The Brief

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Special Issue

Issue 37 • September/October

The secret behind MDPI’s extraordinary growth, Plan S’s unusual theory of pricing, Sci-Hub reboots (and seeks donations), preprints become a more accepted part of the scientific and scholarly workflow, supply chains for books hit snarls, M&A accelerates, and more.

The Subscriptionization of Everything

Issue 36 • July/August

Pearson+ turns the textbook into a subscription. But how do the economics work and is something similar viable in scholarly publishing? Also, UKRI’s OA policy is released, PeerJ pivots, a many tentacled Octopus seeks to disrupt scholarly publishing, and “tortured phrases” are appearing in the scholarly literature signaling the use of (not very good) automated translation software.

Citation Advantage?

Issue 35 • June 2021

You might think that after 130 studies on the subject, we’d have consensus on the effect that open access (OA) publishing has on an article’s citation performance. Alas, the picture is far from clear. In addition to probing OA citation advantage (OACA) we discuss the likelihood that Plan S “transformative journals” will meet targets, the impact of cancelling Big Deals on researchers, the impact of transformative agreements on societies, and more.

The Missing Elephant

Issue 34 • May 2021

Clarivate’s acquisition of ProQuest is front and center in this issue. We also discuss PLOS’s latest business model, Clarivate’s new metrics, abuse of CC-BY licenses, 15th Century manuscript production, and more.


Issue 33 • April 2021

Subscribe to Open (S2O) is an emerging OA model that is attracting attention — but for authors with funder mandates, submitting to a S2O may create a “Schrödinger’s cat” situation. Plus: PLOS’s new journals, CAS’s journal watch list, RIP Microsoft Academic Search, the STM Article Sharing Framework, and more.

California Dreaming

Issue 32 • February/March 2021

We talk a lot about the “Buckets of Money” problem at C&E. It is frequently said that there is enough money “in the system” to transition globally to open access (OA). The problem is that the money is in the wrong buckets. In this issue we explore the landmark Elsevier-University of California “transformative deal” and how UC has attempted to solve the buckets of money problem. We also discuss the Plan S Right Retention Strategy, Google Scholar’s new “public access” feature, and other topics.


Issue 31 • January 2021

An important albeit rarely invoked maxim is that if someone offers you a 7-times multiple of revenue for your publishing company, you take the deal. The more salient question is, Why would Wiley pay $298 million for a $40 million journal publisher with no recurring revenues? In this issue we explore the Wiley-Hindawi deal, the Plan S Rights Retention Strategy, a takeover of a journal by “rogue editors,” the rise of newsletter services, and other topics.

Avoidance of Doubt

Issue 30 • December 2020

The Plan S Rights Retention Strategy (RRS) has raised concerns among publishers, including many notable open access publishers. Elsevier follows Nature’s lead in announcing APC pricing for its flagship Cell portfolio (hint: not cheap). Ithaka S+R releases an extensive survey of library directors. eLife announces it will only review preprints.


Issue 29 • November 2020

Springer Nature’s extensive efforts to cooperate with open access (OA) mandates, including their new Nature Gold OA program (and its accompanyin $12,000 APC). cOAlition S’s inadequate Journal Checker Tool. The growth in the scientific literature during the pandemic, an AI tool for summarizing research papers, and more.

A World Elsewhere

Issue 28 • October 2020

PLOS announces Community Action Publishing (CAP) and seeks to move two highly selective Gold open access (OA) journals. Springer Nature cancels its IPO, but intends to offer Plan S across its entire journal portfolio. Wiley launches Natural Sciences, a broad-scope journal for authors affiliated with Projekt DEAL.