Springer Nature that could provide stability in a changing climate, brand alignment that benefits both society and publisher, a reinvigorated books program strategy, and new opportunities both within the publishing program and adjacent to it.

Read the press release announcing the agreement between MRS and Springer Nature.

Clarke & Esposito’s unparalleled industry expertise, strategic mindset, and professionalism were critical to the success of our engagement. They quickly established trust and rapport with MRS’s RFP Task Force (a team comprising society and staff leadership) and provided essential guidance, education, and insight at every step. We are delighted with the outcome and look forward to working with C&E on future projects!

Eileen Kiley

Director of Communications