Selecting a New Hosting Platform – Ensuring that Strategy Drives Decision-Making

National Academy of Sciences

Strategic and Operational Guidance

Evaluating an online publishing platform takes more than a features checklist – it requires strategic assessment, thoughtful goal setting, and informed (and in-depth) discussion.


The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is the publisher of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a high-volume journal that serves as an authoritative source of high-impact, original research broadly spanning the biological, physical, and social sciences. PNAS has evolved over time, continually embracing new approaches to content, discovery, and reader interaction. To ensure that it had the best technology to serve as the foundation for future innovation, as well as the best vendor partner, PNAS determined that the time was right to make a formal assessment of its current hosting platform against other available options.

What We Did

C&E was retained to assist PNAS with a platform assessment and selection process that would be informed by NAS’s strategic plans and PNAS’s publishing requirements. Starting with stakeholder interviews and a publishing strategy workshop, C&E worked with PNAS to identify journal priorities and key objectives, focusing on the challenges inherent in publishing a multidisciplinary journal. C&E then conducted a request for information (RFI) process to gather data on potential technology partners, with a carefully selected group of vendors subsequently submitting proposals. C&E evaluated proposals, negotiated with vendors, facilitated interactive discussions with vendor finalists, and supported PNAS through to final decision.


By exploring publishing strategy and goals prior to engaging in a technology assessment, PNAS was able to view potential technology partners in the context of not only how well their platform features would support PNAS’s unique requirements but also how well their approach to platform development (road-mapping) would align with PNAS’s longer-term publishing initiatives. In addition, PNAS was able to assess each vendor’s approach to client partnership, including to what degree vendors actively sought out client collaborations. Ultimately, PNAS determined that their long-term success required a platform and partner change, and selected Atypon Literatum.

C&E brought a mix of strategic nous and deep industry knowledge to guide the PNAS platform selection process. C&E provided critical industry insight as we worked to refine our vision and clearly define objectives ahead of the RFP process. Applying those key objectives enabled us to develop effective use cases to assess the fit of prospective platform partners. The work we put in together early in the process continues to pay dividends as we pursue our strategic objectives.

Diane Sullenberger

Executive Editor