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….”

Revisiting: When is a Publisher not a Publisher? Cobbling Together the Pieces to Build a Workflow Business – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Ultimately, Elsevier’s user acquisition and monetization strategy here is as sophisticated as anything we have seen in scholarly publishing to date. Open access advocates might be concerned about some of these directions, but my sense is that many of these scientists and librarians remain largely focused on trying to compete with, or at least influence, scientific publishing. Building businesses that support, and potentially monetize, researcher workflow is a very different animal. While the Center for Open Science and the SHARE initiative are trying to offer up counterweights, there is little evidence that the open access community as a whole is engaged with Elsevier’s transformation. Springer Nature’s sibling Digital Science is probably Elsevier’s foremost competitor in this space, albeit with a different investment and integration model….”

RELX’s Acquisition of BehavioSec | Global Legal Chronicle

LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers, announced the acquisition of BehavioSec®, an advanced behavioral biometrics technology provider. Solutions from BehavioSec will become a part of the Business Services group within LexisNexis® Risk Solutions.

During the Covid pandemic, some publishers didn’t just fail libraries, they exploited them – Walled Culture

“The IFLA report goes on to detail the ways in which some publishers were unhelpful or placed the sanctity of copyright above the pressing need to help millions of students struggling to access textbooks and other study materials. The whole sorry saga is further evidence that far from promoting access to knowledge, copyright is often an obstacle to it. Moreover, the publishers’ behaviour indicates that even during a global crisis like a pandemic, for many their chief concern was bolstering profits and preserving copyright’s intellectual monopoly, rather than aiding people in dire need.”

Inequities of Article Processing Charges: How the Oligopoly of Academic Publishers Profits from Open Access | Zenodo

“Since the early 2010s, more than half of peer-reviewed journal articles have been published by the so-called oligopoly of academic publishers: Elsevier, SAGE, Springer-Nature, Taylor & Francis and Wiley. These companies make immense profits from publishing scholarly journals, traditionally through subscriptions from academic libraries, the reader pays model. With more and more libraries cancelling so-called ‘Big Deals’, these publishers have expanded their revenues by making authors pay article processing charges (APCs) for open access (OA) publishing. The author-pays model creates inequities and barriers that exclude many from publishing, such as underrepresented groups or researchers from less-resourced countries. This presentation demonstrates the growth of gold and hybrid OA articles published in oligopoly journals indexed in the Web of Science and provides evidence of the amount of APCs paid in Canada and globally. It highlights the inequities of the author-pays model and discusses alternative routes to OA.”

Inequities of Article Processing Charges: How the Oligopoly of Academic Publishers Profits from Open Access – SPARC

“Since the early 2010s, more than half of peer-reviewed journal articles have been published by the so-called oligopoly of academic publishers: Elsevier, SAGE, Springer-Nature, Taylor & Francis and Wiley. These companies make immense profits from publishing scholarly journals, traditionally through subscriptions from academic libraries, the reader pays model. With more and more libraries cancelling so-called ‘Big Deals’, these publishers have expanded their revenues by making authors pay article processing charges (APCs) for open access (OA) publishing. The author-pays model creates inequities and barriers that exclude many from publishing, such as underrepresented groups or researchers from less-resourced countries. This presentation demonstrates the growth of gold and hybrid OA articles published in oligopoly journals indexed in the Web of Science and provides evidence of the amount of APCs paid in Canada and globally. It highlights the inequities of the author-pays model and discusses alternative routes to OA.”

Is Infrastructure Consolidation the Next Step? CCC Acquires Ringgold – The Scholarly Kitchen

“It seems that barely a month goes by these days without another acquisition in the scholarly communications and publishing space. Most of the attention has focused on major acquisitions by Elsevier and Clarivate, particularly Elsevier’s recent acquisition of interfolio, the company behind the reporting tool researchFish, and Clarivate’s purchase of ProQuest at the end of last year. And to be sure, their movement towards scholarly workflow tools and platforms is an extremely important development. The recent news that the Copyright Clearance Center will acquire Ringgold is an important reminder that many other firms, including not-for-profits, are actively pursuing growth strategies that contain elements other than organic growth. It is also another confirmation of the extreme strategic value of infrastructure, including in particular the persistent identifiers, lovingly known as PIDs, that is needed to advance scholarly communication in an increasingly open access environment. And it raises the question of whether infrastructure will be managed openly through community governed organizations or the extent to which the sector can live with its privatization….”

