The Brief

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Issue 40 • February/March

Should SPARC eat its own (transparency and openness) dog food? Robert-Jan Smits returns! Plus upheaval at OSTP, NIH’s new open data policy is not that open, and a verdict for the ResearchGate lawsuit.


Issue 39 • January 2022

Is Elsevier creating a new “supercontinent”? Why is Wiley investing so heavily in “services”? What do transformative agreements actually transform? Plus Maryland’s ebook law, a new “Journal Comparison Service” from cOAlition S, Inside Higher Ed acquired by THE, Plus NEJM launches a new title and other Briefly Noted stories.

Going Meta

Issue 38 • November/December 2021

Facebook has a new company name that will be familiar to readers of The Brief. Wiley continues to fill out its services portfolio, with acquisitions of Knowledge Unlatched and eJournalPress. Meanwhile, ResearchGate strikes new deals for OA content and Martin Eve and Anthony Cond provide a look at the state of play for OA monographs. The flurry of M&A activity in 2021 continues.

Special Issue

Issue 37 • September/October 2021

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 2021

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.