Springer Nature completes acquisition of multi-disciplinary preprint platform Research Square Company | Library Technology

London, UK and New York, NY — December, 1 2022. RSC comprises American Journal Experts (AJE), which provides best-in-class AI-powered and professionally delivered author solutions, and Research Square, the world’s number one multi-disciplinary preprint platform.

After a long partnership and period of partial ownership, Springer Nature has increased its investment in Research Square Company (RSC) to take full ownership.

The acquisition reflects the shared ambition of the two companies to provide faster, better, quality-assured author solutions. This includes helping authors improve their manuscripts prior to submission and share their research both before and after publication.

It will strengthen Springer Nature’s ability to provide solutions designed to better meet the needs of all researchers and bring forward the open science revolution. For example:

AJE’s best-in-class digital editing tools and leading Research Impact Solutions help authors get published and increase awareness of their research post publication

Research Square’s multidisciplinary preprint platform allows every author to enjoy the benefits of sharing their research early

 

Data Cartels: The Companies That Control and Monopolize Our Information – Sarah Lamdan

“In our digital world, data is power. Information hoarding businesses reign supreme, using intimidation, aggression, and force to maintain influence and control. Sarah Lamdan brings us into the unregulated underworld of these “data cartels”, demonstrating how the entities mining, commodifying, and selling our data and informational resources perpetuate social inequalities and threaten the democratic sharing of knowledge.

 

 

 

“Just a few companies dominate most of our critical informational resources. Often self-identifying as “data analytics” or “business solutions” operations, they supply the digital lifeblood that flows through the circulatory system of the internet. With their control over data, they can prevent the free flow of information, masterfully exploiting outdated information and privacy laws and curating online information in a way that amplifies digital racism and targets marginalized communities. They can also distribute private information to predatory entities. Alarmingly, everything they’re doing is perfectly legal.

 

 

 

In this book, Lamdan contends that privatization and tech exceptionalism have prevented us from creating effective legal regulation. This in turn has allowed oversized information oligopolies to coalesce. In addition to specific legal and market-based solutions, Lamdan calls for treating information like a public good and creating digital infrastructure that supports our democratic ideals….”

The High Cost of Knowledge Monopoly | Claudio Aspesi | S3: Ep3 – Knowledge Equity Lab | October 2022

“Over the past 20 years, the academic publishing market has undergone changes that have led us to a juncture where power is concentrated in the hands of a handful of big companies. To help us understand how this came to be and its implications, we are joined today by Claudio Aspesi, a leading market analyst for the academic publishing market. Claudio is a consultant at SPARC, and has authored several reports about the market power and consolidation of the largest commercial players in this space….”

2022 Open Education Conference: Open Access Monographs for Teaching and…

“Welcome to the 2022 Open Education Conference! This is the nineteenth year the conference community has gathered, and we look forward to seeing you virtually on October 17-20. Register now or apply for a scholarship to attend. If you’re already registered, activate your account to start building a schedule….

As international funders make welcome moves towards OA publishing models, it is crucial to ensure the benefits and opportunies remain equitable, communal and accesible to the broad academic community. The Open Book Collective is currently registering as UK charity with the aim to address these issues and our online platform is scheduled to launch in summer 2022. This talk will describe our work and its importance in the current OA landscape.

The OBC will host an infrastructure and revenue management platform for the support, access, distribution and promotion of OA academic books.

We have developed the OBC and platform in consultation with librarians, publishers, and researchers, via a series of interactive workshops and reflective sessions.It will enable stakeholders explore, discover, access and support OA books from a range of leading publishers and infrastructure providers via high-quality integrated metadata and a fully searchable catalogue. In a bid to think beyond the Book Processing Charges that can sustain inequity in academic publishing, we offer a choice of flexible subscription packages, through which patrons can choose to support individual publishers and schemes, or indeed the entire collective. Whilst our major stakeholders are be librarians and publishers, the catalogue and metadata functions will be freely available to everyone. We also provide space for OA publishers to display their current and forthcoming books. Our mission is to build and maintain a sustainable infrastructure to support the publication, discovery and distribution of OA books via a range of flexible subscription packages, and make it easy for OA books to be delivered to libraries. The platform assists librarians in easily assessing OA content for local and global relevance, and comparing the offerings from different publishers in one place. The OBC is guaranteed to remain not-for-profit and anti-monopoly….”

 

 

Wolters Kluwer acquires Open Access publisher

” Wolters Kluwer Health announced today that it has signed and completed an agreement to acquire IJS Publishing Group (IJSPG), a UK-based provider of peer-reviewed medical journals supporting scientists and authors. The IJSPG portfolio consists of 10 journal titles, including the International Journal of Surgery (IJS), IJS Case Reports (IJSCR), and Annals of Medicine and Surgery (AMS)….”

