Portfolio Development Strategy for a Renowned Society Brand

Large Scientific Society

Product Development

Can a strong society journal brand go head-to-head with commercial players?


Our client — a major scientific society — had not launched a new journal in years. Yet commercial competitors were seeing strong success with portfolio strategies that took advantage of brand strength and editorial cascades to capture an increasing share of the market for scientific articles. Our client brought us in to evaluate the feasibility of expanding its journal portfolio — including where it should focus topically and what business models would provide the best chance of success.

What We Did

We tested a range of portfolio expansion strategies, from journals covering emerging disciplines to journals focused in established but high-volume specialty areas. For each topical approach under evaluation, inputs included editorial pipeline, citation patterns, funding trends, interviews with thought-leader researchers, and analysis of competitor journals. We also market-tested the strength of the society brand against commercial competitors among the author/researcher community as well as librarians. Criteria that would position a journal for success were detailed for each approach.


Our market research found that both researchers and librarians welcomed new journal entrants from trusted not-for-profit societies and were happy to support them over commercial options. The society has since launched two new journals that have achieved significant success (including significant impact factors) in a short time, and have increased its share important scientific articles.