“Open access (OA) is in the process of transforming STEM publishing, even if today the progress towards open access is unevenly distributed by geography. STEM publishing is shifting rapidly beyond a content licensing business. Beyond the Gold OA businesses that many are developing, several major publishers are seeing the opportunity to develop a services business of one sort or another.
A number of major firms, not all of them primary publishers, are working to develop user workflow and research management and analytics services. These categories of platform services are far simpler to offer in an open environment than was previously the case. Some such services are offered to individual scholars, labs, or departments. Others are provided through the library, the university research office, or the information division. These university-wide channels suggest the opportunity for enterprise sales. …
On its own, Clarivate’s Science business has had an extraordinarily strong brand with Journal Impact Factor and Web of Science, but it has not had enterprise level reach within most universities, not least because of its comparative weakness in the humanities.
ProQuest brings two major businesses, one that provides enterprise software principally, but not exclusively, to academic libraries, which operates under the Ex Libris brand, and one that provides principally humanities and social sciences (HSS) and primary source content to academic libraries, operating as ProQuest. It also has a set of businesses focused on public and K12 libraries, which are less relevant to the acquisition. ProQuest faces stronger competition in the academic content business (especially through EBSCO) than in the enterprise software business, where it has established an extremely robust foundation through its Alma library systems platform, overseen by a best in class technology product organization….
Observers have noted that, post-acquisition, Clarivate still does not have a primary publishing business, nor does it directly provide STEM content. But in an environment increasingly characterized by open access and syndication, especially for STEM, this will matter far less. Indeed, it might even come to be a financial benefit not to be saddled with a STEM publishing division….
For the past decade, Elsevier has been amassing a tools and analytics business that competes directly with major elements of Clarivate’s portfolio, building Scopus and associated impact metrics, acquiring and developing Pure and Mendeley, and more recently acquiring Aries, to take a few key examples. With its enlarged portfolio, Clarivate is positioned to compete effectively with Elsevier — minus the STEM primary publishing….”