Perspectives

Perspectives, insights, and research

From the Scholarly Kitchen

The New “University Journals” in the Marketplace

May 6, 2019  |  By

The launch of a new journal called “University Journals” by a European consortium was the occasion for a piece on what it takes for a new service to become successful. The challenges are great, as even well-resourced start-ups, with prestigious backers (as is the case for “University Journals”), have to operate in an environment with a great deal of competition. This post lays out what has to be done to be successful.
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Other Publications

The Value of Peer Review

April 29, 2019  |  By

Community perceptions of peer review have significant stakes for publishers of medical and scientific journals. The value delivered by peer review in the eyes of the community is directly tied to the value of a society’s journal portfolio. Given its critical role in the research ecosystem, we must consider the future of peer review as well—whether it is delivering on its promise, how it might evolve, and what implications this may have for journal publishers, authors, and readers.
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From the Scholarly Kitchen

Where Does a University Press Sit in its Parent’s Priorities?

April 29, 2019  |  By

When Stanford University proposed cutting the subsidiary it provides for its university press, a furor erupted, in part because Stanford is an exceptionally well-endowed institution and the subsidy required seemed a pittance. But in the context of overall university finances and priorities, rarely are presses moved to the top of the pile. For a press to be successful, it has to develop a strategy, including a financial strategy, that does not require it to take money from the university’s operating fund.
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From the Scholarly Kitchen

Strategic and Non-strategic Society Publishing

March 18, 2019  |  By

Publishing can be a strategic or nonstrategic asset for a society, depending on the society itself and the nature of the program. Many societies begin as publishers, but then evolve into larger entities, for which the publishing division becomes merely a source of money to finance other operations. When societies contemplate whether to continue to invest in their publishing programs or to divest these assets, the question of how central to the society’s overarching goals and mission become paramount. In adverse economic times, many societies are reconsidering just how strategic their publishing programs are.
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From the Scholarly Kitchen

Extracting Book Data from Library Information Systems

January 29, 2019  |  By

Working with Ithaka S+R we set out to answer two questions: What proportion of academic library sales of books does Amazon control, and have university press sales to libraries been declining? To these questions we added several more, including investigations into pricing and the subject categories that the acquisitions fell in. I am pleased to report that the final report for that project is now available on the Ithaka S+R Web site. I recommend it to everyone interested in the academic book market. One important takeaway from this study is that publishers and libraries alike seek to analyze their book programs and collections, but are stymied because the data is mostly controlled by intermediaries, who are disinclined to share that data.
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From the Scholarly Kitchen

The Double-bind Theory of Scholarly Publishing

January 7, 2019  |  By

Increasingly publishers are being asked to do more with less. New reporting requirements require higher administrative costs, and calls for increased quality controls necessitate expanded editorial oversight. On the other hand, there is significant downward pressure on revenue coming from customers (e.g., libraries) and funding agencies. The net result of this is that many of the quality controls people are demanding will go by the wayside.
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From the Scholarly Kitchen

Plan S: Impact on Society Publishers

December 5, 2018  |  By

Plan S implementation guidance has not provided reassurance to anxious society publishers. The stated aim of Plan S is to achieve “full and immediate Open Access to publications from publicly funded research,” but the prohibition against publishing in hybrid journals is not needed to accomplish that aim.
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From the Scholarly Kitchen

Navigating the Big Deal: A Guide for Societies

October 4, 2018  |  By

Shifts in how publishers market and sell journal packages have significant implications for society journal valuations over the long term. These same shifts may also be setting some societies up for publisher “lock-in” — making it difficult to change publishers in the future.
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From the Scholarly Kitchen

How Traditional Publishing Works

September 17, 2018  |  By

Publishing is the business of investing in and marketing content that is largely text-based. Publishing can take the form of books, journals, databases, newspapers, magazines, and other content types. The common element of all these formats is that they are driven by editorial selection. They thus differ from emerging models in Open Access publishing, where the principal driver is the author and not the editor. The virtue of the traditional model, built on editorial selection, is that it sorts out content of inferior merit in favor of important and original work.
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From the Scholarly Kitchen

Rival Ecosystems: The Increasingly Porous Boundary between Institutional and Consumer Markets

August 20, 2018  |  By

Consumer markets are usually thought to be distinct from institutional markets. After all, what does an academic library want with books of popular culture, weight-loss schemes, and genre fiction? But what is now evolving is an increasingly blurriness between the two markets, brought on in large part by Amazon, which services primarily the consumer market but is now making inroads for library sales.
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