Open access is a case study for boosting research | The Financial Express

“On August 25, the US announced an open access policy to ensure free, immediate and equitable access to federally-funded research. Americans will now have free access to scholarly works, and by 2025, all federal agencies have to implement open access policies to ensure taxpayer-funded research is freely accessible to all citizens. India could follow this path, which may change the country’s higher education landscape and can be a vital tool for achieving SDG goals….

Thus, the price inelasticity of this monopolist market has been taken advantage of by selected commercial corporates (publishers) who do not produce or fund the research but use it as a raw material for commerce. Serial crisis also gave rise to shadow libraries like Library Genesis, Z-Library and Sci-Hub….

Since most research is funded by the government with taxpayers’ money—meaning the citizens indirectly fund it—the citizens therefore have the right to access the research output. OA can improve the verifiability and credibility of research output and taxpayers can also see the impact of the research they have funded….

Recently, India promised a ‘one nation, one subscription’ (ONOS) policy to get subscriptions for all citizens of major research work published globally, a step up from the existing subscription policy through the central library consortium e-ShodhSindhu. ONOS can be a prolific policy but whether it can address the issue of serial crisis is still a question….”

The Oligopoly’s Shift to Open Access. How For-Profit Publishers Benefit from Article Processing Charges | Zenodo

Butler, Leigh-Ann, Matthias, Lisa, Simard, Marc-André, Mongeon, Philippe, & Haustein, Stefanie. (2022). The Oligopoly’s Shift to Open Access. How For-Profit Publishers Benefit from Article Processing Charges (Version v1). Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7057144 Abstract: This study aims to estimate the total amount of article processing charges (APCs) paid to publish open access (OA) in journals controlled by the large commercial publishers Elsevier, Sage, Springer-Nature, Taylor & Francis and Wiley, the so-called oligopoly of academic publishing. Since the early 2010s, these five academic publishers control more than half of peer-reviewed journal articles indexed in the Web of Science (WoS), expanding their market power through acquisitions and mergers. While traditionally their business model focused on charging subscriptions to read articles, they have now shifted to OA, charging authors fees for publishing. These APCs often amount to several thousand dollars, excluding many from publishing on economic grounds. This study computes an estimate of the total amounts of APCs paid to oligopoly publishers between 2015 and 2018, using publication data from WoS, OA status from Unpaywall and annual APC prices from open datasets and historical fees retrieved via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. We estimate that globally authors paid the oligopoly of academic publishers $1.06 billion in publication fees in the 4-year period analyzed. Of the 505,903 OA articles analyzed, 60.9% were published in gold OA journals, 8.6% in diamond (gold with APC=$0) and 30.5% in hybrid journals. Revenue from gold OA amounted to $612.5 million, while $448.3 million was obtained for publishing OA in hybrid journals, for which publishers already charge subscription fees. Among the five publishers, Springer-Nature made the largest revenue from OA ($589.7 million), followed by Elsevier ($221.4 million), Wiley ($114.3 million), Taylor & Francis ($76.8 million) and Sage ($31.6 million). With Elsevier and Wiley making the majority of APC revenue from hybrid fees and others focusing on gold, different OA strategies could be observed between publishers.

News & Views: Publishers and Market Consolidation – Part 2 of 2 – Delta Think

Last month we examined the large degree of consolidation in journals publishing. We saw that 95% of publishers publish 10 journals or fewer, but account for barely one fifth of articles published. Meanwhile, half of total scholarly output is published by just 10 publishers, those with the largest numbers of journals.

We can further analyze the market’s consolidation by comparing annual growth rates in the numbers of publishers, journals and articles….

By looking at the trends, some clear patterns emerge.

The numbers of publishers (in blue) grew more quickly in the mid-teens than before or since. This is consistent with the S-shaped curve in the numbers of publishers we noted last month. So it seems the market showed signs of fragmentation in the mid-teens, followed by consolidation more recently.
Growth in numbers of journals (in orange) accelerated until about 2017, then started to fall off. This happened in tandem with the slowing growth in the numbers of publishers.
The rate of growth in numbers of articles (in grey) seems to run counter to the trends above. On average it was flat (at around 5%-6%) until 2018/2019, but then it accelerated. We think much this is because of the unusually high levels of submission in the wake of COVID (as we discussed in our market sizing analysis last year)….

The data also suggest that growth in publisher and journal numbers has slowed, while growth in output has accelerated. Over the last few years – irrespective of Covid effects – it seems the larger publishers are producing larger journals, and the smaller publishers smaller ones. Larger organizations may be able to produce things more efficiently than smaller ones. Meanwhile, the rise of Open Access and reduction in reliance on print works removes constraints on publication sizes….”

