Portfolio Expansion in the Context of a Publishing Services RFP

Small Specialty Society

Publishing Services Agreements

Can a publishing services RFP be used to support portfolio expansion?


Our client was a small but prestigious society that owned the top journal in a medical subspecialty; the journal was published by a commercial publisher. The society also provided editorial services for additional journals owned by that commercial publisher and wondered if this arrangement was in the best interests of the society. Our engagement started with a situational analysis to determine whether a competitive RFP process could help to improve the situation for the society and whether there was an opportunity for portfolio growth under the society’s ownership.

What We Did

After completing a situational analysis, C&E determined that a competitive request for proposal process was the best route to 1) improving financial and service support to the society, and 2) determining the feasibility of new society-owned journals.

We designed and managed an RFP process that allowed competitive bidding for not only the flagship society journal but also a portfolio expansion in the form of new society-owned journals as well.


Through a competitive RFP process, our client determined that its current partner remained the best fit for its strategic goals — but under substantively improved terms. The new agreement included a signing bonus, improved royalty rate, commitment to minimum guaranteed payments, significant increase in page budget, and — critically — support for the launch of two new society-owned journals.