Boycott heralds Chinese publishing shake-up | May 3, 2022 | Times Higher Education (THE)

“China’s top research organisation has suspended its use of the country’s largest academic database, causing some scholars to question whether its stranglehold on the sector might be loosened. Several research institutes under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have pulled out of its subscription to the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) due to mounting subscription fees, local news outlet Caixin reported. According to reports, CAS made the decision over mounting costs. In 2021, CAS paid ¥10 million (£1.2 million) to access the database, with a similar amount expected for 2022. Academics said the reasoning behind the move – long-simmering frustrations over fees – was understandable enough. But they wondered what its knock-on effects could be in a market largely controlled by a single, powerful player. Roughly 90 per cent of China’s journal articles are listed on CNKI, according to estimates.  Futao Huang, a professor at the Research Institute for Higher Education at Hiroshima University, suggested that CNKI’s monopoly was under threat. While he said it was “extremely difficult” to predict what could happen, a reduced role for CNKI “might open up the market to new players”, including open access platforms, which allow readers to access papers for free….

Fei Shu, a senior researcher in the Chinese Academy of Science and Education Evaluation at Hangzhou Dianzi University, argued that “oligopoly” was a more fitting term for the country’s research database market, but he was also sceptical that a move away from its biggest player would result in a proliferation of openly accessible journal articles. “In my perspective, some other research institutions will follow the CAS and stop [their] subscription if they cannot get a deal with CNKI,” similar to when Western sectors boycotted Elsevier in the past, he said. “However, it has little to do with open access. In China, due to [its] censorship, OA is not favoured and promoted by the government. I don’t believe that this situation will change in a short term.””

https://web.archive.org/web/20220504111208/https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/academys-database-boycott-may-herald-chinese-publishing-shake

Elsevier to Acquire Interfolio – The Scholarly Kitchen

“On Thursday, Elsevier announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Interfolio. Interfolio has a series of products that fall into two related categories, one of which I call researcher career management and the other of which is the more familiar, impact assessment. While the price being paid was not revealed, Interfolio was acquired by a private equity firm in 2018 for a reported investment of $110 million (prior to adding several additional services into the Interfolio portfolio). Elsevier’s acquisition, if it succeeds, will further strengthen it as a provider of platforms and services to the university provost’s office and office of research, as well as research funders, an important consideration as it seeks to diversify its academic segment revenue basis beyond libraries. Ultimately, this acquisition would further increase the disparity in services in the increasingly direct competition between Elsevier and the new Clarivate, particularly if Elsevier can integrate it effectively. …

 So, for Elsevier, Interfolio’s faculty activity reporting, tenure and promotion, faculty search, and dossier management services should integrate very well with its already strong PURE platform. …

Interfolio’s products and services contain substantial data that already contribute to assessment and impact analysis. These are held in the aforementioned faculty career management services, on a proprietary basis for individual and institutional customers, in ways that could intriguingly be integrated into various analytical tools and services. And, at least in the UK, the oddly-named ResearchFish, acquired several years ago by Interfolio, is used by funding agencies to track the work of their funded researchers (attracting a bit of controversy lately for its unexpected approach to social media). Notwithstanding data protections in place, there could easily emerge additional opt-in opportunities for data from Interfolio services to populate other Elsevier platforms and analytics over the course of time. …

One thing is for sure — Elsevier is bringing together a premier researcher career management offering with its highly competitive research information management system — and that can make a compelling combination. Clarivate has an even higher mountain to climb now as it works to create a competitive research information management offering, working to combine Converis, which has not captured meaningful market share since Clarivate acquired it, and the more nascent Esploro, a category-bending service which it gained through the ProQuest acquisition. …

The most disappointing part of this reaction is the surprise that many librarians and other community advocates express about an acquisition of one company by another company. This should not be a surprise, as I wrote years ago when Elsevier bought bepress. Universities for whom this is a substantial concern should not outsource strategically sensitive services to commercial firms, or alternatively should ensure their contracts are structured to protect their interests in the face of the most outrageous acquisition they can imagine. …”

Elsevier announces its intention to acquire Interfolio

“Elsevier, a global leader in research publishing and information analytics, and part of RELX, announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Interfolio, a provider of advanced faculty information solutions for higher education, headquartered in Washington DC, US.

Founded in 1999, Interfolio supports over 400 higher education institutions, research funders and academic organizations in 25 countries, and over 1.7 million academic professionals and scholars….”

bjoern.brembs.blog » EU: academic publishers are monopolists

“The market power of academic publishers has been a concern for all those academic fields where publication in scholarly journals is the norm. For most non-economist researchers, the anti-trust aspects of academic publishing are likely confusing and opaque.

For instance, libraries and consortia are exempted from organizing tenders for their publication needs as each article exists only in one journal with one publisher. This is called the single or sole source exemption from procurement law and essentially means that academic publishers have monopolies on each of their articles and hence each of their journals.

At the same time, this conglomerate of monopolies is often referred to as the “publishing market“, where there is market consolidation or concentration, leading up to an “oligopoly“.

So which is it now, a market with competing providers or a conglomerate of monopolists?…”