Keeping Publishing Infrastructure Independent – The Scholarly Kitchen

“The control of digital infrastructure has been a vital point of anxiety for academic libraries and scholarly publishers alike. Infrastructure benefits strongly from scale and requires regular reinvestment in order to remain useful and competitive. Some kinds of infrastructure can be maintained by an independent not-for-profit, as is the case with CrossRef and ORCID. Other kinds of infrastructure, such as several of the major hosting platforms, appear to benefit from the kinds of access to capital that the commercial marketplace enables. Last week’s news that a private equity firm, Thompson Street, is now the majority owner of Silverchair, provides an opportunity to reflect on some of the directions we can expect to see for publishing infrastructure….

Many in our community are deeply familiar with content platforms that are utilized by scholarly publishers to provide publishing workflows leading up to and including access to their publications. It could be that one day publishers will no longer each require its own platform as a result of syndication. For now however, only the largest of publishers maintain their own platform infrastructure, while the vast majority of publishers rely on one of a small set of third-party platform vendors. Of these, Silverchair is a leading provider, not only for journals but also for reference materials and books. It works with over 400 publishers, including not-for-profit publishers like scholarly societies and university presses, as well as commercial publishers….

The marketplace for publishing infrastructure and in particular for hosting platforms is fairly mature and has seen substantial changes in market share in recent years. Atypon was purchased by Wiley in 2016 for $120 million as part of its effort to expand its offerings to societies. PubFactory was acquired by Sheridan in 2017. HighWire, which first defined the category as a subsidiary of Stanford University, was purchased two years ago by MPS for $7.1 million, a shockingly small amount reflecting the trajectory of its market share. There are also open source alternatives, including Janeway and OJS, which are used widely including through a number of hosting services, but which do not yet seem to have substantially impacted the market share of the commercial infrastructure providers. The terms of Silverchair’s investment, including its current valuation, are not being publicly disclosed, but last week Schweitzer emphasized that it was sold for an “industry leading multiple.”  …”

The oligopoly’s shift to open access publishing: How for-profit publishers benefit from gold and hybrid article processing charges | Proceedings of the Annual Conference of CAIS / Actes du congrès annuel de l’ACSI

Abstract:  This study estimates fees paid for gold and hybrid open access articles in journals published by the oligopoly of academic publishers, which acknowledge funding from the Canadian Tri-Agency. It employs bibliometric methods using data from Web of Science, Unpaywall, open datasets of article processing charges list prices as well as historical fees retrieved via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine for journals published by Elsevier, Springer-Nature, Wiley, Sage and Taylor & Francis to estimate article processing charges for open access articles published between 2015 and 2018 that acknowledge funding from the Canadian Federal funding agencies CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC, as well as grants jointly administered by the Tri-Agency. During the four-year period analyzed, a total of 6,892 gold and 4,097 hybrid articles that acknowledge Tri-Agency funding were identified, for which the total list prices amount to $US 27.6 million.

 

Elsevier’s Acquisition of Interfolio: Risks and Responses – SPARC: Community Owned Infrastructure | report JUN 29, 2022

“This analysis details the potential risks posed by Elsevier’s acquisition of Interfolio, what institutions should watch for, and proactive steps institutions can take to reduce the negative impacts of consolidation….”

It is not transformation if nothing changes – Science & research news | Frontiers

“The substantial benefits of open access (OA) publishing are within our reach, but legacy publishers are employing commercial tactics to delay the necessary transition.

This paper exposes several of the negative, often unintended, consequences of “transformative agreements” (TAs).  It argues that these agreements, sold as a pathway to open science, in fact reinforce the status quo.  TAs maintain paywalled access as the standard financial model in publishing.  They are negotiated in the absence of basic competition and procurement rules.  And by concentrating resources into silos for a few incumbents only, they pose a threat to the diversity of the publishing ecosystem, locking out innovators, including the very players who demonstrate the benefits of OA publishing.  Deployed as a commercial tactic, these agreements will stall the establishment of a transparent and competitive marketplace for professional editorial services….:”

The Closed-Loop Academic Publication Data Conundrum

“For this presentation we are looking at some of the potential implications of the increasingly closed-loop model of academic publication, student learning platforms, personnel management, and other elements of quantification being developed and sold by an increasingly small number of academic solutions companies. While there are a number of interpretations of these mergers, acquisitions, and ventures, from our perspectives as librarians from two ends of the research apparatus, we see many problems stemming from the increasingly tight connections between the scholarship that is produced, the perceived value of these publications in the market, and impacts on future research funding, student development, faculty positions, and more. We are uneasy, as we will discuss, by the ways in which this constricting pipeline may endanger our shared values in libraries and in higher education more broadly….”