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.”  …”

GetFTR | Silverchair partners American Medical Association and Rockefeller University Press join GetFTR – GetFTR

“The American Medical Association and Rockefeller University Press have today announced their partnership with Get Full Text Research (GetFTR), a free-to-use solution for Discovery Services, Reference Managers, and other integrators that supports researchers by streamlining how they discover and access content on and off campus. Both publishers host their journal content on the Silverchair Platform, which joined GetFTR recently….”

Staying open to open science needs | Research Information

“At Silverchair, our clients are innovators, experimenting with emerging content formats, OA models, and more, all of which rely on technology to be implemented in a way that is seamless for the end-users. This means maintaining (and scaling) technology that is flexible enough to accommodate whatever new models our publishers bring to us, whether it’s IWA Publishing with Subscribe to Open, MIT Press with Direct To Open, our society partners piloting smaller scale transformative agreements, or whatever comes next. 

Some of our publishers are aggregators or distributors for a group of societies and publishing partners. These clients are in turn serving a range of societies, from very small to larger independents. And they all have different outlooks and different needs when it comes to open access. 

Some clients have even found that different sorts of open access models are needed depending on the type of content, whether that be arts versus hard sciences, book versus journal, or experimental formats. So, it really does take a variety of models to make this work, which also means that the technical demands vary and are perhaps larger than we’d hope.

Among the most basic platform-level functionality required to support OA are:

Rich article metadata;  

Connections to upstream/downstream and secondary/tertiary publication objects; 

Compliance with FAIR [findable, accessible, interoperable, (machine) readable] principles;  

Information about the users of content; 

Improving the discovery of OA content; and  

Shoring up other revenue streams with the dwindling of subscription revenue …”

The MIT Press Journals Join MIT Press Direct on the Silverchair Platform – Silverchair

“Silverchair and the MIT Press announce the launch of 39 of the Press’s journals on the Silverchair Platform. These journals join the thousands of MIT Press eBooks on the press’s institutional content platform MIT Press Direct, which launched in 2018….”